Buckets Full of Kindness

September 2014, Written by Geula Zamist

Back To School

            Each year the ads on TV and displays in the stores announcing the “back to school” season seem to get earlier and earlier.  We start to see orange and yellow leaves in the store windows, and sales on notebooks by the end of June.  Before we open the first bottle of sunscreen, the plans for September are under way.

            For parents, planning for September means new backpacks and clean sneakers. In school, planning for September means updating our classrooms with new materials, creating a professional development program for our teachers, and formulating the best possible class lists.  The process of creating the class lists begins long before STAPLES puts out their first Back To School flier.

            With our goal in mind, we begin the process.  Our goal is always to create an optimal community of learners and to set each child up for success.  Children come to school to expand their horizons, to reach beyond their usual comfort level and to explore new possibilities.  In the early childhood years, that includes acquiring and using more language, practicing more self-regulation, and growing strong pro-social skills.

 Young children learn from their environment so the group of children they are with contributes much to their skill development.  We have found that heterogeneous class groupings are more likely than are homogenous ones to encourage necessary growth among children.  Therefore, being with new and different children each year is to be valued rather than being viewed as a barrier to success When we change up the peer groupings and mix the different ages in the class, we are purposefully encouraging cooperative learning and affording new ways to help each of our students value the gifts and talents of all children.

Going to kindergarten is a big step for all children.  Walking outside on the playground the first day and not knowing anyone or having a best friend to play with can present challenges.  If we give children the opportunity to practice that skill in a safe, supportive setting throughout their early childhood years, we are confident that we will ease the transition and make those experiences easier to manage.

As students get older, administrators put a lot of emphasis in choosing the right text books and the right materials and curriculum.  In early childhood we put that emphasis on creating groups of children that will encourage learning.  Our teachers are prepared to help their students learn to negotiate their new setting and new peer group each year.  In doing so, they are giving them a gift of developing resilience, confidence and flexibility that will stay with them a life time.

Sun, November 19 2017 1 Kislev 5778