Newspaper- Discover Early Years Program - Kindergarten
The American International School of Kingston, hosted a virtual open house for their Early Years Program last Wednesday, June 3rd. The webinar introduced the public to the schools teaching methods, core values, and use of technology.
Deputy Head of School, Anna Wallace, began the discussion by outlining AISK beliefs on effective teaching, creativity, critical thinking, empowerment and technology by speaking of the school’s dedication to recruiting and keeping well-trained teachers, providing a technologically forward classroom, and ensuring that children are happy.
Teaching and Learning Director, Sylvia Browne, expanded on how AISK keeps students engaged and learning. At AISK they encourage students to be aware of their thinking by having them lead the learning process. This is done with guided discussions that encourage students to question. Ms.Edwards, one of our early childhood teachers at AISK, followed this with an example - her students create the rules for her classroom after having numerous conversations on why rules exist and why they are important.
AISK uses the High Scope curriculum which encourages students to plan, do and review. While students direct their learning process, teachers are constantly evaluating the children's level of communication and their ability to think critically, so that they can adjust and find the best method to influence growth in those areas.
Aside from the school’s pedagogy, parents were able to hear about its use of technology. AISK is a one to one school, which means that each student has their own device - in the case of the Early Years Program each child has an iPad. The teachers make use of the iPads by using varied software programs to teach different concepts, and they create opportunities for the students to incorporate technology into their learning projects.
Along with this AISK focuses on differentiated learning and the importance of reading comprehension. When it comes to differentiated learning, their teachers make sure that they know the individual level of each student. This helps them to challenge a strong reader with more difficult work or to slow things down for a student who needs a little more time, and of course, this is assisted by the software available to the educators.
And when it comes to learning how to read, the school not only teaches students how to decode but also how to understand what the words mean and what the message is. The Early childhood program is the foundation for learning how to read in kindergarten, so it’s so important that this foundation is set correctly, so AISK ensures that happens through early exposure.
By the end of the webinar, parents got to hear about AISK’s use of technology, their teaching beliefs, how they implement our teaching methods and how they continue to stretch themselves through constant training.
On November 5, AISK held its first parent book club meeting of the 2019-2020 school year. AISK high school counselor, Chalanie Stiebel, and I, elementary and middle school counselor, Lisa Harvey, hosted a discussion on the book Best Friends, Worst Enemies: Understanding the Social Lives of Children by Michael Thompson. Read on to hear about our key takeaways, namely that parents need to relax and keep their kids’ friendship dilemmas in perspective!
In his book, Thompson offers sketches of what friendship looks like at each developmental stage, from infancy through college, and talks about the problems that are typical of each stage. Best Friends, Worst Enemies has many practical tips for how parents can help their children make and keep friends, but surprisingly, the underlying message is that parents need to relax. Thompson states that:
the average childhood friendship lasts just one year
the average number of friends a child has is just five
Thompson recommends that parents support their child’s friendships by making friends feel welcome in their home and creating a wide range of friendship opportunities for their child. He encourages parents to be good friendship role models by prioritizing good, healthy friendships in their own lives.
One crucial bit of advice is to empathize with your child’s pain, but keep it in perspective. Although it’s highly distressing to see your child in pain, the vast majority of these problems resolve themselves faster than you could ever dream up a solution on your own. My advice is much like Thompson’s: offer your child a soft place to fall at the end of a hard day and continue building resilience in your children by not solving their problems for them but rather by expressing your faith in their ability to be okay even when the situations around them are not okay.
I highly recommend this book to all parents, and even more, I highly recommend coming to a book club meeting. Parenting can be a struggle, and having a supportive community can go a long way. It was lovely to see some new faces along with our returning book club attendees this month, and we hope to see even more people come out for our next book club meeting. We will be meeting on January 16, at 7:45 am, to discuss the book The 5 Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell. Our third and fourth quarter book selections are Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions into Adulthood by Lisa Damour and Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys by Michael Thompson. Order your books now, and happy reading!
I can imagine, when there is a lack of patience in the house it just leads to more tension and more stress than is necessary” stated Lisa Harvey, the middle and elementary school counsellor at AISK. As she mouthed these words, it seemed to be the crux of the matter. The matter being that impatience only worsens situations.
As I mulled over this, I realized that impatience doesn’t only affect the perpetrator. It also affects the one receiving the action. So, I couldn’t help but think about the impact of impatient parents on their children.
Parents have a right to feel overwhelmed. COVID-19 has people hyper-aware of possible layoffs and there is a constant concern about the health and well-being of loved ones. Add distance learning to the mix and it feels unbearable.
Yet parents must set aside time for their children. Who are also learning to adapt to this new home school routine. So, I asked Lisa, “Does this tension and stress lead to a lack of communication that affects the relationship between the parent and child ?”. She replied “Yeah, sure. When kids don’t feel supported by their parents or caregivers, they might internalize it or act out more. And this can look like resistance to schoolwork or disobeying rules they had previously followed.”.So impatience does, in fact, have a negative effect on relationship - the most important familial building block during a quarantine period. So, how do we protect our relationships? How do we manage impatience and instead train ourselves in patience?
The experts have varying solutions. However, they all agree that parents have to carve out time for themselves and protect their relationship with their child. Parents need alone time to reflect on two things: 1. Their own daily stressors and 2. Their frustrations with distance learning. Once parents do this, they can process what they're going through and adjust by coming up with solutions.
But what are some of the problems associated with distance learning? AISK Mother and CEO of AIM Educational Services, Nicole McLaren Campbell, says one issue is the sheer feeling of overwhelm, overwhelming to the point of not being able to see or take advantage of the resources one has available. Another is being unaccustomed to the increased level of involvement in your child’s learning. And yet another is the inability to accept some of the limitations your child might have. Kimberly Edwards, an elementary school teacher at AISK, also brings two more concerns to the forefront. The difficulty parents have balancing their work and distance learning, and their frustration with technology. And to add to these, parents are also tired, uncertain of whether distance learning is working at all, and stretched beyond the period of time they expected to do this.
"However, parents will have different challenges with distance learning based on their child’s gender, temperament, and age", states Chalanie Stiebel, AISK’s high school counsellor. And it's the parents of younger students at the elementary level that face the most difficulty. With this in mind, Kimberly Edwards gives parents the following advice. Parents need to reach out to teachers. Teachers understand that the entire world is in crisis, and they want to help in whatever way they can. Parents should create a routine that works for their family. And this may mean that school has to happen after work at 6:00 pm. Edwards also encourages parents to create reward systems and buddy groups for their children, so that they can continue to include play in learning. And most importantly parents have to use parental discernment to identify what activities and work have to be completed. They don’t have to have their children finish all distance learning assignments. When children return to school teachers will account for the gap in time the pandemic has caused.
Though Edwards has provided implementable methods to ease the burden that leads to frustration and hence impatience, counsellors Harvey and Stiebel stress that no one is failing in COVID-19 distance learning. Distance learning will look different for different families, and some classwork and homework won’t be completed and that is okay. Instead, parents should take it day by day, and when they feel that frustration and impatience coming on, they should stop - take a walk, watch a movie, cuddle with their children, and deemphasize the academics. Mothers and Fathers should take the focus off their child’s accumulation of content, and instead choose to protect the child's love of learning and their relationship with them - those will always be more important than keeping them "on track."
5 Ways to Engage Students in Our Digital World
In today’s digital world, children begin playing games on mobile devices at an early age. As they grow older, they often spend hours a day texting, interacting with friends on social media apps,
and watching music videos online. Is all this technology a distraction from school?In many ways, yes. However, when schools and teachers learn to utilize technology in a way that engages students in the learning process, it can be a win for both families and schools. Here are five meaningful ways student learning can incorporate digital devices and programs.
1. Help Students Develop a Deeper Grasp of a Concept
Videos, slide presentations, and online interactive maps are just a few of the ways teachers may enhance lessons and material to help students develop a more in-depth view of a topic or concept. These digital resources can be used in the classroom or posted to a class website for students to work with outside of class.
2. Teach Children to Collaborate
Shared documents, presentation applications, and other programs let students collaborate, either working together in person or collaborating virtually from home. Digital group projects have the potential to let more reserved students make equal contributions. They also make it easier for students with different schedules to collaborate.
3. Put Education at their Fingertips
Digital learning resources and assignments help students learn at any time and from any location. In addition to supplemental online materials and assignments, some schools have embraced digital textbooks across the board and provided every child with a tablet or laptop to ensure they can access materials both in and out of school.
4. Encourage Creativity
Online learning allows teachers and students to be more creative. Teachers are able to use social apps in innovative ways, such as setting up a private Facebook page for the class to discuss an assignment. Some teachers have used the concept of a webquest, asking students to find specific information online in order to learn more about a topic. Having students summarize what they have learned in an online presentation allows them to get very creative, pulling together images, music, charts, and more to show how they have mastered a new concept.
5. Teach Students to Navigate and Analyze Information
Many schools today not only incorporate technology into the curriculum, but also teach students smart rules of the online world, such as:
How to stay safe online, including privacy settings, apps and websites to avoid, and the importance of reporting concerning issues to a trusted adult
How to find reputable websites for research and information
How to analyze and check information that appears online to determine if it is true and provided by a reliable source
Technology at AISK
Students from kindergarten to grade 12 at the American International School of Kingston are benefitting from a culture that fully integrates technology into the learning experience in order to enhance engagement, creativity, communication, and collaboration. This rich technological environment taps into the digital immersion of today’s student to enable them to learn any time, anywhere.
1:1 devices starting in first grade. Students in first through fourth grade use Apple iPads while students in grades 5 through 12 use Apple MacBook laptops. Preschool and Kindergarten classrooms are all fitted with touch-sensitive interactive boards and accessories.
Every classroom is digitally connected.
Students use Schoology, a learning management system that includes personalized homepages with courses, homework, calendars, grades, email, classroom blogs, etc.
Digital textbooks and course materials.
AISK teaches the skills required to successfully navigate the information highway, including determining what is a good information source, how to use a research engine or database, and using information that is pertinent to the hypothesis of the project. These skills are required at the university level and in the future work life of the student.
An IT Help Desk offers hands-on technical support to our students and staff.
Want to Learn More About AISK?
To learn more about the American International School of Kingston, download our School Profile today. You’ll discover information about test scores and accreditation, a profile of the student body, faculty credentials, and more.
Meet AISK School Head: Susan Canobie
Making the world a better place has always been a goal for Susan Canobie, the new Head of School at the American International School of Kingston (AISK). However, Canobie didn’t always intend to become an educator.
A Scientist Drawn to Education
Canobie initially had dreams of impacting the world through work as a research scientist, perhaps finding new cures for diseases. Her first job of producing flu vaccines inside a lab didn’t feel particularly meaningful, and she realized how isolated she was from people. She had also been offered a scholarship to complete a graduate program in education and decided to pursue that path. She began the program and discovered she loved teaching children.
“As soon as I got in the classroom, I realized how powerful it was to watch students learn and the impact I could have making the world a better place through a career in education,” says Canobie.
Her career has included serving as a chemistry teacher, International Baccalaureate (IB) coordinator, and administrator in six different international schools scattered across the globe. She served as the Middle and High School Principal at AISK for three years, and recently returned to the school after serving as Dean of Academics at a large school in Bangkok.
We recently sat down with Canobie to learn more about her goals for AISK and her thoughts on education today.
Q: What are the unique challenges students, parents, and educators face today?
A: How do we prepare children for the future when we don’t know what that future will look like? How do we build important skills they will need 20 years from now, such as adaptability, emotional intelligence, and risk-taking? On the one hand, we need to find new ways to prepare students for this future, and on the other hand, we have to help them meet the conservative entrance requirements that most universities still adhere to in admissions. Traditional tests like the SAT don’t measure those future-ready skills, so we need to equip students for both the traditional standards and the 21st-century skills employers require.
Q. What makes AISK unique?
A: The diverse makeup of our school community, including both international and Jamaican students, creates a unique culture that we can celebrate. AISK is also small enough to feel like a family — it’s one of the reasons I wanted to return. We’re able to know children and their families and teach the whole child, including their interests, passions, hopes, and dreams.
Q. What are some of your goals in your first year or two as head of school?
A: I want to ensure that students are engaged, and at the end of the day, they’re looking forward to coming back the next day.
Q. What do you want parents to know?
A: We want to set an expectation that students will achieve their full potential and dedicate themselves to working hard to make a difference in the world. Our job as parents and educators is to listen to our students’ passion and voice and to recognize that care for the whole child and learning go hand in hand.
One essential element of a learning-focused community is developing a culture of reading. If you read consistently and it becomes a habit, you can learn anything. Parents need to model reading for students. One way to help build that culture is for both parents and students to be involved in reading clubs.
Q. What are some of your closely held beliefs about educating children?
A: I believe that healthy relationships with students are the cornerstone of providing the emotional support and structure needed to put them in a safe place for learning. Schools expect students to take risks and this is best achieved when students have a feeling of trust and wellbeing. Students rely on ‘social cues’ from adults to maneuver their path to adulthood and mature academic conversations and thinking. As they do this through conversations and modeling from the adults in their lives, ethics are developed. A healthy relationship with teachers, administrators, parents, and coaches is central to nurturing healthy growth and development.
In addition to nurture there is a need for rules and structure. Without such conditions; young minds can easily go down a ‘slippery slope’ of complacency through lack of guidance and adherence. Students, in their elementary through high school years are at a stage of their development where they do not have the choice to underachieve. Learners must be shown by adults that they can go beyond what they think they are capable of. It is the task of the adults in their lives to model, push and believe so that the students can also.
I value student “voice and choice”, and putting the best teachers that we can in front of students where educators use that brain research to improve teaching and learning using mindful pedagogical practices to cause learning to take place and have impact. Development of a ‘growth mindset’ is a continual message that students need to hear, so they can always get ‘just a little better’. Couple that with intentionally thinking about creative learning spaces that help students develop and you have the complexity of what is school.
Society and schools are facing challenges with adolescent wellness as health, exercise, sleep and the use of technology issues in our students’ daily lives. It is the responsibility of the school to help educate school communities on the impact such issues have on learning and to be proactive in their response.
I believe that the care and learning go hand in hand.
I believe that schooling is complex as we attend to the academic and personal needs of learners.I believe that it is my responsibility to create the best learning conditions for students and staff and I will work tirelessly to make that happen.
Q. Tell us about your education and certifications.
A. I received a bachelor of applied science at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia, and a graduate diploma in education in Melbourne. I hold a Masters in Education and Leadership from The College of New Jersey. I also earned a certificate in International School Leadership from the Principal’s Training Center and serve on a team that helps evaluate IB programs in other schools who are undergoing accreditation.
Q. What are some of your interests outside of school?
A. I like to cook — part of it is the chemist in me experimenting with something new and perfecting it. My favorites are Turkish and Thai cuisine. I’m a runner and completed a half marathon for the first time last year in Cambodia. I also have collected art and different carpets from around the world.
Want to See the AISK Community?
See how AISK can help your child live up to their potential. We serve students from age 3 through high school. Schedule a tour or arrange a shadow day for your student with our online form.
Our recent AISK Graduate Danzel Knight has fused his passion for Clay Shooting with his passion for philanthropy and for two years Danzel has organized the Jamaica Clay Tournament for Charity. After observing the loving and kind way in which his cousin was treated by the staff of the Jamaica Society for the Blind after suddenly losing his sight, Danzel sprang into action and has inspired the Jamaican clay sporting community to be a part of this initiative.
The words of the RX2 commentator summarized the feelings of everyone who witnessed the Final at the 2019 RX2 International Series in Barcelona, Spain on April 28th.
"McConnell can hold onto this it’s a legendary move! Oh, he’s on the inside! Brilliant! Unbelievable car control! Fantastic!
That’s a stunning piece of car control from McConnell coming around the outside of Kallio to somehow hold onto second…”
Fraser McConnell continues to make our AISK Family bust with pride as he continues to make waves on the Rally scene across the globe. Hear his opinion of his most recent experience here.
CIRCUIT-RACING season begins on Easter Monday with Carnival of Speed scheduled for Dover Raceway in St Ann.
William Myers and Fraser McConnell, last year's champion driver, demonstrated that they will be forces to reckon with. Myers dominated the Modified Production 2 Class with his Honda Civic, while McConnell was on top in the Bracket 29 Class.
Read more about RACE DAY here.
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