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.
Pearls of Wisdom Conversations
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!
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