“How was school?” is a question that dominates the initial conversation between caregivers and students nearly every day after school. However, what do you do if every day you get this response: “It was boring,” “The teacher doesn’t teach me anything,” or “I hate school; all we do is color!” Unfortunately, this is becoming more commonplace in classrooms around the country where class sizes are growing and teachers are no longer given the opportunity to teach.
Many parents begin the search for a high-quality Early Childhood program as soon as their children start to talk. Young children soak up a great deal of information from the surrounding world and it takes a highly certified educator to meet our youngest students’ needs. At 3, 4 and 5 years old, our students are learning how to complete tasks independently, socialize appropriately, interact with peers/teachers, and strengthen various motor skills. However, in order to effectively prepare our students for future schooling, Roycemore early childhood educators do not stop at this bare minimum.
Every day we work to mold and guide social, academic and motor skills in and out of our classrooms. We strive to teach our students based on a gifted model, exposing all children in Pre-Kindergarten and Junior Kindergarten to early reading, math, and writing skills. In small group activities, teachers are able to easily differentiate the activities, working to best target strengths and challenges for each student in any given group. The hands-on materials often look the same, but the process, product, or content may be very different.
In Kindergarten this philosophy is carried into the full-day curriculum. Every child meets with a guided reading and guided math group two or three times a week, where instruction is tailored to meet the needs of students. The Kindergartners move throughout the classroom to tackle various math and literacy based stations with a partner (or teammate) daily, and often the stations’ content—not materials—changes based on the needs of students. Writing is also built into our daily routine, and students are encouraged to find a comfortable spot to write in the classroom. Some children choose to sit in chairs while others curl up on the carpet or underneath tables. For many of my students, this has become a favorite part to each school day.
The early childhood classrooms at Roycemore are unique. We are not a traditional play-based program and yet our students often think they are playing all day long. We teach early academic skills in an age-appropriate manner, ensuring that children who are ready to move on receive more challenging material. We allow our children to soar and do not stop teaching them even when they are learning well above grade level. Children should not be bored or frustrated in the classroom. By exposing our students, especially our gifted students, to challenging material we help them develop a love for school and a thirst for knowledge. Instead of hearing
“I’m bored,” or “I hate school,” many of our parents are thrilled with the positive and insightful conversations they have after pick-up each day.
Early childhood teachers at Roycemore have been given a special opportunity. We have been provided with a very rare commodity these days—we are truly allowed to teach our students, and they thrive.