Why We Do Not Use Models
Children need to discover their own capabilities and talents. They need to feel powerful and capable of accomplishing anything they wish. If we use models or off-the-shelf products, children are just following the ideas of someone else. We have stolen the possibility of harnessing joy in a child’s own thoughts. Our environments and curriculum are focused on empowering the child as a capable thinker; a thinker with wonderful and bright ideas. We respect each child’s work. Everyone’s efforts are celebrated.
Why We Do Not Use Worksheets
Worksheets rarely ask a child to think creatively or to use the higher-order thinking skills of deduction, induction, analysis, and synthesis. These skills usually come from participating in more real-time activities that are hands-on in nature and actively involve the whole child in learning. We help your child practice new skills in “real life”. Numerous research studies have found that when children are actively engaged with the content, they have a much better chance of understanding and remembering what they have learned.
The teacher’s role in our classroom is to help support each child to become confident thinkers. Teachers prepare each environment daily with rich materials for a child to explore. Each item in our class is designed to help each child move to a higher level of thinking in understanding numerals, sciences, writings, social sciences, and the arts.
Diversity in Learning: A Reflection of our Daily Schedule
The teacher not only works with a large group of children, but also makes time in each day to work with each individual child. We know how special it is for a child to have someone to spend one-on-one time learning together. We strive to make each child feel special because they are. Teachers observe your child at work and at play. We seek to discover their interests and then follow the child’s lead. The teacher is ready to provide an opportunity in the curriculum for each child to explore each and every new interest. The teacher will strive to promote the child’s social and cognitive developmental needs, while ensuring the child’s well-being.
Nurturing Approach to Learning
In our daily schedule, we strive to make time to gather together as a community. As a community, each child becomes part of the group and develops a sense of belonging in our school. We truly believe that the school belongs to those who are present: the children, the teachers, and the children’s families. Children also get the opportunity to play together with other friends and make new friends. At Maranatha, we understand that part of being a well-rounded human being is having the skills to work with a diverse group of people. We are aware of the ever-changing global environment we live in. We are aware of the benefits of having the capability to work with others. Our daily school schedule gives time for children to make friends, share ideas, learn to compromise, negotiate, and experience the diversity each person can contribute. By examining multiple ideas, your child will be able to gain multiple perspectives to every situation.
Learning Takes Place
From the time your child walks into the doors of our school, your child is learning. We understand that learning for young children is constant and never-ending. Children are always asking questions and paying attention to their surroundings. Children are natural learners. They want to learn about everything around them. Our job is to provide an opportunity for your child to explore and develop their higher level thinking skills. Each teacher prepares each day to welcome your child with stimulating investigations that will help support your child’s curiosity of the world. We strive to not miss a chance to explore questions your child has about the world they live in and we help them find the solution to these questions by working alongside each child. As they grow, these questions become sophisticated and our environment will evolve as your child’s thinking level evolves. Materials will be replaced in the classroom so that the thinking tools represent the current skill level of each child. Children ultimately become self-motivated problem solvers, eager to tackle any new challenge.
Sharing Your Child’s Growth
We will follow your child’s development in our school by keeping a historical record of their work. We will use a method of recordkeeping known as “documentation.” The teacher will document your child’s growth using two methods: 1) use of individual portfolios and; 2) documentation panels placed on the classroom walls.
Documentation allows a teacher to reflect on how each child is progressing as they grow and permits teachers to take a closer look at the interest of each child. Documentation panels will be placed around the classroom at both adult eye-levels and child eye-levels. This allows both parents and children to see the current evolution of learning taking place in the classroom. Documentation is a big piece of how children are part of the learning process. We ensure that the curriculum is meeting the needs of each child’s academic growth. We understand the importance of respecting the unique development of children and build on their strengths as we get them ready for Kindergarten.