Why do so many children develop a negative attitude toward learning and the school experience? St. Christopher’s Philosophy • Our view of the child • A child centered curriculum • The role of the teacher “Children are strong, rich, and capable. All children have preparedness, potential, curiosity, and interest in constructing their learning, negotiating with everything their environment brings to them.” -Louise Boyd Cadwell Children are smarter than we give them credit for! o Young children are amazingly observant o We should never “dumb them down” and lower our expectations of their capabilities o They are naturally curious and therefore capable of controlling their own learning Two types of learning… Rote memorization Discovery and personal • Learn by hearing/drilling the understanding same information over and • Learning by doing (talking, over drawing, constructing, • i.e. letters, numbers, states painting, touching, and capitals, math formulas, experimenting) phonics • Children understand • Rote memorization helpful to concepts in their own way, at teach some types of their own pace, and within information their own developmental • Many subjects in schools ability (schemas) taught by rote memorization • Allows for deeper • Learning is static understanding and connections of bigger ideas • Representation of learning is • Learning is a result of the shown by performance experience and is dynamic Tomato Schema • The way a child understands a concept • Schemas constantly change as children learn and experience life • Children are egocentric and use their own experiences to connect ideas and concepts i.e. the concept of family • Each child understands things in his/her own time and way and in relation to his/her own life experiences Two types of questions… • Answer is either • Open ended with no right or wrong exact right answer (I • Typically used with wonder…) rote memorization • Promotes deeper information understanding of • Intimidating/boring concepts to some children • Young children respond well to this- but lose this ability during school years. Two types of activities… • Expected outcome • Creative and individual (everyone’s looks the (each one is unique) same) • No right or wrong way • A right and wrong way to do the activity to do the activity (i.e. • Allows for worksheets, matching experimentation with games) tools and materials • No personal attachment • Personal pride in the or pride in the result result Example: “March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.” date temperature weather 1 27 sunny 2 31 sunny 3 24 partly sunny 4 29 cloudy 5 31 cloudy 6 31 snowy 7 33 snowy 8 35 sunny “Teachers facilitate children’s exploration of themes, work on short-and long-term projects, and guide experiences of joint, open-ended discovery and problem solving. Teachers listen and observe children closely. Teachers ask questions; discover children’s ideas, hypothesis, and theories; and provide occasions for discovery and learning.” -Louise Boyd Cadwell Our Teachers… o Share the role of leader with the children— don’t always have to be “in total control” of every situation o Ask and encourage the children to ask questions-but do not always give answer o Use words like “I wonder” and “what do you think?” o Are excited and involved o Find “teachable moments” throughout the day Smaller Class Size • Smaller child-to-teacher ratio allows time for the children to explore their interests with small groups as well as in a whole community • Time and staff available to help support a child’s individual needs- whether it be extra help or additional challanges Learning Begins on Day One • Natural progression for our preschoolers- make a seamless transition to Kindergarten • No need to spend the first few months learning the ropes because they are already experienced with our rules, routines, and expectations • Less time spent on discipline issues • Reduced number of transitions (25-35% of an average school day is wasted with transitions!) • Less wasted time=more active learning time Child-Centered Curriculum • The focus is on the process, not the product • Through documentation (photos, children’s drawings, transcripts) the parents will feel like they are truly part of the experience and the children will feel like valuable members of our community • The children will be given the freedom to be who they are- young children! Time allowed every day for active outdoor play and meaningful indoor play • It’s not all about worksheets and spelling tests! Child Centered Curriculum cont. • The curriculum focuses on the whole child and integrates all of the subject areas • The day isn’t spent “clock watching” to ensure time for all subjects every day • The integrated curriculum would cover all of the Michigan Kindergarten Standards and Benchmarks- using real life connections rather than textbooks • www.michigan.gov/mde Child Centered Curriculum cont. The School Community • We would still go on the monthly field trips as a whole school • As the oldest children in the school, we would occasionally work with the younger children- sharing our skills and talents (reading, plays, puppet shows, art projects, etc) Instilling Confidence, Independence, and Love of Learning • Our hope is that our students go into first grade with not only all of the academic skills necessary, but also a love of learning, the ability to ask questions and think for themselves, the ability to work confidently and independently, and overall to feel like a valued member of their learning community. • You can’t get that in “the blue reading group!” Parent Involvement • Parents would be encouraged to be involved in their child’s education • Parents invited to help out, share talents and skills • Smaller class size would allow for more daily face-to- face communication with teacher • “Daily News” written and sent home as often as possible, eventually having the children participate in the process • Documentation (digital photos, dialogue, quotes, children’s art and projects) designed to represent daily learning Schedule and Tuition Costs • Kindergarten would run Monday thru Friday 8:30-12:00 (8:15 drop off) • Extended care (before and after school) available at an hourly rate • Vacations would follow the MAPS school year calendar for vacations (spring break, Christmas), but not for in- services, conference days, etc Schedule and Tuition Costs • $62.50 weekly • $250/month • Tuition will be charged monthly and due before the first week of each month • Before/After School rates will remain hourly and be billed weekly So what’s next? • We need no less than ten letters of commitment (Kindergarten eligible for 2008-2009) by May 16th with a cap of 16 total students enrolled • We plan to form an advisory board, consisting of community members, parish members, educators, and parents for governance and accountability of the programs (pre-school and Kindergarten) Additional Questions or Concerns? Thank you for coming!