Who remembers their Kindergarten experience? My time in kindergarten was over 50 years ago at Byron Southwood. I don’t recall much, although I can still picture the back entrance way, the spacious coat room and I have a vague recollection of the layout of the actual classroom. I do however, vividly recall being selected as Mary, when our class enacted the birth of Baby Jesus for a Christmas celebration.
When my own children were young, I was fortunate enough to be able to work part time which allowed me the availability to visit their classes on special days and help out with whatever their classroom teachers required. I loved waiting for them at the end of the day (they attended in the afternoon as it was pre-Full Day Kindergarten) and then hearing all about their experiences as we walked home.
For most events in our lives, its our first exposure which sets the stage. In knowing that, as a school team we work hard to ensure that our families first exposure to Kindergarten at Sir Arthur Currie is a positive one.
Last night we held our Open House. It’s a time for families to come to the school, visit classrooms, check out the amazing Library Learning Commons, capture a Future Coyote picture, explore the outdoor Forest of Learning and come together as the future graduating class of 2033 as they listen to an important Read Aloud.
We had our community partners from our Family Center, our Childcare Center, SWIS, and our Speech and Language Pathologist join us.
The team’s intentionality in each activity demonstrates their commitment to ensuring that families understand and appreciate the power of the kindergarten program from the outset. As children entered the front foyer with families, they were encouraged to identify their name from the pile of name tags and then independently place their raffle ticket in a basket.
In the Library Learning Commons, families were treated a variety of games/BeeBots, books, Lego, Marble Runs etc. as children and adults alike took in this amazing environment.
In each classroom, educators where intentional in the provocations that were set out at each table. The activities in each room coincided with the Four Frames embedded in the Communication of Learning and were labeled accordingly.
The Forest of Learning was set up so that families could explore the trails, build a bubble wand with their child, play with the naturalized materials, make a mud pie, or look for snails, bugs and spiders.
The final event of the evening was a Read Aloud in the gym. Again, as a team we were curious as to which students could engage in the text, which ones were a bit reluctant to leave their parents’ side and which ones were demonstrating a great deal of stamina and concentration.
We selected to share the text, All are Welcome, as the message is meaningful, very timely and the core of everything that we do at Sir Arthur Currie. We wanted both our newest students and our families to know that we truly embody the message that everyone, regardless of colour, creed, culture etc. are welcome at our school.
The beauty of a read aloud, is that you can improvise and strengthen the text as need. So, at the end of each sentence, we added our own, “All are welcome…. at Sir Arthur Currie”. It didn’t long for our newest Coyotes to realize that this was an interactive read aloud and they joined in.
I often wonder what education will look like for future generations. Regardless of the trajectory of this first exposure to school, I can’t help but wonder if Robert Fulghum’s poem will continue to ring true for future generations.
All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten
by Robert Fulghum
Most of what I really need
To know about how to live
And what to do and how to be
I learned in kindergarten.
Wisdom was not at the top
Of the graduate school mountain,
But there in the sandpile at Sunday school.
These are the things I learned:
Don’t hit people.
Put things back where you found them.
Clean up your own mess.
Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.
Wash your hands before you eat.
Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
Live a balanced life –
Learn some and think some
And draw and paint and sing and dance
And play and work everyday some.
Take a nap every afternoon.
When you go out into the world,
Watch out for traffic,
Hold hands and stick together.
Be aware of wonder.