Building a Firm Foundation

I’d like to take a quick moment to brag a bit about our school and our children. It has been a very quick and busy few weeks here on campus. However, I am so proud of all of our students. As Spring picks up we move into many, many activities this has the potential to seem overwhelming yet all I have seen is hard work and laughter. The Pre-K is getting ready for their annual talent show and Kindergarten is working on their graduation. Even the older kids are bustling with activity from the Science Olympiad to the Spring Musical. This joy and energy is one of the best things about our School because it is shared through all the grades including my little ones. Our older children recently put on a Science & Engineering Festival and even our younger children were included. The children were able to have a wonderful hands on experience with science while observing our older children successfully create these exhibits.

        Now here’s my soap box for a minute, High School dropout rates have been studied extensively across the country and this is clearly a multifaceted problem. However, it has been demonstrated time and again that Early Childhood and Elementary Education have a major impact on the outcome of a Highschool graduate. Campuses that have an engaging interactive supporting Elementary with access to older successful students have higher student success rates. I believe that is one of the blessings here at St. James. No matter how long you are here you get the opportunity to see older students persevere through many different subjects. This past week my class learned more than just science from these older students they learned kindness, wisdom, joy of learning, leadership, teamwork, and perseverance. It just warms my heart to see all the wonderful learning that takes place on our campus and before I move on I invite you to check out the statistics of our students who leave our program. We have high standards and high success rates because we make large investments in our students lives no matter what age they are.

          The Science & Engineering Festival was also a great support of our Building study. The students had a blast discussing their ideas about what they had seen and experienced. Building on this joy I set up several invitation areas for them to work on creating their own buildings. My wonderfully smart engineers went right to work using toothpicks, marshmallows, jelly beans, gum drops, cups, and blocks to build wonderful creations. It was truly exciting to see the thought processes that the children went through to figure out how to make their buildings stand up. We also learned about emotional control as we had to deal with the failure of not always being able to make what we wanted to successfully. As they say though there is a rainbow after every storm and the joy that shows on a child’s face once they accomplish their task is amazing.

In order to have a good foundation you need to focus on more than one area of study. I’ve mentioned our handwriting curriculum before but we also branch out in other ways. For example we are now raising caterpillars as a science study about the life cycle of butterflies. We use technology to show the children some wonderful videos about the life cycle and then they were able to actually observe many of the traits in real life using our caterpillars. Our caterpillars are now in their Chrysalis stage of life and I am so excited to say that our children understand and can use this term at 3 & 4 yrs of age. Nothing can really replace hands on learning. Stay tuned to see the results from our caterpillar study. See you next time!

Sarah White