Last night was the Junior School Curriculum Night, an opportunity for parents to not only meet their son’s or daughter’s teachers but to learn how the Junior School educational vision is reflected in classroom programs and aligned with our plans for a new Junior School facility.
Within the framework of the BC Ministry Curriculum and learning outcomes, our vision integrates cutting-edge research on early learning and the brain, 21st Century competencies (collaboration, problem solving, creativity, digital awareness, social responsibility, sustainability, and global awareness) and inquiry/project-based learning, culminating in the best of an Reggio-inspired approach to teaching and learning.
In an Reggio-inspired classroom, children are viewed as having potential, curiosity and great interest in constructing their own learning pathways – the teacher is a nurturer and guide. Children are encouraged to explore their environment and express themselves through all of their “expressive, communicative, and cognitive languages”, whether they be words, movement, drawing, painting, building, sculpture, shadow play, collage, dramatic play, or music (to name only a few). Classrooms are organized to support a highly collaborative problem-solving approach to learning and parents are collaborative partners in their children’s learning experience.
School is a place where students are invited to grow in mind and sensibility; a place to build the values of friendship, solidarity, a respect for differences, dialogue and feelings of affection. The environment is seen as the third teacher (with parent as the first teacher and educator as the second teacher) where every space informs learning and the class design encourages communication and relationships. Teachers are understood as researchers and learners as they give careful consideration and attention to the presentation of the children’s thinking.
A highlight of the Junior School Curriculum Night was when the homeroom teachers met with parents in the classrooms and spoke about how they are applying the Junior School educational vision to their programs. Parents actually experienced the “environment as the third teacher” in the homerooms where every corner was inspiring. They heard how technology is being seamlessly integrated into children’s work, how brain research is being applied, how units of study are no longer a couple of weeks in length but stretch over longer periods of time to provide greater depth and breadth of learning for students across all the subject areas.
For one of their professional development sessions, the Junior School faculty will spend time with Paul Merrick, architect, ensuring that the Junior School educational vision aligns with the design elements of a new Junior School.
It is indeed an exciting time to be an educator and learner at the Junior School!