Through play children make discoveries, experience joy, and exert independence. At Paddington, we are committed to continue this work.
Admissions tours have started for the 2020-2021 school year. Eager parents and grandparents are joining us on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings for about an hour. The tour starts with a Parent Ambassador who kicks off the meeting and shares the current parent perspective of Paddington. Gracious and talented Therese Aleinikoff our Admissions Coordinator, then guides prospective families through the halls, classrooms and outdoor spaces. Lastly, I join the group in the foyer to answer lingering questions.
I love admissions tours. I love the connections made during the tours and opportunity for prospective families to see our talented teachers at work and watch children joyfully exploring the wonders of the world. The question and answer time allow me the chance to reflect on why I do what I do.
Questions from prospective parents can be challenging and insightful, “Why do your teachers stay at Paddington?” “What’s the favorite part of your job?” “Why do you stay at Paddington?” “How can children learn through play? Don’t you need to teach math and literacy?” “Do you do anything besides play?”
The questions remind me of the power of community and the power of play. Paddington is a caring and warm community that is committed to creating and sustaining a playful environment. The work is evolving, creative and worth it---for all children.
As shared with you at Back-to-School Night in mid-September, at Paddington we believe that Play isn’t a Luxury. It’s a Necessity!
The research is there--- in 2018, the World Bank’s World Development Report declared that “children’s brains are most efficient at incorporating new information through exploration, play, and interactions with caring adults or peers.”
Again in 2018, the American Academy of Pediatrics, champions for play in children’s lives, stated, “Play is fundamentally important for learning 21st century skills, such as problem solving, collaboration, and creativity, which require the executive functioning skills that are critical for adult success.”
Through play children make discoveries, experience joy, and exert independence. At Paddington, we are committed to continue this work. All faculty and staff are reading the newly released book, Let the Children Play by Pasi Sahlberg and William Doyle. We will have a book club in early 2020 to talk about insights and the pedagogy behind play to enhance our daily work. If any of you are interested in joining us for a lively conversation, just let me know and we would welcome you. We purchased additional copies of the book and you can find them in the Parent Library located in our foyer.
On Tuesday October 8th, the faculty and staff gathered at Paddington for a day of professional development. We kicked off the day by sharing feedback, ideas, and successes related to the classroom blogs. Teachers have embraced this new method of sharing information with families about classroom events, sign-ups, wish lists and curriculum. In addition, families can find photographs and anecdotes describing what and how children are learning each day through a variety of engaging play-based experiences. We all agree the blogs are a wonderful way to communicate with families and to provide an answer to the question, “what did you do at school today?” Our hope is that families will read the blogs, perhaps even with your child, and use this as an opportunity to ask deeper questions and to find out more from your child about what is happening in the classroom on a daily basis and to discover what activities they most enjoy at school, what books they enjoyed reading as a class, and more! Library and science blogs are coming soon, so be on the lookout for these in the coming weeks.
Later in the morning, teachers participated in both an online and a remote training on another piece of technology, Kaymbu, which is our new family engagement and documentation tool. The Squirrel Nutkin classroom piloted this tool last year and it received positive reviews from teachers and parents! Kaymbu will provide a platform for teachers to document individual student growth and development throughout the school year as well as allow them to share their observations with parents. Shortly you will begin receiving digests from your child’s teachers containing photographs and anecdotes of your child that have been captured during the school day. This will provide you with yet another opportunity to discover more about how your child enjoys their time at Paddington. You will also learn more about the individual growth and development milestones and skills that your child is practicing and achieving through play. Kaymbu contains a messaging system, so you may receive important classroom announcements, updates, and reminders via Kaymbu. You will be learning more about this new tool from your child’s classroom teachers as we continue to integrate this new piece of technology into our daily routines. If you have any questions about Kaymbu, please feel free to reach out to me anytime!
We wrapped up our professional development day with an update from Ashley and Megan, our outdoor classroom ambassadors, a group clean-up of the toddler and preschool outdoor spaces and time in classrooms for curriculum planning and preparing for the week ahead. It was an action-packed day, and we all enjoyed the time together as a staff to continue our own journeys as joyful life-long learners!