Cascades Academy Independent School PK-12
Practice What We Preach
Practice What We Preach
Jubilant: "feeling or expressing great happiness and triumph."

This is best way I can think to describe the children this week in pre-k. They were excited, expressive and thoroughly engaged in their learning. The longer I work with this age group, the better I come to understand the true value of a child-driven, play-based approach to learning. As a more traditionally educated teacher, it has been quite a journey for me, learning to let go of the control I thought I needed to ensure that children learned. They are born to learn. It is this drive that motivates every play experience they seek out, every question they pose and every understanding they construct. At Cascades Academy I have had many discussions with fellow teachers about the importance and value of being "The guide by the side" rather than "The sage on the stage." It is easy to understand in theory, but takes real work to implement in your regular practice. It requires constant observation, reflection, flexibility and responsiveness to provide an environment and community that invites play, creativity and strong social connections. Here in pre-k, working with our youngest community members pushes us as educators to embrace and really live this philosophy. What a gift these children provide us as teachers, helping us to practice what we preach, each and every day.

As the saying goes, "a picture is worth a thousand words..." the photos, videos and their captions in the slideshow below will give you a glimpse of the intrinsically motivated, joyful learning that has been happening in our classroom. Enjoy!

-Ms. Emily, Pre-Kindergarten Teacher/Program Director






A Peek into Pre-K: Second Language Acquisition and our school-wide theme of Inclusion
A Peek into Pre-K:  Second Language Acquisition and our school-wide theme of Inclusion

As you've surely heard by now, our school-wide theme for the 2017-18 school year is inclusion. Teachers of all grade levels and subjects have been working to incorporate this theme into curriculum throughout the year, and Spanish class is no different. In past blogs I've written about the neurological benefits of 2nd language acquisition, but today I want to also emphasize the more esoteric benefits of the study of world languages, especially in early childhood. A recent article in The Atlantic reviews studies that indicate that children who speak multiple languages are better at understanding other people. The data suggest that this is true not only those who are fluent but those who are simply exposed to another language in their daily lives. Inclusivity is made possible by empathy and the ability to understand and value differing perspectives and sets of experiences, and the study of world language tones and develops children's skills in these areas. Miss Emily and Miss Colette have a wonderful Loris Malaguzzi quote posted outside the Pre-K classroom, which reads "A child's most sought-after goal is to recognize themself in others, and to find in others parts of themself." As children are exposed to a new language, and as they begin to use that language themself, the langage and the people who speak it seem less different. Students are able to see commonalities more easily and it becomes easier to accept and even embrace a world in which all different kinds of people have a place.

~ Hailee Newman, Lower School Spanish Teacher


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