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