Friday, 14 July 2017

Why is Elementary Education Essential?

A good lower school such as Williamsburg Lower School is usually the next step in a child’s learning and development after preschool and the first major step into mainstream education. These early years are particularly critical and important for children, for it is the period when they transition into full-fledged education system with more focus on learning and skill development. 

The ability of a child to grasp and understand education in these years will greatly influence their learning ability in the later years of their life.



But it is a studied problem that many parents decide to skip the early elementary years, owing to the largely vague public policies regarding elementary schools. This issue was brought into mainstream attention when the Every Student Succeeds Act was passed, requiring annual grading examinations for students from 3rd grade onwards.

Now a child has to be proficient enough to be able to face and pass the 3rd grade examinations, which require them to be well versed in early education, specifically those taught in elementary schools. This is where the importance of elementary school education is increased manifold.

Another issue is the lack of quality education. Although Williamsburg Lower School maintains the highest standards in education, there are quite a number of schools that do not live up to the educational standards that are required for children to be able to be prepared for 3rd grade tests.



While lower school children require to be exposed to the right mix of play and education, the focus should be specifically in their ability to comprehend and rationalize whatever is being taught to them, along with the ability to reciprocate it successfully to a considerable extent. And a good school ticks all the right boxes when it comes to teaching it all to the kids successfully and effectively.


The Every Student Succeeds Act is specifically designed to improve flexibility to the states to design elementary education in schools, although one major flaw in the Act is that it doesn’t provide the states any incentives to do so. 

The states are virtually handed a free reign in terms of control, which they may or may not choose to do so. Basically, it comes down to pure interest of the states when it comes to revamping elementary education.

Learn more about the flexible curriculum followed at the Williamsburg Lower School in Brooklyn, NY.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Williamsburg Northside Schools: Shaping Young Minds into Independent Individuals

In a world of seven billion people, adults like you and me often find ourselves with an evading sense of self.  What separates us from our peers, our neighbors and even our family are our individual opinions, thoughts, and observations. Having a strong sense of individuality is essential for each one of us, be it a child or an adult.



A fundamental principle that Williamsburg Northside Schools stand on is that all children are born as independent individual beings, capable of thinking, observing, and forming their own opinions. Williamsburg Northside Schools comprise of the following four institutions:
  • Infant and toddler center (or the daycare)
  • Preschool
  • Lower school
  • Middle school (opening its doors in September 2018)

Starting with the child’s first step towards learning, Williamsburg Northside Schools aim at bringing out each child’s innate interests, opinions, and preferences. This is achieved by employing teaching techniques and creating a comprehensive curriculum based on the Reggio Emilia approach.



In the formative years of children, i.e. starting from when they are admitted to the infant and toddler center till they reach middle school – children are encouraged to voice their opinions, ideas, and suggestions. Their ideas and opinions or their concerns are addressed by the teachers and the children feel that their voice matters. Following is an important pillar of the Reggio Emilia approach through which children learn how to embrace individuality:

Documentation Techniques used by the Teacher 

A core principle of this approach is that teachers are not merely education providers – they are researchers. Along with the responsibility of providing education, the teachers take upon themselves the responsibility of carefully observing and documenting each child’s ideas, questions, interests, struggles and insights on a daily basis.

Documentation techniques implemented by teachers include collecting samples of children’s works, written anecdotes, written transcripts of children’s conversations, asking questions to gain knowledge about the kid’s curiosities, and video recordings. By the means of careful research, the teachers encourage students to make connections between their own ideas and reflect on the works done by them.

This allows teachers and parents to understand children on an individual level. It also enables the educators to comprehend the next steps to take with the students to enrich their sense of individuality.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Benefits of Employing the Reggio Emilia Approach in Preschools at Williamsburg Northside

The Reggio Emilia approach to preschool education first began in the northern parts of Italy after the end of the Second World War. It was the creation of a teacher named Loris Malaguzzi who lived in the area of Reggio Emilia in Italy. With the passage of time, this alternative approach became highly popular and eventually towards the last quarter of the century, it attracted worldwide attention.

So what are the benefits of the Reggio Emilia approach that it is implemented by the preschools at Williamsburg Northside and other areas around the world?

This blog deals with all that and much more. Read on to find out -  

One of the key principles of the Reggio Emilia approach is that it encourages children to take part in activities, explore and question what they see happening around them. These are what every preschool in Williamsburg Northside actively promotes.



Some of the other practices involved in Reggio Emilia approach are as follows –

Expressive Arts

The Reggio Emilia approach is based on the premise that children use a number of ways to express their creativity, thoughts, and understanding. These various methods of exploring, learning and thinking are expressed through dance, drama, drawing, painting, pretend-play and sculpturing.

Long-Term Projects

The learning projects in the Reggio Emilia approach provide ample scope for research opportunities for young learners. These include real-life problem-solving among peers, opportunities to think creatively and explore. Children are made to take part in small groups and begin with teachers questioning children about their topic of interest.

After this, materials and opportunities in their area of interest are introduced by the teachers. The curriculum is designed in a manner to strike a balance between the instructions of the teacher and the activities which are of interest to the children.

Tracking Individual Journeys


Another key element in the Reggio Emilio approach happens to be documentation. It serves a plethora of purposes but is primarily used for analyzing the learning patterns in children. The focus area of documentation happens to be the experiences the children are involved in and the skills which they acquire. It also helps teachers in assessing the understanding of the children and develop the curriculum accordingly.