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.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

How Preschools in Williamsburg Northside are Targeting Development through Play

All work and no play not only makes Jack a dull boy, but it can affect his overall development as well. The importance of play is so great that the UN High Commission for Human Rights has gone to the extent of recognizing play as a right for every child.

In Williamsburg Northside, preschools are making use of this essential aspect of a young learner’s development and incorporating a variety of hands on activities that are fun, engaging and stimulating as well.



Given below are the ways in which the preschoolers have been benefiting from such play-based activities that help in more than one way and do much more than the usual games conducted in most early childhood educational institutions-

Relaxation and Fun

Play forms one of the most enjoyable aspects of childhood that helps children relax and have fun. It also has restorative benefits. Children, after a session of free-play tend to be more attentive and relaxed to indulge in more structured, academic classroom activities.

Development of Social Skills

As students in the preschools of Williamsburg Northside engage with each other during play, they consciously or unconsciously develop some of the key social skills like leadership and group skills by sharing and taking turns.

Language, Learning and Motor Development

Play-based activities inside and outside preschool classrooms provide children an enriching combination of developmental opportunities related to cognition, motor and language (speech and understanding) skills.

Competency

Play requires young learners to face new situations and make decisions and choices that have a cumulative effect on the overall competency of a child. Children also learn a lot about solving problems and acquire the basic skills required for mastery of a variety of situations.

Nurturing Communication

Development of communication skills can be enhanced for young preschool attending kids through structured and unstructured play. Children interact and communicate with each other during games and are more likely to overcome their communication barriers that tend to make them shy and less outgoing.

Establishing Connections
As children engage amongst themselves during play, they establish connections with each other through common interests. This forms the basis of friendship.