We’re making a change this year. Since the early 90s, we’ve had the kids come to curriculum night to offer a glimpse into what a typical day might look like. The teachers and students demonstrated how circle goes and activities were planned that involved both parent and child. It’s always been a fun, though slightly stressful, evening; to be expected when you try to pull together a bunch of really tired children at the end of the day. It was fun for the kids to have their parents come to their classroom, but we found that a lot of questions weren’t necessarily answered.
A few years ago the toddler classes veered from this tradition and started holding a parents only curriculum night. This turned out to be a much more productive and useful way to bring parents and teachers together. Questions could be answered without interruptions and distractions of having little ones present. It was a more relaxed way to meet other parents and become familiar with the new classroom and teachers.
Another practice we’ve had for some time is new parent orientation on its own night. Lead teachers and directors were introduced and present to answer questions. Our “Seed 101” presentation filled in informational gaps about the school in general, then breakout sessions for the various age groups addressed more specific issues such as snack, napping policies, and homework. Typically, most of the new families attending have been from the three youngest classes. Last spring we examined our schedule and sought ways to streamline our calendar, giving both teachers and parents more family time. Combining new parent orientation with the toddler and Early 3s classes is one way to do this. Having curriculum night a parents only event is another.
Historically, the Seed’s curriculum is one aspect of the school that sets it apart from others. Our strong emphasis on planetary stewardship, kindness and creativity has shaped the Seed curriculum for 40 years. At the same time, we’re always seeking ways to refine our assessment practices to be more accountable to our students and families. As a staff we’ve consistently leaned toward the cutting edge of educational practices, striving to keep in mind best practices for the well being of children. For example, one topic which we’re currently examining is homework. Articles such as these serve as starting points for discussions:
Seed teachers incorporate new ideas through inquiry and conversation. Our curriculum grows out of this dialogue. Next week when each class gathers for curriculum night, we will open up that dialogue to our parents. We look forward to sharing the work about which we are so passionate and, at the same time, receive parent insights to further our refinement process.