Clearing the Way

Seed teachers are back at it.  We started our prep week on Tuesday and it’s been an action packed few days.  Currently the hallway is lined with items each teacher no longer needs, including extra random art supplies, puzzles with missing pieces, wrong sized tables or shelves, lost and found clothing, and outdated equipment.  My favorite was a set of very old head sets with a sign that read, “Free to a good home.  We had difficulty getting these to work.  Then one day…Hhhpt!  Nada.  May be better suited for someone with an archaeology background…”

In addition to cleaning the rooms, our staff is spending time getting acquainted or reacquainted, welcoming new staff members, and sharing a bit of professional development.  We had an excellent session on Wednesday on the topic of growth mind set.  It’s a huge topic to touch on in an hour, so the introductory session included practical advice for enhancing our self-talk and understanding how malleable our brains really are.  As part of our beginning of the year intentions, we discussed goals and how to practically begin to take action on them.  We learned about “the power of YET” (https://www.ted.com/talks/carol_dweck_the_power_of_believing_that_you_can_improve).  It was an hour of time spent on a topic that will filter into every part of our teaching lives.

Thursday morning we took two hours to explore and revisit The Project Approach.  The Project Approach is defined as: “A method of teaching in which an in-depth study of a particular topic is conducted by a child or a group of children. The Project Approach is incorporated into the curriculum but does not always constitute the entire curriculum.” (illinoisearlylearning.org/illinoispip/definitions.html) The Seed has used this method for decades in various expressions, depending on the teacher and children involved.  We decided to review the process to make sure we were following all of the suggested phases.  For practice, the teachers worked collaboratively to brainstorm for our upcoming all-school nutrition study in early September.  Each group added their ideas to a large planning web on the wall.

As always, it was inspiring to hear so many possibilities for the study, which this year will focus around the kitchen and its untensils, activities, traditions, and foods.  Phase 1 of The Project Approach involves gathering information from the children, observing them and listening to their questions.  Once the children arrive and settle in, you can be sure their ideas will guide this year’s nutrition study into new, unchartered territory.  We look forward to this year’s journey with your children and hope to see you all at the open house on Monday, August 14, from 9:30-11 A.M.  School starts on Tuesday, August 15.

for more on The Project Approach:  projectapproach.org