By Anna Shiroma, Early Childhood Curricular & Instructional Specialist at The Langley School
This year there have been lots of new changes to the classroom. Desks are spaced six feet apart, students use individual crayon boxes, and face coverings are worn throughout the day. But there are many things that haven’t changed. The Langley School’s intentional and aligned academic program, balanced with social-emotional learning, is still thriving throughout the classrooms (in person and virtual) every day!
When you walk into a junior kindergarten classroom, you find individual glitter jars on each desk. Students use these to practice their calm-down strategies when they are upset or frustrated. You find students working collaboratively to create a barn for their farm animals, deciding on the materials they will use to create fences and different homes for the animals. You see a teacher leading a lesson with classroom puppets on strong feelings and ways to regulate big emotions.
Down the hall, in our kindergarten classrooms, students are sharing their writing strategies with their friends and their teachers. Rich conversations about ways to solve a math problem or about a story they read are happening between our friends in person and at home. During morning meetings, students greet each other in different ways and are able to share exciting news or special things going on in their lives.
In our preschool classrooms, students check in with our mood meter every morning to talk about how they are feeling. This helps them practice “feeling” words and talk about ways to support different emotions. The class talks about the books they are reading together and takes turns using materials. Students build block structures and combine each of the parts they are working on. Each class talks to our friends at home every day and builds a classroom community of virtual and in-person friends.
As families seek the best school options for their child, we wanted to remind you that collaboration and community are alive and well at The Langley School. Despite the challenges this pandemic has brought, our students are still communicating, playing, and using regulation strategies. There may be some new routines this year, but establishing key academic foundations, building important social-emotional skills, and providing access to attentive teachers remain a cornerstone to our program.