Preschool children (and children of all ages!) look forward to their favorite holidays, and this season is particularly exciting for most of them. But beware!
As we think about how much we have to be thankful for and how lucky we are, one can also reflect back to our core values - compassion, in particular. A large part of being compassionate relates to empathy. Though some people are innately empathetic and caring towards others, for many children it is something that needs to be taught and learned. Since young children are egocentric, we must help them become aware of the feelings and needs of others. It is important for them to learn to do good for the sake of helping others, rather than for any reward other than the good feeling they get as a result. They may not even be aware of that intrinsically good feeling unless we talk about it or point it out.
When addressing each of our Core Values with our youngest students, it seemed most appropriate to save integrity for last. Certainly not because it was the least important, but because it is all encompassing. A person with integrity knows the difference between right and wrong and chooses to do the right thing, even when it is a hard choice and/or no one is looking. A person with integrity is honest, trustworthy and has strong moral principles. People with integrity are the ones we want our children to look up to, emulate and become.
I do not think that one has to be an educator, researcher or child development specialist to realize that positive development in the early years of life is a predictor of future success. The child who has been reared in a loving and language-rich home and school environment in the early years of life has a huge advantage for future development.
Proudly sporting their “I am a digital citizen” stickers, Shorecrest students gathered during this Digital Citizenship week to share ways to protect themselves and demonstrate Shorecrest values online. Daily, we send our students into the virtual world to conduct research, collaborate with peers across oceans, and take action to improve their communities. Students reinforce their math skills using engaging math games online. They build online Portfolios to demonstrate their learning. They create movies, websites, and other virtual products to share their knowledge. They challenge teachers to constantly evolve their practice to reflect the changing world.
In short, technology is transformative.