All Learning Begins with a "Spark"
When asked, who have been some of the most inspiring people in their lives, most adults will answer that their "spark" began with a parent, a grandparent, or a teacher.
Our earliest teachers "spark" our imagination and motivate us to be a better version of ourselves. As educators, inspiring children to become lifelong learners is not only our vision but our reward. And some of our best "lessons learned" come from watching each other teach.
Most teachers share an insatiable desire to learn. As our educators at The Reading Corner were plowing through professional books and absorbing new information from trainings and curricula, our Director received her "spark" while watching a preschool teacher instruct her four-year-old son in the classroom.
Watching her son's preschool teacher demonstrate all of the "best practices" we had been reading about in books brought the learning to life. It was mesmerizing, and she said she found herself sneaking into the classroom where she would sit alongside the children who, likewise, were fascinated while the teacher read stories aloud.
Marveling at her patience amidst so many energetic children, our Director would listen to the way her son's teacher not only spoke to the children, but more importantly; how she listened so intently and engaged them in conversation.
She said her son's teacher had the ability to stay focused on the lesson she was teaching, while acknowledging her students' thoughts and observations. She always was willing to take little detours when a child made a connection he was eager to share. Little did she know at the time, but our Director's observing this preschool teacher became her "spark": the creative force behind The Reading Corner Curriculum.
As a team, we would spend hours researching ideas and tweaking activities to make them more hands-on, applicable, and engaging. We began to integrate our research on "best practices" with what our Director witnessed in her child's classroom.
Inviting preschool teachers into the curriculum development process is what makes The Reading Corner Curriculum research-based, effective, and practical for teachers to bring into their classrooms. We remain focused on continual improvement to meet the needs of parents, educators and their early learners.
We collaborated with that inspirational preschool teacher and discovered new ways to engage students and teachers. The Reading Corner Curriculum was pilot tested with her students in the classroom, and we frequently integrated research while we recorded activities that could be replicated to engage children and be user-friendly for teachers.
The preschool teacher would mark up our teaching formats, as she used them with her students. She showed us the way to take a research-based curriculum and make it practical to teach and easier to learn. She would cover our activities with "Post-its" or "Wite out", so she could continue to utilize the format, but make modifications to the activities.
During curriculum development, the preschool teacher would request blank templates so she could quickly develop a game focusing on the exact letters, sight words, or other early concepts. She followed the scope and sequence that our Director had painstakingly developed prior to completing The Reading Corner Curriculum.
Our freebie of templates this week has been developed for educators like our Director and her son's preschool teacher : instructors who think outside the box and who want to discover new ways to utilize simple formats. These teachers recognize that they do not teach their students; they motivate them and teach alongside them. They provide the "spark" for lifelong learning.