The transition to school can be both exciting and anxiety-ridden for students and parents alike. Joy in meeting classmates may be mixed with fears of how to make new friends. The thrill of new challenges may mingle with concerns about being in a classroom away from home.
Stella Moon, an Early Learning Teacher at BASIS Independent Brooklyn, has been advising parents on separation anxiety for decades during her many years teaching preschool. She had some tips to share with families in the month before school starts.
If you ask students at BASIS Independent Brooklyn what makes their school different, they will tell you “the teachers.” The foundation of our culture and the success of our students lie in the hands of our faculty. We look for inspiring, expert teachers who believe that with the right support and encouragement any student can excel. With that in mind, we kick off a blog series profiling faculty members who recently joined our school.
Today we feature Ms. De Leon, who leads students in Engineering and Math in both our Early Learning and Primary Program. Ms. De Leon is intrigued by the contexts under which the brain develops conceptual mathematical knowledge, and she finds it fascinating how every individual has creative and unique solutions for any given mathematical task. As a 4th grade Math and Early Learning Program Engineering Teacher, she set out this year to cultivate a growth mindset culture, so her students can achieve at their highest levels.
Ms. De Leon is excited to have found a community of like-minded educators at BASIS Independent Brooklyn. We asked her some questions to help families get to know her better as a teacher and a fellow parent at our school.
For PreK through high school, our Student Affairs team has launched a stepped up wellness initiative in September that will span the full academic year. Our deans and directors partnered with faculty to lead the charge for a "Wellness Year" that integrates wellness themes into year round programming.
"The whole Student Affairs Team had a meeting of the minds this summer, and all deans and directors discussed ways a Wellness Year focus could span all grades with themes that are relevant for students in PreK to high school," said Dean Darcy Golka of Primary Grades (2–4). "We worked on what students in our different age bands need to hear, and we spent time ensuring messages were age appropriate."
Monthly programming themes were designated based on what deans and directors knew were happening in students' lives and thinking through what was appropriate developmentally. They wanted to create a more robust program that would spark conversations among students about themes that go beyond wellness and tap into social-emotional learning.
Cognitive theorist Jerome Bruner wrote, “We begin with the hypothesis that any subject can be taught in some intellectually honest form to any child at any stage of development” (1960). We believe that even our youngest students at BASIS Independent Brooklyn are capable of engaging with and understanding the most difficult material if it is structured and presented appropriately. BASIS Curriculum Schools ensures major course topics are “spiraled,” or re-addressed at each grade level with increasing complexity.
Reading is as important a tool as ever in building students' understanding of different cultures and viewpoints. Few media can accomplish as much as a compelling story can. To celebrate the importance of literacy, we have some exciting upcoming reading events planned for our community.
Ms. King integrates folk dances across her Movement Classes for our youngest students in preschool, kindergarten, and grade 1. She wanted to share with our families some of the thinking behind her choice.
I teach folk dances in all my Movement Classes. They are a fun and exciting way to introduce children to cultural movement traditions while learning movement patterns and sequences, listening to and responding to music, and engaging socially and cooperatively with their classmates. These dances and songs scaffold in difficulty as the grades progress from simple Circle Dances/Games to more complex formations and sequences like Square Dancing and Contra Dancing.
As a BASIS Independent Brooklyn founding faculty member, Ms. Hetty King has explored themes of yoga, anatomy, dance, nutrition, rhythm, and more with our youngest students since our school first opened four years ago. Ms. King brings years of professional dance and movement experience to the classroom as well as years of teaching children of all ages. You can read more about her extensive experience here.
We asked Ms. King to share some of her practices with our families, so parents could understand more of the thought and deliberation that goes into her lesson planning. This post is a behind-the-scenes look at her work with both our Early Learning Program and Primary School students.
Greg Trefry is a BASIS Independent Brooklyn parent who just happens to teach a graduate-level class at NYU called Designing Games for Kids. He brought his NYU graduate students into Ms. Connor's PreK classes this week to play board games. But, what happened inside the classroom was so much more interesting than simple game playing.
Greg wanted his class to meet with some of our youngest students, including his son, to play board or physical games with them before his graduate students designed new games for the kids - based on their observations. A month later, the same graduate students will return to share their games with the children and gather feedback.
We took a moment to ask Greg some questions about the trip as well as more general questions on students and games that often pop up in conversations in our community.
Inspired by the blissful feeling of uncovering connections, our blog Eureka! Brooklyn is about sharing moments that capture the essence of what it is to be a BASIS Independent student, teacher, administrator, or family.