At Philip’s Academy, Paterson, while the school grows from its current size of Kindergarten and First Grade classes to a full complement of pre-K-8 grades, the emphasis is on whole child support and how to grow values and expectations for even the youngest students. Learning to read, and learning to love reading can happen in the standard classroom, but also during Circle Time when children and teacher come together at the end of the day to listen to and participate in story time.
Teachers will conduct math sprints to teach math fluency. They will engage the children in handwork—fiber arts, paper crafting, and drawing, even handwriting—because it is central to helping the brain develop. In the classroom, students learn how to use technology they might already be familiar with—iPads or Chromebooks—but as tools for solving academic problems.
Even the youngest student can and will learn how to code, a skill that can guide and distinguish them from their academic counterparts.
Whether teachers are working with students individually or in a group, each child comes to know that what they are doing is learning to take life on, push past the life handed to them and reach out and be whatever they’ve imagined themselves to be, even president of the United States.