By Cecilia Armour, Telra Principal
At Telra, we encourage young learners to be curious and to wonder, so information sticks.
“Sticky learning” is long-term retention, which is key for deeper understanding and for scaffolding new learning onto previous learning. By encouraging curiosity and wonder, Telra teachers create “Personal Learning Pathways,” allowing students to pursue knowledge and skills that are specific to their individual needs and learning journeys.
When wondering, students ask, “Why?”
The ‘why’ is the deep, sticky, conceptual understanding of the world around them, that the skills and content that they learn crucially hinge upon. Our children (and we adults) are more engaged and learn better when content feels personally relevant and purposeful.
We create opportunities for students to learn from their teacher and with their peers, and to explore both individually and with members of our community. This multi-facet approach ensures that connections are made within the classroom and between the classroom and the outside world. By doing so, meaningful learning takes place, allowing our students to accelerate through curricular areas whilst making learning ‘stick’.
Kindergarten, at Telra, is therefore fun, messy, loud, quiet, interactive, collaborative, intrapersonal and specific to individual needs. Students are exposed to content as they are ready for it, without a restrictive glass ceiling or a limiting low floor.
Some students come to us already reading. They then build upon those skills to think critically about the text, understanding what the author wrote and why. Some students arrive to us requiring explicit cumulative teaching of phonics, so that they too can learn to crack the reading code and become readers. We place students into groups of similar learners to ensure that learning is specific to them. Individual goals and targets are set in their Personal Learning Pathways and are routinely evaluated through informal formative assessments to ensure that goals are met, and new ones set.
Some students come to Kindergarten with early numeracy skills embedded and are ready for further mathematical problem-solving challenges and content beyond their age grade. Others students need further exposure to early numeracy concepts. Again, all individual needs are met as we group students with peers who are on similar learning pathways. It may be the same peers they learned with during reading time, but it also may not.
Learn more about our Curriculum.
Telra students move in and out of learning focuses as part of their daily routine. This in and out—in a group for math and in a different one for reading with peers of the same grade or neighboring grade, then out to a larger group for lunch, recess, and specialist classes—is the Telra way.
Our approach is developmentally appropriate.
Tasks and activities are hands-on, heuristic, and fun. Students run with a project depending on their own interests. That is how learning sticks for young learners. And when it sticks, we can accelerate learning opportunities.
Individual content is linked to a larger theme, connecting what students are learning to their world. For example, one theme may be “Farming in the Piedmont.” Students apply skills learned in English Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies, Music, and PE—researching and visiting local farms, what produce they grow in the Piedmont area, how they sell their crops to earn a living, how the local citizens respect the farmers and buy locally from farm to table.
As you can see, our approach enables students to go with their innate motivation, allowing us to accelerate their learning through their Personal Learning Pathway. Your wee ones will get messy, they will laugh a lot and they will learn loads! That is my promise to each of you!