Beyond the Classroom: Learning at Tobin Beaudet
At Tobin Beaudet, we embrace a multi-dimensional approach to learning and appreciate that learning takes place everywhere, everyday – as we say, beyond the classroom. For our teachers, every opportunity provides the potential for growth and development. Educational theorists call this experiential learning – where students play an active role in their own learning – but here at Tobin Beaudet, we just call it a regular day!
Of course our curriculum includes math, science, language arts, writing, social studies, etc., but we also recognize the importance of learning beyond the classroom. For example, our teachers and afterschool group leaders teach life skills every day. We eat snack and lunch communally, where we foster open communication and facilitate peer-to-peer and peer-to-teacher conversation. We teach our students to clean up after themselves and each other, and we take turns sweeping the floor and wiping down our tables. We promote environmental awareness and bodily awareness by encouraging our students to “only take what you plan on eating, and to listen to your stomach when it says it’s full.”
On the playground, we facilitate conflict resolution and teach the importance of sharing, taking turns, and thinking about another friend’s point of view. Our learning philosophy continues beyond the schoolyard, as we venture on nature walks and bring our students on various field trips throughout the year.
Most recently, our Junior Kindergarten and Kindergarten classes visited the Natick Community Organic Farm, to learn about the production of maple syrup and see the farm’s animals. When talking about examples of “respect” recently in the classroom, one Junior Kindergarten student remarked, “we respect animals, like at the farm” – to which the teacher reminded the class, “yes, at the farm, we had to keep our voices down so as not to scare the animals – that is a great example of respect!” Our learning outside the classroom works its way back in, so the world around us becomes our classroom.
Whether it’s nice outside or a rainy day, we never stop playing to keep our bodies and minds moving and engaged. Freeze Dance is a popular game in Junior Kindergarten, Kindergarten and Afterschool… its popularity spans the ages! Recently at our Before School program, we spent the entire time playing Knee Soccer in the Big Game Room. Of course, this game teaches gross motor skills and develops muscles and reflexes, but it also encourages fair play and teamwork. Playing is learning. All play – solo play, parallel play, cooperative play, dramatic play, and more – are visible at Tobin Beaudet everyday!
Another opportunity for developing and learning through play is tackled by combining students of different ages. Mixed age groups has a positive effect on the students’ social and emotional development. Our Afterschool choices allow for students from Kindergarten to Grade 2 to integrate while participating in a teacher-led activity. Occasionally an older student will visit the Junior Kindergarten classroom as a “JK Helper” – where they can play amongst the younger children and learn about their class. And the JK kids love having an older student role model come visit!
Whether building with waffle blocks in the big game room, lacing up ice skates for a skating lesson in Afterschool, or going outside to do a tree observation in Kindergarten science class, there are countless moments of learning outside the classrooms at Tobin Beaudet!
That’s my update for March!