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Since the start of the school year, there have been wonderful things taking place at Primary Plus Elementary and West Valley Middle Schools. Numerous changes have been implemented that are currently improving young minds and ensuring that our students do, in fact, start ahead and stay ahead.
We’ve received great feedback on our new Transitional Kindergarten program due to the inclusion of OWL (“Open the World of Learning”) materials, our popular soccer league is in full-swing, our dance classes are all filled to the brim, and the students have just begun another stimulating academic year.
There are, as always, significant changes that are bound to take place in your young learner. We grow as we learn: we gain an inch in height or shoe size, and mirror that inch academically as we gain knowledge. However, fall of 2012 bore witness to a new change in the way our teachers would teach and our students would learn: the introduction of Apple technology in the classroom. The use of iPads in Kindergarten and 8th grade classrooms is now a contributing factor to your children’s future academic success. The new iPad program has proven wildly popular and successful—putting Primary Plus and West Valley on the cutting edge of educational modernity.
At Primary Plus Elementary School, Kindergarteners are learning quickly just how easy it is to play word and number games with only their fingers and their minds. All four of the Kindergarten classrooms contain two iPads, and the students rotate their play time by moving through various stations. Each child is given roughly 10 minutes to “play” on an iPad, which both peaks their interest and stimulates their minds without the children becoming too distracted by or dependent upon the technology. Teachers work with their students on how to operate the device and how to navigate through different educational games.
West Valley Middle School is also making the most of their new iPad program. Students in 8th grade—who are, arguably, more tech-savvy than most of their parents—are learning how to perform research on their iPads, as well as how to type documents and to take notes. Students use the Notes app to take notes in Science, Language Arts, Spanish, and History courses. In Math, students use the Khan Academy app in order to view and respond to videos related to newly-introduced math concepts. These 8th graders even use their iPads for group presentations and projects, and, in Language Arts, the children were responsible for researching one or two apps and presenting a tutorial to the class!
By making their world both visually and mentally stimulating, students are learning about a variety of new ways to, well, learn. The tools they are gaining are essential in an ever-adapting world that has become increasingly dependent upon the use of technology. Students will, however, be able to move onto high school and college with the tools to confidently access technology while remaining comfortable with traditional tools for performing class and homework. In a sense, it’s a win-win situation.
“The kids love it,” Elementary School Principal Mary Lou Rodriguez exclaimed, “The teachers love it, and the parents are very impressed. This is truly a new chapter in our children’s education, and for our own, as we teach them to learn in new and creative ways.” Although iPads were only provided for the Kindergarten and 8th grade classrooms, many of the other classes at Primary Plus plan on using the money they earned in this September’s Walk-a-Thon to purchase some of their own. We have every hope that all of our students will learn to be confident using technology, and that they will remain on the brink of innovation throughout their learning careers.
We are proud of all parties—students, their parents, and faculty members—for embracing this wonderfully-innovative, educational tool. It is currently enhancing both students’ and teachers’ classroom experiences through the combination of modern-day technology mixed with traditional themes. The students are, quite literally, learning as they play—taking a bite out of conventional learning methods and fueling their minds for future success. At Primary Plus and West Valley, we truly start ahead and stay ahead.
Starting in fall 2012, the Junior Kindergarten curriculum was enhanced to meet the scope and sequence of Transitional Kindergarten. The Open World of Learning (OWL) will be integrated into the curriculum and is designed to foster the development of the whole child. Our students will continue to enjoy the advantages of the current Junior Kindergarten curriculum.