AAS Schoolwide Mission Statement:
AAS empowers each student to:
Respect Self and Others,
Love Learning, and
Contribute as a Globally Aware Citizen
in order to achieve individual academic and holistic excellence.
Early Childhood Learning at AAS
The AAS Schoolwide mission statement and the IB PYP values and beliefs form the framework for our Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten programs.
At AAS we view young children as capable and competent learners, who come to us with unique experiences and prior knowledge, possessing an innate curiosity to construct meaning about the world around them. The role of play is essential in children’s lives. Play contributes to social, emotional, cognitive, and physical development. Learning in the early years is most effective when there is a balance of child-initiated play and adult-initiated learning engagements. Our thoughtfully-planned indoor and outdoor learning environments are workshops of creativity, offering young children rich learning experiences. By observing, listening, questioning and challenging children’s thinking, teachers support children as they develop their understanding and explore the world. Teachers make learning visible by documenting children’s investigations, conversations, and discoveries.
Our Image of a Pre-Kindergarten Child:
We view young children as unique and competent learners. Children come to school with their own set of prior experiences, cultural understandings, and beliefs. They are full of ideas and interests, are capable of making their own decisions, and have the ability to independently take care of themselves. We also see children as social beings who are beginning to understand social structure and behavior. Children, we believe, are playful and seek interactions and experiences that create a sense of wellbeing. We see children as agents of their learning; they inquire about the world around them and build their theories through their play.
Our Image of a Kindergarten Student:
At AAS, we believe that Kindergarteners are unique individuals with a natural curiosity of the world, possessing their own experiences and knowledge. Kindergarten students are competent, enthusiastic learners, striving to create meaning of the world around them. We believe Kindergartners learn and build relationships best in a playful environment, one that allows them to explore and pose problems independently and at their own pace. Children have unique needs, interests, and competencies, and understand the world around them through experimentation. They constantly revisit and revise their learning through the lens of new experiences. We also believe that Kindergartners are sensible and need to be valued, loved, and accepted.
The IB PYP Programme knows that young learners are intelligent, resourceful and creative individuals who grow, develop and learn at different rates. They explore their environment and learn about their world through play and relationships with peers, teachers, family and community members. Early learning in the PYP is a holistic learning experience that integrates socio-emotional, physical and cognitive development. In the PYP classroom, it takes place in dynamic environments that promote play, discovery and exploration.
Parents as Partners
Teachers respect parents as each child’s first teacher and involve parents in many aspect of their child’s learning experience. We seek to foster trusting relationships with parents, in hopes of supporting the children’s learning at home and at school.
The work of AAS educators is to empower students to contribute to the conversation, while taking the time to observe and listen to what motivates individual students. This helps teachers to make decisions about how to activate and extend students’ thinking. Teachers strive to personalize the classroom experience for their students.
The classrooms and outdoor environments inspire and provoke thought, becoming a teacher alongside the educators. Spaces provide a sense of belonging by encouraging encounters, conversations, and experiences.
Students have the right to participate in decisions about their learning. Each day, students are engaged in activities of their choice, as well as activities they have a voice in designing. Teachers draw from student wonderings and ideas, as well as attend to the broad unit of inquiry, in order to make authentic connections between the two
- Parents are partners, collaborators, and advocates for their children
- Learning takes place at home and in the school, and educators and parents work together to support students
- Children construct their knowledge and understanding of the world in the course of their own experiences, as well as from teachers, peers, family members, books, media; students engage in self-reflection and peer assessment
- Children follow their own interests through personal connections
- Students construct knowledge through teacher-student dialogue, confereing, questioning, and wondering
- Students work collaboratively in groups, with partners, independently, or alongside a teacher
- Community of learners
- Play is an important vehicle for developing self-regulation, for promoting language, cognition, social competence; play brings the curriculum alive and is a natural way for children to learn
- Students mix between classes; learning goes beyond the classroom: stimulating indoor and outdoor learning environment, including the nearby forest
- Learning is driven by big ideas/concepts
- Learning experiences lead to enduring understandings
- Students ask questions and seek to find solutions
- The classroom is a constantly changing environment that serves to inspire students’ inquiries and to develop their passion for learning; students have a voice in its design
- Assessments are embedded in learning experiences and include observation of play, group and individual discussions, documented experiences, and portfolios. Assessment is ongoing and viewed as an opportunity to learn
- Process oriented learning-focus is on the process; learners create meaning and contest by exploring new ideas and experiences, generating hypothesis, building theories, and problem solving
- Choices of ways to learn, provocations, invitations, authentic experiences, expressive role play, exploration with manipulatives, inspired writing, mathematical thinking for a purpose