- Junior School
- Professional Development
By Nick Hammon, Alexis Randall and Shannon Sciulli, Junior School Pre-Kindergarten Teachers
The National Association for Education of Young Children (NAEYC) is a national conference that the Junior School Pre-K teachers have had the opportunity to attend, participating in meaningful and inspiring professional development. After years of attending, we were inspired and hoped to present the work we do in Pre-K at one of their conferences. In August, we found out that we were selected among hundreds of applicants to present about how the teachers and Pre-K students blog.
During the week of November 14, we traveled to Atlanta, Georgia to not only attend the largest conference in our field, but to also present and share the work we do in our classrooms. In our Pre-K program, the partnerships between us teachers and our families is incredibly important. We provide a window into your children’s social and academic learning experiences. Each day, our goal is to capture moments of each child’s experience in our classrooms, from how they interact with others, what interests they have and what they are currently exploring, to the friendships they are establishing. We also share the academic skills the children are learning, which always provides the opportunity for families to extend these skills at home. We then share these daily moments with our families using a blogging platform called EduBlogs. The teachers are not the only ones who blog, our students are bloggers too! Each student in the four and five year old classrooms have their own blogs that we use as digital portfolios. By providing children with the opportunity to blog, they are taking ownership of their learning and sharing explorations and discoveries that are meaningful to them. We have learned, through conversations with our families, that the blogs provide a bridge and create a dialogue between home and school.
The teachers, students and their families are what makes our blogging a success. Using our experiences and the voices from fellow teachers as well as current and past students and families, we shared our story about how we blog in the classroom with more than 50 early childhood professionals. During our presentation, we had the opportunity to get to know our audience and learned that we had administrators and teachers who ranged in teaching experience from first year teachers to teaching for more than 25 years. Their experience with technology also ranged from no experience to experts. Having the opportunity to reach and teach a wide range of educators, just like the students we teach in our classroom, was incredibly rewarding. Our goal was to inspire them to go back to their schools and begin to think about ways they could use blogging in their classroom, as well as with their students, in a way to enrich their home-school communication. It was greatly fulfilling that we had the chance to share our passion with other early childhood educators, and provide some resources that they could take back to their classrooms about blogging with young children.
We are incredibly proud that this opportunity gave us the chance to represent the Shady Side Academy community, network with early childhood professionals from all over the world and share the work of our youngest students!