From word walls and number lines to whiteboards and toys that activate imaginative play, every classroom is rich with visual aids and resources that reinforce ideas or remove barriers to learning.
Teachers, teaching assistants, and operations staff ensured that students had access to the same resources they did in the classroom while learning remotely at home by creating home learning kits for every Conservatory Lab student.
Peeking inside the learning kits for students in K1 (pre-Kindergarten) classes, there are all the things you would expect to find: worksheets that support literacy and math, drawing and writing materials, and books. However, the kits also include laminated manipulatives for students to assemble and arrange as they play with letters and numbers, pipe-cleaners and things to build with, colorful scarves and percussion instruments for musical exploration, and activities to help observe nature in autumn that provide opportunities for screen-free learning. Every student at the Lower School even received herb seeds to observe how plants grow. Teachers Tanesha Henry and Taheera Massey explained the process, “The whole K1 team sat down and thought about what our young students need. Then we made sure to include things that get them moving, and don’t require screens. Students [who are four years old] learn so much through curiosity and play!”
The Grade 1 learning kits contain a similar mix of materials plus journals to practice writing and math. Teacher Maha Abdelrahim shared, “Families were telling me that the biggest barrier for students to keep learning independently was figuring out how to find all their learning platforms while they’re still learning to read and write. “The whole school helped solve this problem by creating a landing page for all student logins on the learning platform Clever, and Ms. Abdelrahim went an extra step to set up QR codes for her students to help them log into Clever without having to know how to spell it, “This makes it easier for our students to access their classes and work.”
At both buildings, preparing the kits had all hands on deck. Every teacher and administrator emphasized how much they appreciated the hard work of Teaching Assistants and the Operations team. Everyone worked to get laminated manipulatives cut, bags labeled, phone calls made, and names checked off of lists.
During distribution at the Upper School, Assistant Principal Alvin Cooper shared, “We have been actively communicating with families. After lots of phone calls and emails, we are getting close to having everyone in to pick up their materials.” Lines of tote bags, independent reading books, science experiments, and mini-whiteboards sat organized by class as families came to the door of the new gymnasium.
Nathaniel Kaplan, Director of Academics at the Lower School held up a bag to deliver it to a family, “Seeing what’s in these learning kits makes me want to join the Lower School music classes. Our Crew has worked so hard to make learning from home fun!”