Learning Goes Beyond the Classroom in the Four Year Old Pre-K Class at SIA

Four Year Old kids wearing custom masks at SIA

A long standing tradition of our EY4 program has been the Family of the Week project. The idea of setting aside a time for our students to share themselves and their families with the rest of their class has been in place since 2004.

In this pandemic era it has become particularly meaningful since parents are not able to be in the classroom meeting teachers and other students.

With the help of technology, parents, siblings and extended family members have been able to join in, via Google Meet on the big screen, to be a part of our classroom communities.

As one of the best affordable private schools in Virginia Beach and an International Baccalaureate Candidate School, the Family of the Week program has seamlessly integrated into the transdisciplinary unit Who We Are under the central idea: Families Cultivate Identities. Within this central idea students pursue various inquiries about customs and traditions within families. They learn about roles within the family and also about hobbies and careers.

During Family of the Week, our students have learned about making art out of reclaimed materials from a very crafty Bubby (grandmother). Another grandmother shared her artistry with knitting.

Parents have shared their careers; our students have met air force pilots, various kinds of doctors, a pair of mom and dad gemologists, an artist and countless other members of many professions. The students have had fun meetings with extended family members like cousins and aunts.

One aunt was an Occupational Therapist who they learned helps kids move better during daily activities. In another family they met a cousin who is another kind of community helper, a TSA, who helps keep airports safe.

One of our NATO families stationed here in Hampton Roads from Germany shared their RV travels in several states since they have been in our country. Another family from Germany shared pictures of castles they had visited in their home country.

One NATO family stationed here in Hampton Roads from Norway shared a great many facts about their native country that led to an inquiry about trees indigenous to their homeland. Sometimes our students tour their classmates’ rooms via the internet. One class found out that their friend had an amazing collection of dinosaur models at home! Many times families share favorite books, foods and hobbies.

The Family of the Week program has developed and evolved over the years into a very enriching addition to the learning activities in our EY4 classrooms, an essential part of an IB PYP school in Virginia Beach. To assess how family shapes our identities, our students created people figures representing themselves using words and pictures that illustrate how their experiences with their families have influenced who they are.

As a means of finding the connection between their families and their own identities, some classes have started identifying International Baccalaureate learner attributes they gained from parents like being a thinker or a risk taker, or open minded. By sharing their families with us our young friends are sharing themselves and it has been a wonderful experience for everyone.

Just a few spots left for the 2021-2022 School Year! For more information or to schedule a tour of one of the best private elementary schools in Virginia Beach, please contact Carin Simon, Admissions Director: 757.424.4327. SIA is centrally located near Chesapeake and Norfolk.

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