Holy Family kindergartners take lesson one step further
Kindergarten success is often measured by the students' ability to recognize upper and lowercase letters, count to 100, develop self and social awareness and become an emerging reader.
At Holy Family Catholic Academy, Inverness, success in kindergarten extends beyond the intellectual gains. Success at Holy Family Catholic Academy is measured when their youngest learners become leaders and move their newly gained knowledge to action.
Holy Family Catholic Academy, the only International Baccalaureate World School (IB) in the Northwest suburbs, has designed a nationally and internationally recognized thinking curriculum that challenges learners to go beyond a basic understanding of facts to make connections, and ultimately apply their learning to new situations outside of the classroom.
"The IB framework provides our teachers with worldwide best practices in education, which helps us extend our students' learning by applying their knowledge and problem solving skills to make a difference in the larger community," said Principal Kate O'Brien.
The International Baccalaureate World School framework consists of six trans-disciplinary units that present students with authentic problem-solving challenges. The final unit in the kindergarten curriculum looked at how plants and animals need to grow and change, and how humans need to care for the earth.
Each student researched a favorite animal, built a habitat in the classroom, and visited the zoo to see their animals up close. As they presented their animals to the class, the students had to indicate if the animal was safe, threatened or endangered.
The young learners became passionate about helping the endangered animals, some even moved to tears.
"The students actively participated in their own learning, which prompted them to take responsibility to save the animals," said Elizabeth Kruse, Holy Family Catholic Academy kindergarten teacher.
They decided on a Run For Your Wild Life and shared what they learned with family and friends near and far. They researched organizations that could help and raised almost $4,000, which was donated to the Wildlife Conservation Network.
The organization acknowledged these 49 students: "The passion these children have is contagious, and their love for wildlife gives us so much hope for the future. We are so inspired by their generosity and compassion at such a young age."
Kruse and Lauren Longmeyer, a teacher assistant, agreed that the lesson encompassed a full circle of learning.
"Our kindergarten students were challenged to build their knowledge, share it with each other, and apply their learning to help make a difference. The whole experience truly touched our hearts as teachers."
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