Morris Early Childhood Development held its 100th day of school on Wednesday, February 20. Playing on the theme of the number 100, students, teachers and administrators dressed up as if they were one hundred years old. Adorned in sweaters, glasses, ties and canes students had fun pretending they were older as they learned the value of the number 100.
“For kindergartners, the biggest part of teaching them math is number sense, acknowledging the value of numbers and how they related to each other,” commented Elizabeth Conaway, Principal at Morris Early Childhood Development. “This is a fun way for the children to celebrate math in a different way.”
Mrs. Conaway herself wore a gray wig, flannel gown, glasses and slippers as she greeted students and their families to school on Wednesday. Students were encouraged to bring in items from home with the number 100 on them and teachers placed the number in their lesson plans throughout the day. One hundred days into the school year so far, Principal Conaway states that the students are performing well in spite of the challenges the weather has presented to all school across the state of Delaware.
“The weather has been a challenge for instruction consistency and that is very important at this age,” commented Principal Conaway. “We are looking forward to getting back to a more consistent curriculum.”
In addition to academics, most children are introduced to social norms and how to interact with each other for the first time as a kindergarten student. With each child on a different level of experience and comfort towards this new idea of school, teachers are tasked with the challenge of how to educate all of their children collectively and individually to the best of their ability.
“For so many kids this school is the first time they are interacting with adults and other children outside of their family,” commented Principal Conaway. “There is a large range of prior knowledge they bring with them, some kids know their ABCs and numbers where some come to us never having held a pencil before.”
By the end of kindergarten, students will be expected to write six to eight connected sentences about one specific subject. Common Core Standards structures the academic focus for these five- and six-year-olds to include reading, math, writing, science and social studies. With Response To Intervention (RTI) classes for students that need extra help, the leadership of Morris Early Childhood Center is preparing kids for their academic careers.
“When children come to us we are finding that up to 60% are not meeting the initial benchmark, and over time the discrepancy between those that are prepared and those that are not is getting wider,” stated Conaway. “We use Response To Intervention as a way to help shorten that gap through targeted students on an individual level and also in groups.”
As a feeder school to Lulu Ross Elementary, Mispillion Elementary and Banneker Benjamin Elementary, Morris Early Childhood’s first priority is ensuring that their 400 plus students enter the next level of the public school system with a solid foundation of learning. Principal Beth Conaway and Vice Principal Jon Lobiondo work hand in hand to give each student the opportunities they need for success.
“Five is a great age to be, they are enthusiastic, ready to learn and have so many possibilities ahead,” commented Ms. Conaway. “To see the impact that we have on them is incredible.”