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When a kindergarten teacher is given the task of teaching five and six year olds about “life in the past,” there are several different ways to go about completing that task.
Approach number one is to read several stories about children like themselves growing up in the 1950s and 1960s. The students really enjoy listening to stories I read to them each afternoon as they stretch out on the carpet after lunch recess, but is that the most effective way to teach children about the past? I could have shown them photo after photo of children during that era. I could have talked about toys that were popular, snacks that were eaten, and how people lived, but I knew that truly would not have made an impact on these young children.
Approach number two is to share all that I experienced in the 1960s as a five year old in kindergarten. Unfortunately, this is not a memory I want to share with my students. I remember crying often, and my father coming to the school to pick me up early from half-day kindergarten!
Approach number three is to actively engage the students in reenacting the 1950s. After careful consideration, a Sock Hop it is!
Friday, October 27th was a our 50th Day of School. Each day during Morning Meeting, we add another straw to our counting chart, and then every tenth day we bundle the straws. By the 40th day of school the excitement in the classroom had begun growing. The countdown was on to our 50th day celebration. The children had no idea what to expect; they only knew that because of my enthusiasm it must be something wonderful!
Finally, the 50th day arrived! All the kindergarteners and their teachers came to school dressed in authentic attire from the 1950s.
The day was filled with ten centers that the students rotated through every ten minutes. The fun and engaging centers were: bubble blowing and hula hoops, an assortment of toys from the 1950s, pin the tail on the poodle, a waiter’s race, car racing, root beer float making, bubble gum chewing with an attempt to blow a bubble while playing BINGO, cup stacking, clothes pin drop in a glass milk bottle, and an authentic photo booth! The children had a blast, all while learning about life in the 1950s! Our celebration ended with all students and teachers doing the classic hand jive.
The day ended, but the memories will live on in our minds for years to come. We may not remember every detail of that day, but the pictures tell the story. We can see the smiles on all the faces and know in our hearts that kindergarten at St. Paul’s School is full of “love and learning.”
Each quarter, Middle School students enrolled in the Journalism Elective will have the opportunity to write fun and informative articles that will run in both the St. Paul's Gazette, and the Visalia Times-Delta newspaper! Under guidance of St. Paul's faculty, this is a great opportunity to learn about Journalism best practices, researching, writing for a public audience, and taking supporting photographs! Students will also receive in-class guidance and critique from the staff of the Visalia Times-Delta.
2016/2017 St. Paul's Gazette
Students tour the Visalia Times-Delta newspaper facility and meet with Journalists and Reporters.
Many studies show the relationship between small classes and academic achievement. Although "large" vs "small" are terms relative to area and type of class, it's important to note that class sizes at St. Paul's School range from 14-16 students. St. Paul's School is a testament to the small class achievement theory, as we proudly keep track of our students educational careers into AP classes in High School, and enrollment into Colleges throughout the country.
In an effort to leverage the huge value in small class sizes, St. Paul's School continues to enrich it's offerings. In technology, Chromebooks were added in-class for Elementary students during the 2016/17 school year, stimulating engagement and improving teacher/student connectivity. Additionally, St. Paul's will be introducing a 4H program for the 2017/18 school year; a wonderful opportunity that brings a community of young people together learning leadership, citizenship, and life skills. 4-H is about having fun, hands-on learning, exploring and discovering.
Beyond the classroom, Elementary and Middle School students have many opportunities throughout the year to connect directly with what they're learning in class to real-world experiences through field trips. These trips include destinations like Monterey Bay Aquarium, California Missions, Catalina Island, Headlands, Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks, SCICON and more.
St. Paul's School is Enrolling now for K-8th, and tours can be arranged by calling the school directly at 559.739.1619, or using our online form found here: Visit SPS