Teachers Are the Most Important Part
As I write, we are about two months into the new school year, and so many amazing things are happening in classrooms here at Groton Community School. Children are making new friends and learning new routines. They are stretching their imaginations and growing their vocabularies with hands-on play and wonderful literacy opportunities. There is so much creativity and curiosity, and the children are eager to explore everything around them. As this happens, our teachers are guiding them in activities designed to fuel their love for learning.
In fact, it is these teachers who have the most profound impact on the children’s early school experiences, setting them up and paving the way for future academic success. “In an effective (preschool) classroom, the first thing you would see would be a lot of activity that is organized and directed by the teacher and a lot of engagement on the part of the kids,” says Dr. Robert C. Pianta, a nationally recognized early childhood education expert and Dean of the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia. “It would be a classroom in which it is very evident the kids like what they’re doing, there’s a level of energy, and the teacher is engaged with the children – not just with the group, but also with each individual child – moving around the room, involved with conversation, stretching them along.” Dr. Pianta continues, “Far and away, teachers and their actions account for the majority of students’ achievement gains in early learning.”
At GCS we are fortunate to have some of the best early childhood educators in our field. With an unmatched longevity, one third of our teaching team has been with the school for more than twenty years. Another thirty percent have taught at GCS for more than a decade. This school year Jennie Fitzkee, Head Teacher in our Full-Day classroom, is celebrating thirty-five years of teaching at GCS. Jennie shares in one of her blog posts, “In the classroom, I pay attention to the little things, how children behave and respond to what is happening. My continuous personal goal is ‘to become one with a child’, to forget that self-imposed teacher/child wall and develop a close relationship of understanding so learning can happen.” Jennie’s passion for connecting with children is exactly what Dr. Pianta writes about. This effort to engage with every child in a meaningful way can be seen across our entire staff community and is a secret to our success.
With staff salaries, benefits and professional development accounting for 86% of our operating budget, when you make a gift to GCS’s Annual Fund, you are investing in the teachers that make an extraordinary early school experience possible for the greater Groton community’s young children. And as we know, teachers are the most important part of that experience.
Thank you for your continued support.
Linda Kosinski, Director