Steaming Into Another Brilliant Year
In preparation for the academic year, which started last week, teachers participated in an Orientation Week planned and delivered by the School Academic Leadership Team. Vice Principals and Coordinators shared their goals for the upcoming school year and recommitted to YCIS Beijing’s core values and principles.
The sessions reflected the hybrid method of learning with new and returning teachers attending sessions at our Honglingjin campus or online if abroad.
In ECE the orientation session kicked off with teachers playing “get-to-know-you” games where they had to guess which of the shared facts were untrue. This provided a chance for them to get to know each other better on a personal level.
Ms Sinead Earl and Ms Margaret Zhang are the newly appointed ECE Coordinators and their primary mission during orientation was first to ensure the comfort of students on their return to campus. “The focus is always on settling the children and getting relations and routines established,” Ms Earl explained.
Getting our youngest learners settled is pivotal to not only their comfort, but their learning as well. Teachers in ECE learned about the importance of ascertaining individual interests of students as the curriculum is wholly centred on the children. Ms Earl said, for example, they might establish whether kids “like to use dinosaurs to learn, or love block play, or prefer being in their own corner.” ECE educators can then build a suitable, nurturing curriculum.
Student-centred learning was underscored by Ms Jane Martuneac Kang, Primary Coordinator, who highlighted the importance of planning. Although teachers and students could not physically move as freely as before, our Learning Community students’ needs will still be met through carefully devised strategies.
Other areas of focus during orientation week included:
- Ensuring students are settled into the school environment
- Fostering collaboration and team building between teachers
- Enhancing learning and planning formats (face-to-face and eLearning) to meet students’ needs
- Enhancing parent-teacher connections by providing alternative ways for parents to interact with their children’s ongoing education
- Learning about the new epidemic prevention procedures and safeguards for the YCIS community
Although orientation was different this year due to physical distancing, teachers found the sessions highly beneficial in various ways, said Ms Ashley Parchment, Year 2 Team Leader, “This time has been a bit isolating so to be back in the building and collaborating again is invigorating.”
In addition to attending training sessions, teachers also spent time arranging their work and Learning Community spaces. In the case of Ms Alexandra Forth, a Year 1 Team Leader, it meant meeting with K4 teachers. “This was a handover meeting so we could learn about the children who are coming into Year 1 and how best to support them,” she explained.
Meetings, trainings and webinars will be ongoing throughout the school year to ensure teachers continue to enhance children’s learning experience, both online and offline. Orientation proved to be a great start to the academic year, brimming with ideas for quality education and ways to provide teachers the necessary resources and training.