- Written by Andrea Fanjoy, Assistant Head of Academics at Kingsway College School
Who would win a footrace between an iPad-controlled robot on wheels, named Dash, and a rubber snake?
This is the question posed to me by two students in senior kindergarten at Kingsway College School, a Pre-K to Grade 8 independent school in Toronto’s west end (Royal York & Dundas). The students were setting up a race track to test this theory and I watched as they set different finish lines for each competitor. Dash had further to go than the snake. The race ended in a tie.
This story is a tribute to the imagination of children. In the Reggio-inspired Early Learning Program at KCS, students learn in an environment that inspires imaginations, and provides the time to see where imaginations can go. A Reggio-inspired kindergarten program nurtures that imagination with three ‘teachers’: the teacher-as-facilitator, the learning environment, and the children themselves. Lengthy periods in which students learn in centres, and the opportunity to pursue ideas for days or weeks at a time, allow children to exercise critical and creative thinking skills, problem-solving skills, conflict resolution, leadership and more. Along the way, imaginations are exciting vehicles for exercising knowledge and skills.
Teachers nurture learning by intentionally selecting resources and by building skills in literacy, numeracy, inquiry, the arts, and yes, even coding, so students have tools with which to write stories, measure race tracks, create artwork, and explore the world around them. ‘Provocations’ from nature in our Outdoor Classroom, field trips, visits from their older Learning Buddies, special guests and events, collaborations with their peers, and insights from their teachers bring complexity to their play, further enriching their student-driven learning.
Children, their imaginations, loving teachers, intentional skill development, and the right environment make for a powerful start to a lifelong learning journey. This is how we prepare students for lives with unimaginable possibilities.