Last week, McBride Elementary primary teachers made a pitch for the five strands of the primary program and the power of play to the school’s parent community.
Over the years, primary teachers in Vancouver have based their best practice on the principles of the Primary Program. The five strands of the Primary Program are intellectual, aesthetic/artistic, physical, socio-emotional development and social responsibility, which provide a foundation for the development of a happy, healthy, contributing member of society.
“There’s more to learning than just the ABCs,” says Christy Wong, a Kindergarten teacher at McBride. “While academics are important, it is equally necessary for students to develop in all areas. One does not supersede the other; they are interconnected and interdependent.”
Wong and fellow primary teachers say there is frequently a disconnect among parents when it comes to the importance of play in learning. While research only reinforces their point, they still have parents who come to them asking for more math or spelling homework to be sent home. McBride’s primary teachers try to show the parents that there is more to learning than memorization and instead provide a range of educational games and learning ideas for parents to practice with their little ones.
“Overall, humans are social beings,” says Karen Young, a primary resource teacher at McBride. "Hands-on learning really brings concepts alive for children by guiding and providing the opportunities to explore, to experience and to experiment."
On the evening of Thursday, September 20th, the teachers brought this message to their parent community as part of the school’s Meet the Teacher Night. During the evening, the school’s primary team including Christy Wong, Karen Young, Louise Seto, Viktoriya Shudra, Kecia Boecking, Grace Schenkeveld, Sue Roberts, Manuela Friesen and Linda Bierbrier connected with many parents, some who hail from countries with dramatically different education systems. School principal, Parin Morgan was pleased with the turnout of more than 100 parents. One parent let the teachers know that their Meet the Teacher Night was the best she'd ever attended.
In addition, the school plans to hold a series of coffee mornings with district Multicultural Workers to ensure language will not be an obstacle when discussing and answering questions concerning primary pedagogy and curriculum. The multi-cultural mini meetings will be held in Tagalog, Vietnamese and the Chinese languages. Later in the year, the teachers will also host a number of workshops to promote understanding and to demonstrate the practices used in the primary program.