"Free the child's potential, and you will transform him into the world." - Maria Montessori
Transforming children is par for the course in Title I, K to 5 school where I teach physical education.
We have one of the largest enrollments of English as a New Language Learners of any elementary school in our city. The challenges these kids face are amazing. Many are learning to speak English for the first time, even as they continue to develop and master their native tongues at home.
There are over a dozen languages and dialects represented in our school. This, along with the long hours of school and after-school program enrollments, severely limit the time available for social interactions and the formation of meaningful friendships outside of school.
In every grade, there are students with special needs. All of the children are working hard to meet our rigorous curriculum. What is more amazing than all of this, however, is the dedication these students show day in and day out as they strive to reach all of their personal, social, and academic goals.
Learning to read is tricky, especially for students who face multiple challenges to their learning processes. This is why I try to blend literacy learning with my health and physical education curriculum in the gymnasium.
Road signs are some of the first things young children learn to read independently.
They recognize the basic shape and color combinations and learn to "read" this environmental print long before they are even able to recognize letters and sounds. I want to provide my youngest learners with special needs this vital developmental experience.
Knowing that reading environmental print is a key foundation to reading more advanced language, I have selected some basic, kid-sized traffic signs to use throughout the year with my students in the gymnasium. Additionally, I am requesting a couple of balance bikes in order to incorporate some big muscle and balance development. Since so many of my students come from homes where helmet safety is either overlooked or ignored, I want to provide appropriately-sized safety helmets to be worn during cycling activities. Each month, we invite families to join us for instructional periods in the gymnasium. This family involvement will teach the children and their families the appropriate safety practices that they will continue at home. With a little help from you, we can recreate some outdoor traffic patterns and learn how to navigate them within the safety of our gymnasium and schoolyard.
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