News Release: HAMILTON, Bermuda – A new class of students will chart the course of their own education, beginning at the tender age of four.
The Early Learning Program (ELP) at Mount Saint Agnes Academy (MSA) is a play-based, child-centric programme that allows the students to determine the topics of study based on their own interests. With one teacher for every ten children and a maximum of twenty children in the sole class, the teachers are well-positioned to build a rapport with each student and tailor the teaching content while meeting the curriculum objectives.
The students are active in their learning, participating in hands-on, sensory-based projects. There are provocations around the classroom where the students explore a variety of materials and learning experiences.
While many preschool programmes focus on products, or what the students produce in class, ELP is places a strong emphasis on the process. The teachers document each step of the journey as students think, solve problems, explore concepts, and express themselves using their “100 languages”.
“Documentation is central to our work,” explained ELP teacher, Kristina Amaro. “The classroom becomes a gallery of the children’s products and there is documentation next to each piece that describes the process involved in producing the work. We can then use the products as a form of assessment for the students.”
The focus on interaction and engagement transitions into the Kindergarten program, which consists of two classes of up to twenty students each.
“Using the Reggio Emilia approach, we put emphasis on the ‘languages’ of children,” stated Kindergarten teacher, Susana Pimentel. “Some language is verbal, but there are many other forms of expression. Sometimes the students will use clay, paint, water, buttons—there’s no limit to their creativity.”
Allowing the students to guide the areas of learning means that teachers must remain agile and flexible throughout the year.
“No two children are alike and certainly no two classes are alike,” stated Kindergarten teacher, Christina Camara. “We start fresh with each new class, adding to the classrooms to reflect that cohort of students. There is such joy and excitement on their faces when they join our class.”
Ms Pimentel emphasized: “We have to be flexible enough to tailor our teaching to each individual child. We assess all the children when they start to see what they need; where are they in relation to their grade level? Then we match concepts with their topics of interest and give them the freedom to partake in different activities in between their one-on-one sessions with us.”
The Early Learning Program fills quickly, so interested parents are encouraged to register as soon as possible. Kindergarten applications are accepted in the fall for the following school year. For more information, please visit msa.bm.
Mount Saint Agnes Academy, founded by the Sisters of Charity, has been providing excellence in private Catholic education in Bermuda since 1890 for Kindergarten to Grade 12. At MSA, we are pleased to offer the Canadian Alberta Curriculum Programs of Study at all grade levels as the basis of our programming. Alberta’s education system is recognised internationally as one of the best learning systems in the world.