Parent education is an important part of growing a whole child. At PACT, each family takes at least 10 hours of formal and mandatory Parent Ed when they start. Parent Ed is a fun-filled program with talks, workshops, Q&A's, games and role plays. It aims at teaching parents about appreciating the multiple intelligence and different developmental levels of students they are going to interact with, including their own child(ren) while arming them with practical tools to perform common tasks effectively on campus as well as off campus. Continued formal parent education is conducted throughout the year in evening meetings. Due to resource constraints, formal parent education at PACT is reserved for enrolled families only. PACT also encourage parents to seek self-education through community forums, informal coffees, book clubs, and so on. Here are select materials to help you understand the scope of parent education at PACT.
Learning by Doing
Stevenson PACT is not a Studio School. (If Studio Schools sound foreign to you, that's because they are. Watch the short intro video below to find out.) While Studio Schools target 14-19 years-olds, PACT is a K-5 school. While 80% of learning in Studio Schools is by doing, most of learning in PACT is still achieved in classrooms. And so forth. But the two share some important similarities:
- Both are funded in a public education system and subject to its exit criteria
- Both view academic achievements as an important, but not the only aspect of education
- Both value learning by doing
Why? Because some people learn better this way. Children love to "do stuff." That is why PACT parents have developed so many "class plans" in gardening, cooking, etc., that integrate grade appropriate concepts and skills in math, science, language and social studies.
An important aspect of learning by doing is learning in the "real world." That is why a typical PACT class have much more offsite learning excursions than a traditional class. Real worksites, real characters, real artifacts and real problems give children a sense of purpose and nurture their habit to practice learned knowledge and skills wherever they go.
Lastly, but not the least, both do not try to be a school for every child. Come to PACT Information Presentations, speak to PACT teachers and parents, to determine if PACT is for yours.
Multiple Learning Styles
If you are afraid of an elementary school classroom that feels like one in junior college, you are not alone. At Stevenson PACT, we encourage teachers (as well as parents) to find and use innovative teaching techniques that engages multiple learning styles in children to make sure that they all "get it."
This is because all children learn differently. Some children learn better through lecture and reading. Some learn better through touch and movement. Some learn better through music and rhythm. Some learn better alone. Some learn better in groups. Not convinced? Watch this:
The secret to Mr. Alex Kajitani's success? He spends time to discover his students' learning style ("a new rap song would come out on radio on Monday, and by Tuesday they seem to have every single word memorized"), and engages with his unique personality ("finding out who you are as a teacher, being comfortable with yourself, and letting that spill out into your classroom instruction"). If music and rhythm can help high school math, shouldn't elementary classrooms have more "styles?"
PACT classrooms are like this. Each teacher (and parent assistant) strives to find what engages students, then pour his or her own talent and skills to inspire learning. That is why no two classrooms are the same at Stevenson PACT.
Game of the Month: Chaos Tag
The game of the month is a game you can play with our kids at lunch or recess. It's completely optional. Adults can choose to start a game or not. Kids can choose to join or leave at any time. Adults help the kids organize themselves in a game rather than directing kids to play. Adults can play the game as well if they choose.
Most of the older kids already know how to play Chaos Tag, but for those who don't, here's how:
Chaos tag gives children a chance to run, chase and freeze other kids. It is different from freeze tag in that everyone is “it” and not just one child. To play the game, the kids join hands and make a large circle. They drop their hands and take three giant steps backward and stop. This spreads them out and gives each child a chance to get exercise running. When someone says “start,” the children begin to run and freeze as many kids as they can before getting frozen themselves. The game ends when there is only one child left unfrozen. This games goes quickly so you can get several rounds played in a short period of time.
PACT parents and teachers have a wide range of interests, sharing news links, upcoming seminars, and parenting events. Here is a selection of items we've shared with each other through the newsgroup.
- The Secret To Getting is Giving
- Responsive Classroom
- Learn by doing
- How the hemispheres of the brain work together for reading - Developmental Approach
- What if the secret to success is "failure"?
- HowToSmile: science and math activities (garden and cooking, too!) for "informal" educators
- Uncommon Parenting
- Math Kangaroo
- Creativity and Education (YouTube)
- Mixing In Math and At Home With Math - creative ways to include math learning in daily life
- Person-centered education
- Ted Talk: Gaming to re-engage boys in learning
- Creativity-stimulating techniques used at Stanford's design school
- Khan Academy, whose mission is to provide a world-class education to anyone, anywhere.
- Long-term impact of early childhood teachers
- Encouraging creativity in our children
- Following the thread about creativity/creative thinking, here's a great clip about the origin of new ideas
- Empathy and bullying prevention
- Intel Museum free science classes
- Teach Like a Champion: 49 Techniques that Put Students on the Path to College
- University of Michigan Learning Mathematics for Teaching site
- Eco-friendly lunch boxes
- NY Times: Building A Better Teacher