Kids who love school

With a resounding and enthusiastic "Yes!" several Cayman International School early childhood students did not hold back their thrill when asked if they liked attending their new school.
Since the Early Childhood campus opening coincided with this new school year, the campus's littlest students have had notably the biggest reactions to their new space.

Isabelle, a Pre-K4 student, recounts her first day knowing she'd be going to the new school. 

"It was great. I told my mommy bye and went straight to my classroom," she said. "I didn't even cry because I was so excited about it!"

Isabelle's mom, Jess, attested to her daughter's reaction, noting that she describes her days at school with such enthusiasm. "Isabelle says she has loads of fun every day with the teachers and all of her new friends she's made."

Jess also receives a few lessons of her own from Isabelle as she willingly shares what she learns in class. "Isabelle comes home speaking new Spanish words on most days. She shows me new yoga poses, explains her activities in perceptual-motor class, and what she learns about feelings in social thinking."

Another student, Tanieyah, was quite passionate about her experience at Cayman International School."It's making my life so awesome!" she said. 

"We get to make paintings, and there’s purple sand, and Play-Doh, and even flubber, which is so much fun because we get to play with them."

A classroom of possibilities

Pre-K3 student and dinosaur fan, Benedict, at first had a hard time deciding what he liked most about his new classroom.

"I love everything in my class!" he said, but quickly zeroed in on his favourite area. "Oh, and the toy area. There are a lot of dinosaurs to play with."

Classrooms are divided into various areas for the students to engage in fun and learning with the provided materials. These areas include a toy area — Benedict's personal favourite — as well as areas for art, blocks and books. There's also a texture table area and a house area.

The art area is another high-interest zone, as the students enjoy being able to embrace their inner artist and get creative. Kashi, Liam and Claire, all Pre-K4 students, said that art is one of the best parts of their day.

"I really like the art area because I like making pictures and glueing sequins on them," said Kashi. 

"We get to make paper planes and I make pictures of flowers to give to Miss Alyssa," said Liam, referring to his teacher. 

"I like to make pictures of bunnies and Miss Jody helps me," said Claire.

Each classroom's art area has a variety of materials that the students can use to create a unique piece of work. Still, they are also encouraged to bring materials from different areas of the classroom to use in the art area. As such, bringing a dinosaur from the toy area, dipping its feet in paint and creating art with velociraptor tracks is a welcomed action as part of their learning. These activities are initiated by the students with the teachers there to facilitate and guide them.

A lesson in having fun

Each student may have his or her favourite element, but they all share one main sentiment about their school: They have fun.

Early Childhood Programme Coordinator Anna Haydon said it is essential for children to enjoy the process of learning for it to have the most impact. 

"It is incredibly important to dive deeper into topics that children are interested in," she said. "If there’s a strong connection between what children are interested in and what happens in the classroom, then the more meaningful [the lessons] are for the children.”

Haydon said the school’s HighScope Curriculum fosters a classroom community that encourages students to construct their own knowledge, with the support of intentional teachers. 

Parents such as Claire's mom, Cindy, are impressed with how students are engaged with unique learning opportunities, and how the teachers take cues from their interests.

"The new high school's construction piqued the kids' interest," she said. "So, now Claire is learning about the different construction vehicles. She was even able to make her very own concrete tile, which was a highlight of her week."

In addition to the new early childhood campus, a new high school campus is scheduled to open in 2020. Together, these two new facilities will almost double the capacity of Cayman International School at a time when there is increasing demand for school openings.

Applications for the current school year and next year are being accepted for all grade levels from nursery to Grade 12. For more information, visit www.caymaninternationalschool.org.

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