WESTFIELD, NJ -- Making the transition from Kindergarten to first grade can be an adjustment for many children. It is a time when children start to more formally move to a more structured academic day, and for many it may be the first time when they are in school for a full day.
Holy Trinity School recognizes how important this transition can be for children and how it can be an experience that influences how much a child may enjoy his or her academic experience. The school prides itself in creating an environment that enables students to not only adjust to this type of environment but also one where children receive a personalized and faith-based educational experience. The structure and environment at Holy Trinity enables teachers to more readily use innovative and creative teaching methods into day-to-day activities – taking students beyond the standard core curriculum.
Whether it was in math, reading, science, handwriting, or social studies, first graders have had an opportunity to embrace foundational concepts in a fun way. For example, as part of their Social Studies curriculum, first graders had an opportunity to travel the world. Teachers recognized that students can easily confuse continents, countries, and states. Thus, they got creative and used their class size, structure, and resources to their advantage to take the children on a journey around the world.
In the full class setting, teachers taught students about maps, discussed interesting facts about each continent, and highlighted the difference between continents and countries. The classroom was divided into seven sections, and students had an opportunity to visit each “continent” to explore and learn fun facts. They learned about a country using both technology and classroom resources. As students rotated through each station’s activities, the students wrote about their favorite facts.
“Our classes and environment enable us to go beyond the standard academic curriculum and infuse new and creative ways of teaching elementary school students. Students were able to immerse themselves into each continent and country, while also having fun at the same time,” said Clare Trelease, Holy Trinity first grade teacher.
“I really liked first grade. We did some really cool projects. I hope second grade is as fun as first grade!” said, Ryan, a current first grade student.
This Social Studies example is just one of many that teachers at Holy Trinity have used this year to help those entering the structured learning environment to not only want to learn but to excel at learning. In addition to the academic curriculum, all students attend Mass regularly and have an opportunity to play school sports and participate in extracurricular activities such as chess, robotics, basketball, and track. Holy Trinity invests in the whole self by teaching children to live spiritually and encouraging them to reach their full potential.