This blog is a challenge for me. I promised José to write this in English. I hope that this blog will help the Staff of Castle Bridge to reflect on their work.
Today our group visited Castle Bridge in New York (School website). This school provides education to children with different backgrounds (poverty, family members in jail, disablities, bi-langual…). As visitors we immediately were aware of the safe environment this school provides to everyone. Leave your trouble behind and learn with us. It was clear that the CES common principle ‘democracy and equity’ is first priority in this school. We felt a warm welcome for everyone.
The Monday started with singing together. Children, parents, teachers and visitors sang songs in English and Spanish. Not just to sing, but as a way to connect to each other and as a way to learn about cooperation. A great way to start a week!
Another CES common principle that we experienced was ‘learning to use one’s mind well’. Children were challenged to think and use their minds. Teachers didn’t provide the answers to question and didn’t provide knowledge. They helped the children to search for the answers, to ask more questions, to say their thoughts out loud.
Our visit raised a lot of questions in our group. How do teachers know that children meet the goals? How do teachers differentiate (especially for children that learn easy)? How do children demonstrate what they know? How do teachers know that what they are doing is effective and efficient? We are curious to see more at the Neighborhood school tomorrow.