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Jan 31, 2017

Rumson Kindergartners Ignite Exploration

Rumson School District kindergartners took part in a project to explore of the important roles of community helpers, including policemen, firefighters, mailmen, doctors, nurses, teachers, and the oh-so-popular veterinarians. While the teachers helped to guide and facilitate, the students worked independently to search for answers to questions they created on their own.

After choosing the community helpers to research, the students gathered the resources to use for their study. The teachers coached the students, finding books and online resources, helping them stretch their ideas and reflections. Students liked that they chose which helper they could research and what type of information they wanted to learn. One student said, “What I said mattered when I was finding out about teachers. I got to say what I wanted to know.”

“These student-driven projects allow students the freedom to actively explore their interests. They are engaged in research to find answers to questions they have developed. Students excel in a learning environment full of inquiry and they enthusiastically discovered the skills and jobs of their community helpers,” stated Ms. Feeney.

Students thoroughly enjoyed investigating. When interest levels rise, learning increases. Students’ retention of material strengthens with these types of projects. Students wrote letters to their community helpers and many of them received letters back, which made the learning more personal.

Finally, the teachers and students discussed additional ways to enhance their learning. Teachers suggested bringing community helpers into the classrooms and students said they could create the work spaces out of boxes. Both are great ideas for next year’s Community Helper project.