The Sycamore School: Inaugural Kindergarten Opening August 2016
Playing to learn, and learning for life! Creating a holistic, research-based early-childhood educational option for the children of our neighborhood.
Shelby County has the highest dropout rate in Tennessee, and our school system is still struggling with far-reaching after effects of segregated education, and failed attempts at real integration. How do we even begin to address the need of our children? Research gives hope: academic achievement, relationship stability, and even health in adolescents and young adults is linked more strongly to the social and emotional skills developed from age to 3 and 7 than almost every other factor! These emotional and social skills empower young children, especially those from difficult backgrounds, to overcome the adversity and stress in their lives so they can succeed. At The Sycamore School, we believe that all children deserve to learn these skills, so we have a commitment to a school community that reflects the ethnic and socioeconomic diversity of our neighborhoods.
The proven and most natural ways for young children to develop these skills is through play-based, hands-on learning activities. Through play, young children practice real-life scenarios and problem-solve with each other in ways that prepare them for real-life. Additionally, children connect and internalize knowledge they’ve discovered through their own explorations far more than when they read it on a screen or in a textbook. We believe children can have time to be children: play, explore, pretend, and be learning all the while.
-Recruit 16 students and families for our kindergarten class. We are dedicated to a school community that reflects our neighborhood’s ethnic and socioeconomic diversity. (May)
-Interview, hire, and train a passionate, experienced, and licensed teacher (May-June)
-Research and purchase or develop curriculum that focuses on executive function
-Buy materials and set up classroom space (June-July)
-Welcome our new families! (first day of school August 8th)
why we’re doing it
The Sycamore School wants to give the children in our neighborhood a better start. We know that higher expectations for academics is not enough to give them a solid footing. This is why our team of teachers, parents, and neighbors wants to bring this kind of research-based, whole-child, community-centered education to our children. We want to enable parents to nurture their children’s academic, social, and emotional development. We want to honor children’s natural ways of learning. We want to show Memphis how successful play can be!