TOP Early Learning Center
A Contextual Analysis
Analysis of Community
The NW community of Wichita primarily consists of two races, Caucasian and Hispanic. The particular community around the school is primarily Hispanic. As I drove through the community I noticed lots of Hispanic related restaurants, markets and businesses. The community is an older community with neighborhood homes that were primarily built around the 1930's and peaking in the 1950's and 60's. Most of the homes are detached homes and are owned. Very few homes, trailers and apartments are rented in this particular area. I believe this is due to it being a older and more established community. The community itself is old and not very well maintained in certain areas. Males make a living primarily through employment related to construction, extraction and maintenance. The females are primarily employed in jobs related to sales and service. The education level of this community consists mostly of high school or less. The NW community has more families at poverty level compared to the rest of the city of Wichita as a whole. Most of the people of this particular community are friendly. I did not get to speak with very many people but a good mix of English-Spanish and only Spanish speaking from what I gather. I did not get a chance to meet or speak with anyone about the families of the children in the classroom I observe but I assume they come from primarily Hispanic homes due to the bulk of the kids being Hispanic in my particular classroom as well as school wide.
Analysis of School Building
The TOP Early Learning Center building has great curb appeal and is well maintained. The outside of the building has great landscape that is well maintained as well. The playground area in back is well organized and equipment and materials are spaced out nicely and maintained for safe play. The wall in the hallways as well as the classrooms consist of mostly artwork and projects done by the kids. It really gives it a feel of learning. I did notice that there was little to no culture related materials on the walls. As I thought more about it, I guess that you could assume the artwork is culture related because everyone draws, colors paints and interrupts things different based on what they know. The climate of the building is nice. Due to the heat outside, this is important because of the age of kids that attend. I assume in the winter time the buildings climate is adjusted accordingly as well. The faculty and staff are friendly and interact with each other and the children for the most part. I spend most of my time in a particular room and the interactions there are very friendly and respectful. The purpose of the building is to allow working families an opportunity for there children to receive daycare but to get a head start on their development and learning. I am not at this particular school for more than four hours a week so I do not get to see the parent involvement within the school itself. I do know parents are involved but not to what extent other than birthday celebrations of holiday related parties. Overall, a good feel of the building and what they do within.
Analysis of Classroom and Teacher
The classrooms themselves are very clean, well kept and organized. The particular classroom that I am in contains centers around the perimeter of the room and the group and table areas take up the center of the room. Every center is labeled and all the shelves are labeled to what they contain. Everything is labeled in English but all the children speak and read English so its not an issue. The teacher speaks Spanish on occasion to the children that can understand. The children go to library on the days I observe and the librarian speaks English and Spanish during book readings and words of the day are given in English and Spanish as well. Again, not much evidence of culturally related materials in the classroom other than the artwork and projects. Most of the materials are theme based (i.e., art, science, music, etc.). If I wanted to get really in depth than I could come up with many culturally related items but that would take some more in depth work. The teachers do read books that relate to diversity and give culturally related lessons but not that I have observed due to the short time I have with them. The classrooms are not too technologically sound. A Computer is used to teach and display learning videos on occasion but no smart boards, clickers, etc. The teachers interact with the children on all levels and seem to have built good relationships with them. Overall, a good feel of the classrooms and teachers.
Analysis of Students
The children in which I observed and spend time with are wonderful. All the children are friendly and very interactive with one another. Most of the children were very approachable and very reciprocal with me. Some of the children tested me which is very typical with all children but were able to understand that I was no different from any other staff withing the school. My particular class room contained children from ages 3 to 4 years of age. There are a total of 13 kids in this classroom and the numbers change daily. Of the 13 children, 9 are girls and 4 are boys. Of the 13 children, 12 of them are Hispanic and one is Caucasian. The 12 Hispanic children speak both English and Spanish. None of the children have any special needs mentally or physically from what I was able to observe. I do not know the level of learning in which each child is at but made observations based on who answered questions and participated in learning related activities consistently. The children all had there own interests, some were the same and some were different. One particular child loved nature and to collect things in nature. He is always collecting rocks, shells, bugs, sticks, etc., when outdoors. Overall, a great bunch of kids.