Teacher Spotlight

Nichole Stinger and Team

Beginning Steps in Education

Nichole Stinger, preschool teacher at EPES, is teaching students the first steps they need to be successful in adult life. There are many research studies that confirm a positive correlation between participating in a preschool program and success in adult life. Furthermore, the Perry Study confirms how that success travels through the generations citing the success of the children of adults who participated in preschool programs. That is why EPSD has put forth efforts to expand our preschool program this year, and Nichole Stinger and her team of paraprofessionals are doing a phenomenal job. There are so many highlights to share from the morning I spent in the preschool classroom.
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Physical, Social, and Emotional Awareness

Upon entering the room, children began to gather around the carpet at the front of the room to begin their day. Many students were overflowing with excitement, so Mrs. Stinger led the class through some breathing exercises to calm them and raise their level of awareness. Once everyone was focused and ready, they began going through the daily routine with ease. They began by counting the days on the calendar until they landed on today. Students are selected for different jobs for the morning routine such as writing the day of the week, writing the number of the day of the month, reporting the season, reporting the weather, etc. When the class is done with the morning routine, Ms. Stinger leads them through some dancing that gets their bodies moving as students work on their physical awareness, spacial awareness, and mobility. The high level of collaboration between Ms. Stinger and her team of paraprofessionals is evident and allows for a seamless flow to the day.

The Exceptional Team of Paraprofessionals

Culturally Responsive Teaching

Ms. Stinger and her team are hyper-aware of all the needs of each of their students. They also go above and beyond to meet the needs of their students. There are a large number of Spanish-speaking students in the pre-school class, so she and her staff are enrolled in Spanish class once a week after school to learn more Spanish in order to communicate better with their students. While the class went over the morning routine, they counted the numbers together in English and then in Spanish. When a student shared that Thursday is the day of the week, Ms. Stinger repeated, "Yes, Jueves". When she invited the students to sit on the carpet she said, "come sit down please" followed by, "siƩntese por favor". The fact that her staff is learning a new language to meet the needs of their students shows the dedication of Ms. Stinger and her staff.
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While the students were dancing, Ms. Gaskill was hiding 20 hearts throughout the room for students to find. In the spirit of Valentine's Day, Ms. Stinger explained to students that there were 20 hearts or corazones hiding around the room, so each student needed to find two hearts. Together they have to work to bring all 20 hearts back to the carpet. "Caminar" she says, "walk please". The students spread throughout the room and bring back hearts to the carpet. Each heart was labeled with a number between 1 and 20. The students had to identify the numbers they had on the hearts they collected, and then work as a team to put them in order. Students helped each other identify the numbers they had, and working together as a team they put the numbers in order. "Oh no!" a student proclaimed, "We don't have 19 and 20!" Off they went to find numbers 19 and 20 in the room. The students cheered when they found the final numbers and one student asked, "Can we play that again?"

Critical Thinking and Problem Solving

The students split up into centers to do some critical thinking and problem solving with patterns, shapes, and letters. Ms. Stinger and her staff each took a group of students.

At the writing and drawing station, Mrs. Ward supports students with drawing the letter "K" students struggle and some say, "I can' do it", but she encourages them and students are able to persevere and draw the letter on their own. They identify objects that begin with the letter K and draw those objects in their writing journal.

At the station with Ms. Gaskill and Mrs. Campagnola students create and identify shapes using Goeboards. The teachers challenge the students to create new shapes and modify them.

At the pattern station, Ms. Stinger challenges students to use conversation hearts to create a pattern and share the patterns they make with each other.

These critical thinking and problem solving skills, as well as the perseverance skills, that the exceptional staff is teaching our preschool students will set them up for success in Kindergarten next year, and as adults.

Thank you Ms. Stinger and Staff!

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