Friday, June 27, 2014

Choose the Best Preschools for Your Children

Pre-schools play an extremely significant role in imparting the basics of education to your children. Due to this reason, you need to be extremely sure while enrolling your child into a new preschool. Seneca Academy a Preschool in Maryland is one of the best schools where your kids can grasp an insight about various subjects, alphabets and letters in a entertaining and pleasurable manner.

The teachers here are tremendously open to new ideas and they the kids decide on new subjects to learn.  Our teachers take care of your children with paramount care, thereby making sure that they grasp the importance of what is being taught in our school.

The best preschools have some innovative games and programs that are used while teaching the kids. So, your little one gradually get to know about the basics of alphabets and the number system with some fun and interactive programs structured by our school’s curriculum.

You can choose us as the best preschool option in Montgomery County MD, where your kids will enjoy some ground-breaking educational programs. Our school also manages sports programs and we make sure that your children are absolutely ready to start their school life. Choosing a viable preschool will let your kids obtain the basics of assorted subjects with a thirst for knowledge and intellectual growth rate. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

All about Private Schools in Montgomery Country

Seneca AcademyIf you have been considering one of the private schools in Montgomery County Maryland for your child, then you are already taking a positive step for his future. There are schools like Seneca Academy ( that have all the amenities and educational options your children need. Besides that, the teachers of these schools are veteran educators to impart the approved curriclum for their success in life.

One of the most beneficial features of our school is the small class sizes. Our school has a maximum class size of 12-15 students. So, the teachers can give more than enough attention to each of the students and help them with the focused education they deserve.

Seneca Academy
The teachers of our school are highly competent with rich and diverse experience of teaching children of all ages. So, be it any issue or subject that your child wants to be acquainted with, our teachers will offer an environment conducive for learning, expression and fun. Here, the teachers give proper consideration to each child in the classroom, thereby helping them appreciate learning.

We are one of the private international baccalaureate schools in MD that has classrooms operational with the best audio-video technologies. So, your children's learning experience about various subjects effectively increases up with our innovative classrooms. Enroll your child in our private school and let them take pleasure in an enriching experience of learning and growth. 

Saturday, May 24, 2014

International Baccalaureate in an Independent Elementary School (Part 2) - Inquiry

Independent Elementary School
Seneca Academy has been an authorized International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program World School since October 2012. However, we started implementing the IB PYP in the spring of 2009. While much of the philosophy and teaching methods promoted by the PYP are very similar to what Seneca Academy (and formerly, The Circle School) has always implemented, there have been some areas where we needed to learn new ways of doing things. One area where we have significantly enriched our practice has been in the implementation of inquiry teaching and learning.

Inquiry is so much more than just asking questions! Of course, in order to fully engage in in-depth inquiry, students need to be able to ask meaningful, relevant and significant questions. We teach them the art of questioning the moment they step into our preschool. The full inquiry process takes questioning farther though, to lead to hypothesis, investigation, and action. Rather than teachers telling or demonstrating the change process to students, they invite them to make meaning themselves of what they observe. Therefore, when fully engaged in inquiry, students take on at least some responsibility for their learning and for how they use their new knowledge. Our current preschool 4’s unit of inquiry focusing on life cycles of plants, animals and insects is one of the ways we get our young students engaged in inquiry. This opportunity is also going on in kindergarten where our students are observing and recording (in various ways) what is happening to fertilized eggs in an incubator.
International Baccalaureate One of my favorite recent examples of a teacher guiding the inquiry process happened in 3rd grade. These students were beginning a unit on societal organizations where the central idea was “People organize themselves to meet societal needs.” They class had discussed various groups such as the Red Cross, The United Nations, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, etc.

They happened to come across an article in Scholastic News about an elementary student in Pennsylvania who created a “Buddy Bench” for his school’s playground. Our 3rd graders were fascinated by this idea and asked to create one for Seneca Academy. They wrote a formal proposal to me, outlining the purpose of the Buddy Bench, where they would purchase it, and how they would raise money to fund the project. They used their negotiating skills as they worked together to brainstorm fund raising possibilities, their visual presenting skills when they created posters to advertise their project, and their oral presenting skills when they presented the concept to the whole school.

private school in montgomery county
They came up with a design for the painting of the bench and a logo of their “organization” (H.E.L. P. – Helping Encourages Loving People) to put on the bench as well. They wrote me another formal request after the bench was completed, asking me to allow them to present their bench to the community during a morning assembly, and if I would preside over a ribbon cutting. I am confident that the life skills and conceptual knowledge these 8 and 9 year old students learned through this project that they managed themselves will last for many years to come.

What should students know and be able to do when they leave elementary school? I think the variety of skills gained through the inquiry process provide the foundation for a life of meaningful learning.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

International Baccalaureate in an Independent Elementary School (Part 1)

International Baccalaureate in an Independent Elementary School
Did you know that Seneca Academy is the only preschool/elementary school in Montgomery County MD that is an authorized International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program World School? It amazes  me actually, as the Primary Years Program (PYP) combines teaching and learning practices that are  so wonderful for kids. I would think every school would want to offer it! Many people know of the  International Baccalaureate (IB) at the high school level, where it is a rigorous college-prep curriculum akin to the AP programs. Not many know that the IB offers 4 different programs: the PYP at the preschool and elementary level is one of them.

Seneca Academy has been an authorized IB/PYP school for 2 years now. We decided to align ourselves with the IB not only because it is a prestigious organization that is connected by a network of distinguished educators around the world, but because it provides us with support in offering research-proven, best-practices in education. With the PYP focus, we are ensuring that learning experiences are developmentally relevant and meaningful (i.e. students at each level are doing work that makes sense to them and is interesting), teaching is engaging and promotes inquiry (i.e. students are active learners and are taught and encouraged to ask significant questions), the curriculum provides opportunities for depth of learning as well as breadth (i.e. students have time to deeply explore concepts rather than merely “skimming the surface”), and learning is in a global context (i.e. students are learning about concepts and issues that are relevant around the world). While none of these characteristics is by itself unique in preschool and elementary schools, with the PYP all of these “best practices” are utilized together.

International Baccalaureate in an Independent Elementary School
While implementing the PYP hasn’t dramatically changed the milieu at Seneca Academy, where we have provided an engaging, nurturing and hands-on learning environment for students for 30 years (since our early days when we were The Circle School), it has enhanced our teaching practices. We find that our students are better able to exhibit their understanding of the concepts we teach and the connections between them. They are better communicators verbally, in writing, and with visual presentations. Perhaps most importantly, students are now better able to translate their knowledge into action, a primary tenet of the PYP. Isn’t that what we want our students to demonstrate after our lessons? Not just that they have knowledge, but that they know what to do with that knowledge? That is what an IB/PYP school such as Seneca Academy provides.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Private Elementary Schools In Montgomery County - Contract Season

Private Schools In Montgomery County
It is employment contract season here at Seneca Academy, and I have been spending my days pouring over numbers and details regarding our faculty and staff. At this time of year, I am always struck by the depth of experience in our collective faculty.

Seneca Academy teachers have not only been in the profession for decades, we have incredible longevity here at Seneca Academy. What is most wonderful for me as an administrator is that these folks have such experience, but are not stagnant in their work. Rather than teach the same things the same way year after year, faculty members work to learn current thinking in “best practices” and to improve where it is needed. They truly embody the International Baccalaureate attributes of “thinkers,” “risk-takers,” and “inquirers,”and the attitudes of “curiosity,” “commitment,” and “enthusiasm.” I am working now on identifying the professional development activities we will support for next year, and I have so many people who want to participate!

Role modeling lifelong learning is a key aspect of our work here. So is sharing our knowledge with others. Our teachers are stepping up to this more and more. We have faculty members who serve on our Board of Trustees. We have several people who have or will serve on AIMS’s visiting accreditation teams, evaluating other schools. We have a teacher who serves on an IB evaluation team, also evaluating other schools. Our teachers are not just communicating and sharing their experience here at Seneca Academy, they are contributing to the wider community.Private Elementarty Schools In Montgomery County

It is my hope that we will continue these efforts, and that many more of our experienced educators
will share their knowledge. To that end, we are setting up opportunities in early May for parents and others to come in to Seneca Academy and talk with our teachers about best practices in early childhood and elementary education. Stay tuned for more details!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Kindergarten should be developmentally appropriate - Private Kindergarten in MD

Private Kindergarten in MD

 This article in the Washington Post made me so sad! A kindergarten teacher quit after years of joyous teaching because of the unreasonable demands being made upon her and her students.

Private Kindergarten in MD
Seneca Academy was founded on the belief that educational programs need to pay attention to the developmental stages and needs of children. We pay close attention to the cognitive, physical, social and emotional levels of each class and build our programming to ensure that students will be successful. We set high achievement standards for each of our students, but ones that are attainable. This is one of the reasons we don't see the outrageous behavior at Seneca Academy that is described in the article.

Peek into our kindergarten class and you will see students actively engaged in meaningful work (reading, writing, art projects, building, listening, planning, presenting, discussing, etc.) that enables them to gain important and foundational knowledge, while practicing thinking and problem solving skills. While there are 2 teachers in the classroom, students are often doing independent or small group work. There is rarely "mis-behavior," as all children know what is expected of them, and they work to meet expectations. Their work is displayed proudly around the room, and demonstrates a high level of conceptual knowledge and ability.

Private Kindergarten in MD
And 9 times out of 10, you'll see the kindergarten teachers smiling. :)

Seneca Academy
15601 Germantown Road
Darnestown, Maryland 20874
Phone: (301) 869-3728
Fax: (301) 869-3348

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff Especially In a MD Private Kindergarten !

Whew! It has been quite a January 2014!! We’ve had a lot going on around here at Seneca Academy, and not all of it positive. We started the month with a sprinkler pipe leak, followed by cancelled and delayed school openings due to snow, and then our primary communication system for letting folks know about delays and cancellations was unreliable! It was enough to make anyone frustrated!!

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff Especially In a MD Private Kindergarten !
I usually do not get stressed-out very easily, but I have found myself irritated recently by these unexpected twists and turns life has presented. Then I read this article “Why We Shouldn’t Sweat The Small Stuff” and it reminded me why it is important to focus on what is positive. The article not only describes how the brains of “even-keeled,” less stressed folks are different from those who frequently become stressed over little things, it offers helpful suggestions for how to respond to life’s trials and tribulations in a calmer way.

I think the practice of calming oneself in the face of stressful situations is particularly important for us as parents. For starters, our stress levels directly impact our children’s stress levels. When we “freak out” or get heated about something trivial, like traffic or weather, this signals to our children that they should feel stressed too. As the article mentions, this raises their cortisol levels, which over time can have all kinds of negative effects.  Secondly, our children model our behavior, whether we like it or not! So if we present them with parents who are constantly stressed-out during daily routines, the likelihood that they will become stressed-out adults is increased. How much better would it be if we helped our children to maintain a calm outlook on life, thus reducing the levels of cortisol rushing through them on a daily basis, and provide them with models of how a calm, cool collected adult life might look like?

I know I’ll be working on some of the strategies mentioned in the article, such as re-framing circumstances, focusing on the present, and embracing optimism- especially in front of my kids! For example, we got new carpeting because of our sprinkler leak; I was able to get a lot of things accomplished at home during our snow day; we are improving other forms of communication to replace the unreliable one; and I love snow anyway!! 

What do you all do to maintain calm in the face of your daily storms?

Seneca Academy
15601 Germantown Road
Darnestown, Maryland 20874
Phone: (301) 869-3728
Fax: (301) 869-3348