Year: 2010–2011 – Province: Ontario
Certificate of Excellence Recipient
Oakville Academy for the Arts
1011 Upper Middle Road
Oakville, ON L6H 4LS
Type of Setting: Kindergarten for children aged 4 to 6 years
Entranced by the adventures of "Little Kim", children listen attentively to Kimberly Speer's stories and she listens to theirs. Amazed and engaged at every step of the way, she is truly intrigued by each child's uniqueness, identity and interests.
Philosophy of Care
Concentric circles best define Ms. Speer's approach. To her, teaching a whole child is to teach using the family and the community as partners in education. Parents, extended family, office administrator, or grocery store sales people … all are seen as teachers to Ms. Speer's children.
Support of Child Development
- Ms. Speer is able to seek out success and mastery in some nook or cranny of each child's life, handing them the opportunities to be "teacher" and to assist their peers in an activity. Some help others hold a pencil and others are better at putting on shoes – Ms. Speer is able to identify each child's strengths.
- Ms. Speer's Special Me project was born out of children's desire to have a similar experience to their siblings' Show and Share activities. Each child created a project about themselves and their uniqueness that they shared with the others in the class.
Involvement with Parents, Families and the Community
- Ms. Speer sends a Celebration Calendar home to each family so that they can record meaningful dates of special meaning, cultural or religious significance, etc. She plans celebrations and has families come in and share traditions when possible; a mom has wrapped the children in saris and another has decorated them with henna on Diwali. The children have danced to music from different cultures and tasted a variety of foods.
- Ms. Speer gets family involved whenever possible. She's had dads in to help plan a puppet theatre and produce a magic show, a grandpa's played piano for the class and a grandma's helped the children paint landscapes.
"Ms. Speer is my favorite teacher. (…) She always played fun games and she even let the class play my paper doll game that I made up at home. (…) I wish Ms. Speer could be my teacher forever. I love Ms. Speer!"
"(…) I owe Ms. Speer a debt of gratitude for re-building my daughter's confidence and teaching her that her potential is limitless."
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