The Ignacio Cruz and School 7 Early Childhood Centers in Perth Amboy follow The Creative Curriculum Program. This framework rests upon research-based theory and developmentally appropriate practice to address students’ social emotional, physical, cognitive, and language development. Classroom interest areas provide hands-on opportunities for teaching and learning within a context that provides for the growth and development of the ‘whole child’.
Professional Learning Communities (PLC’s) worked together throughout the school year to ensure school goals were met. Instructional rounds are held through the school year to provide an opportunity for staff to share and learn from each other.
For the 2015-2016 school year Ignacio Cruz Early Childhood Center housed 38 preschool classes. Twenty were four-year-old classes, 16 were three-year-old classes, and two were preschool disabled classrooms. Ten of our classrooms were dual language (Spanish and English) and sixteen classrooms were inclusion settings. At School 7 Early Childhood Center, there were two four-year-old classes, four three-year-old classes, and eight multi-age classrooms. Four of the classrooms were dual language and one classroom was an inclusion setting.
Teaching Strategies Gold continues to be our primary source for documenting and assessing student learning. At Ignacio Cruz, one of our goals in 2015-216 was to improve the students’ emergent reading skills. Based on the final data, 97% of the students showed growth in this area. A second goal was to enhance students’ abilities to engage in conversations, and based on the final data, 99% of the students showed growth in this area. At School 7, one of our goals for students was to establish and sustain positive relationships. Based on the final data, 85% of the students showed growth in this area. The second goal at School 7 was to improve students’ abilities to engage in conversations and 86% of the students showed growth in this area.
Students are assessed using the Early Childhood Environmental Rating Scale (ECERS) and the Teaching Pyramid Observation Tool (TPOT) throughout the school year. The results of ECERS show our classrooms reflect positive and effect learning environments for our students.
At Ignacio Cruz and School 7, a variety of activities are planned for students during the course of the school year. During “Week of Respect” students wear their favorite character and color shirt and discuss recycling. In February, a Friendship Dance is held during the school day.
Parental involvement is always a priority. Several family reading and craft nights are held. In December the students perform winter and holiday songs for the parents. A Saturday morning breakfast with "The Cat in the Hat" brings many families to the Cruz School in March. In addition, all teachers conduct activities in classrooms to welcome and involve parents including family feasts and cultural luncheons. Learning celebrations are often held at the conclusion of a study and families are invited in so that students can demonstrate they learned. In these study celebrations, students lead activities that relate to all content areas.
The "Week of the Young Child" is a great success each year. Various activities are held during the week that includes a Family Open House, Pajama Day, Science Night, a classroom pairing activity, and a musical performance. At the end of the school year, a Carnival Week includes activities such as Splash Day, Movie Day, Magic Show, face painting, carnival games and jump houses
The students at Ignacio Cruz and School 7 have a positive learning experience in a year filled with fun and learning.