At St. James we believe that parents are in integral part of their child’s education. We are a team of school, parents and child all working together to ensure that each child develops into the best version of what God has intended for him or her. Research in the field of early childhood education also shows that meaningful family engagement in children’s early learning supports school readiness and later academic success. Parental involvement is a critical element of high-quality early care and education. As such, we seek opportunities wherever possible to invite parents into the classroom. Our Olympic project week offered the perfect forum for several parents to come and share their talents by teaching a variety of athletics to the children. From basketball, to tennis to rock climbing parents connected with the students and students had the opportunity to learn from experts and form deeper relationships with other families at St. James. Here are some of the highlights from Junior Kindergarten:
Ella Snyder (Haden’s sister) and Mom came to our classroom to teach us about the different types of gymnastics. She showed us her uniform and then used Ella Jr. (her American girl doll) to demonstrate the bars, balance beam, vault and floor routines. Ella then demonstrated her handstand and back bend in the gym with Mom’s assistance. Students then rotated between stations where they worked on walking on the balance beam with a dip move, running with speed (like before vaulting) and stretching into the table position with kicks on the mats.
Brandon Lelm (Lyla’s dad) taught us about how the sport of Basketball is played. He showed us pictures of himself as a high school and college basketball player. The children also learned about the famous Olympics basketball team, “The Dream Team” and the famous Chicago Bulls Basketball player Michael Jordan who inspired Brandon to play. He now plays basketball at St. James and lead the kids in a clinic where they learned how to dribble, pass and shoot baskets.
Jim Stephanou (Sophia’s dad) came in to share about rock climbing and also some personal experiences. Jim actually used to teach a park district class on rock climbing where a group of kids would go to Wisconsin, where he would teach them to climb for the day. He brought in some equipment and demonstrated how to use it. He also brought pictures in from prior mountaineering trips.
Brian Wu (Blake’s dad), a tennis pro, taught students about the game of tennis. Students participated in a variety of drills and activities to experience and learn more about the sport.
First Olympics and Greece
Melissa Madias (Nico’s mom) discussed the beginnings of the Olympics and what types of competitions they had and showed some pictures/drawings of the stadium where the first Olympics took place. She also talked about the olive branch crown (Kotinos) given to winners and passed one out to each child.