When it comes to teaching, especially when we’re nurturing such young minds, professional development days (PDDs) are a big deal. In fact, according to the Department of Education’s Institute of Education Science, students whose teachers take part in professional development activities can have their achievement boosted by as much as 21 percentage points.
We recently had our biggest professional development event of the year: our second annual school-wide PDD. The entire Apple Montessori family – almost 500 members! – came together on one important day to improve their skills, learn new techniques, and grow as professional educators.
There is no better time for a large event like this. Our 45th anniversary celebrations brought the whole Apple community together and made us stronger than ever. We all work toward the same goal of educating our students and helping them achieve their fullest potential, and this school-wide event made everyone feel like they were doing it as part of a single team: Apple’s 45th class.
Apple’s President Joanne Mooney spoke about our school’s recognition by the prestigious Middle States Commission who commented, “The staff believes in what they do and are so very passionate. They think of Apple as an extension of their family. The team is so loving and nurturing while also being so effective at helping children become independent and self-directed at such a young age.” The Middle States Commission was also impressed by the high standards we have, how our team meets those standards, our commitment to our parent partnerships and the impressive level of safety measures integrated throughout our school system.
What Is PDD?
The world of education is always changing. Each day brings new teaching technologies and new findings in psychological and behavioral science. It’s important for teachers to keep up with these important developments so they can deliver an educational experience that is current, effective, and reflects the latest research.
PDD was packed with events and activities designed to give teachers the latest skills and help them understand and deal with the needs of their students. They’re an effective way for teachers to gain the latest teaching tools, share insights, and learn from educational leaders.
Stress Management Techniques
This year, one of our major workshops was on stress management.
Stress is a very grown-up feeling, but it doesn’t just affect the adults who feel the pressure of trying to balance full-time work with family life. Stress is now recognized as an important issue at all ages, even during the preschool and early school years. Children feel stress, too, but we also know they’re not always well equipped to handle it.
And sometimes the adult carers in their lives aren’t very well equipped to handle it, either. When faced with the challenge of caring for a child experiencing stress, adults often don’t know how to approach it and might do or say things that inadvertently encourage the child to suppress their feelings and bottle them up inside. That’s why it’s so important for teachers to be equipped with all the knowledge and skills they need to help students understand the feelings they’re going through and find healthy and positive ways to manage their stress.
Our workshop focused on seeing the humor in stressful situations and finding ways to joy even in adversity and difficulty. It gave Apple teachers an approach to stress management that will encourage children to become resilient while still acknowledging and expressing their feelings.
Team Building Exercises
We all know it takes a village to raise a child, so it’s no surprise that it takes more than one educator to teach them. That’s why team building exercises are at the core of our professional development program.
So much of what happens in an Apple classroom is only possible thanks to the support and help of other team members. By working together, either directly or behind the scenes, our cohesive team ensures that every day goes smoothly and that every child gets the attention and care they need.
But all that magic can only happen because the Apple family is a strong community. PDD is a big part of that. They give our staff and teachers the opportunity to collaborate, build off each others’ strengths, and learn to work as a unit.
Helping Schools in Need
Our Apple team donated school supplies to the Kids in Need Foundation at Professional Development Day. The foundation’s mission is to ensure that every child is prepared to learn and succeed in the classroom by providing free school supplies nationally to students most in need. We collected nine large boxes of supplies for this worthy cause!
Teachers make wonderful moments happen in the classroom. But often, it’s because of the training, support, and preparation that takes place outside the classroom. With our annual school-wide PDD, we make sure that every member of our Apple family is ready to bring their best, and to help the students achieve their best.