What is teaching to the top?

By on May 11, 2015
by Shelley Sacks

I believe that teaching to the top is teaching to the children, who are at the highest developmental level of all the children in the class. My theory behind this is that if you all strive to climb to the top of the mountain, you will all get there. Of course, everyone will get there at different times, however being motivated to reach the top rather than just aim to reach half way is the key.
Children love being fed; and it is not only “what” we feed them but more importantly the “how” that we feed them. My job as a teacher is not only to provide a learning environment that stimulates and provokes learning emotionally socially, physically, kinesthetically, cognitively, but to do it in a way that keeps children interested and promotes a love of learning.

You may be wondering, how I teach to the top. I am an intuitive learner and teacher. I sense and understand the varying levels of all the children in my class. I do not read reports from previous teachers as I believe in discovering each child, through my own perception, intuition, and knowledge of early childhood development.
I stretch my children and show them how capable they are; how to believe in themselves and be challenged. Children are like sponges. They will absorb what they can and leave behind what they cannot. The seeds of what they cannot absorb are planted and one day they will blossom.

Seeing children as capable, with endless potential, gives them a sense of self belief and trust. The greatest gift I receive as a teacher is when the children in my care leave me confident, independent, and with a good sense of self belief. Knowledge and information are easy to learn but trusting who you are, is what I believe every teacher needs to teach every child.

“Teaching in a multi-age class has been an eye opener for me and it has awakened something in me that I have always believed and practiced as a teacher, in mono age classrooms for 35 years.”

KEZ_0659_ohanaShelley Sacks, the Director of Ohana International School was born in Cape Town, South Africa and studied Early Childhood Education at Barkly House Teachers Training College, which specialized in training teachers for pre-school and kindergarten children. At an early stage in her teaching career, she was awarded a scholarship by the Department of Education in Cape Town and received a Post Graduate diploma in Special Needs. In 2010, Shelley co-founded Ohana International School with Darren Winney, both experienced educators with combined 60 years of teaching experience. Ohana International School is an English language pre-school in Moto-Azabu for children aged 15 months to 5 years old.


About Shelley Sacks