Amaya has thrived in her learning. Beginning at the age of 4 with games in the play-room and progressing to fictional storytelling, Amaya is now ready for kindergarten with a backpack full of skills.
Kindergarten is a year of exponential growth. Most children begin school unable to identify a single letter or sound and they graduate kindergarten decoding words and sentences in books. It has always fascinated me how a child learns language and how the brain functions differently in childhood to be able to learn more efficiently compared to the adult brain.
I have enjoyed watching Amaya learn in preparation for the classroom environment. I have seen Amaya progress from the overwhelming thoughts and fears of trying something new to confidently jumping all in and willingly asking for help when she is unsure. Imagine yourself on top of a rock ledge preparing to bungie jump off for the first time. It sure is overwhelming and we need a team of cheerleaders to convince us that everything will be okay.
That’s my job as a teacher. My role is to inspire young people to give something a go and to be proud of their effort. I am there to help them understand that they can’t compare their drawings to those of their parents or the perfect cartoon characters they see on the internet. It takes time. It takes grit. It takes a willingness to keep practicing. With consistency of time and effort comes success. We consistently turn up. We consistently put all our focus on the task. In doing so, we realise that success isn’t a result of sheer talent – it is a result of grit. The most successful people in life aren’t necessarily the ones who got the highest grades in school, they are the ones who have grit. They are the ones who realise that not everything comes easily and they persist even when they experience set-backs.
My mission as an educator is to build emotional intelligence in our young people. This is what I believe is the nourishment needed for a child’s brain to become a healthy, life-long learning machine. I encourage you to consider how your thinking has impacted your willingness to try something new. That’s really what learning is all about – trying something new. Your thoughts matter and they affect the decisions you make and your willingness to learn.
For a child, there are many new ideas and experiences they face as they enter school. They have much to learn. I feel privileged to make learning fun and to encourage young people to know that the effort they put in makes a difference to the outcome they experience. My role is to nurture the learner with appropriate expectations relevant to their level of skill and emotional well-being for a child to challenge themselves beyond where they would have thought they could go. I’m there standing alongside them cheering them on to jump all in, to risk failure and to use that failure as a driving force for propelling them forward through problem solving and critically analysing. It is in this risk-taking scenario that success truly is a job well done. It earns the greatest intrinsic reward that causes people to become innovators and entrepreneurs.
The park is all fun and Samantha is so nice too. I love Samantha because she plays with me.
We engaged Samantha for our daughter who was in year 2 at the time and needed further support with her English, spelling and reading fluency. Samantha was kind, patient and through her knowledge was able to identify the areas she required further support with and would plan her sessions around these identified areas. Whilst my daughters schooling was improving, so was her confidence and willingness to engage in her classroom activities. Samantha has a unique way of bringing as much play and enjoyment into her tutoring sessions as possible, which meant my daughter looked forward to her time with Samantha each week, and for us, it was pleasing to see her results improving at school.
After a few months, Samantha began working with my 4-year-old through her NDIS funded package. We were hesitant on deciding if she would commence school and if she would be ready for kindergarten. We decided, with the help of Samantha, that another year of play based learning would be the best option for her. Samantha has a passion for education but is also an extremely competent DIRFloorTime specialist who loves to teach children through play.
I’m sure our family will be utilising Samantha’s services for many years to come.
-Will & Jodie Dungay-