News from New World Kids

Dr. Cynthia Herbert writes about the real rewards that support higher-order thinking. 

 

Why following the curiosity of children is important from The Missing Alphabet author Susan Marcus.

Resources
Contact Us

New World Kids • Pre-K

“…the world is mud-luscious…and puddle-wonderful”

 — e.e. cummings

In NWK • Pre-K, children learn the ABC’s of creativity through the Sensory Alphabet — line, color, texture, movement, sound, rhythm, space, light, and shape. At the same time, they practice skills of creative thinking by observing and exploring the world around them, playing with a variety of digital and traditional arts media, and giving form and expression to their ideas through visual art, dance, drama, music and creative writing. Lessons also include connections to children’s literature, phonemic awareness, social/emotional intelligence, nature study, problem solving and logical thinking.

Children are encouraged to develop their confidence, their imaginations and their communication skills as they discover and try out their unique creative strengths. Parents are encouraged to visit and participate in the program. Teachers profile each child’s special way of thinking, to share that information with the parents, and to suggest ways to nurture creativity further at home.

 

 

1. New World Kids — K-1 • Introduction

“Everybody is a genius.

But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree,

it will spend its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

— Albert Einstein

Lessons are provided for each weekday of nine weeks. Each week focuses on a different element of the Sensory Alphabet: shape, line, movement, color, light, rhythm, texture, sound and space. Each weekday has a special function: On Mondays, students collect ideas and observe the element in the world around them, using cameras and other media. On Tuesdays, an adult “expert” who uses the element in his work is hosted and children participate in related explorations.

On Wednesdays, the class instructor shares her own connections to the element and children play and invent with a variety of materials, including 3D and electronic media. On Thursdays, students add to a “Me Paper” of their favorite elements and activities, thus beginning to build a portrait of themselves as thinkers and learners. On Fridays, children celebrate the element and themselves as creative thinkers.

In the following weeks and manuals, the focus remains on the Sensory Alphabet and developing the habits of creative thinking in diverse learners.

 

2. New World Kids in the World of Words

“Stories are the way we understand the world around us,

so it’s possible that storytelling is a very fundamental form of human thinking”

-- Jerome Bruner

Making connections to the Sensory Alphabet enhances the world of words, especially storytelling. The second nine weeks of the New World Kids program builds upon the first and uses a variety of stories as vehicles for collecting new ideas, playing with possibilities and creating forms in different materials. Students begin each week with the same traditional story and use movement, sound or another element to retell it, play with language and connect with big ideas. Other children’s books, which have been field-tested with young children, areprovided for the rest of the week, along with a format for sharing these with children.

 The format is highly learner-centered and intended to maximize the involvement of diverse thinkers and learners. At the end of each story, students create and illustrate their own stories. This workbook provides more flexibility for teachers to create their own lessons, based on the strengths they are discovering in their students.

 

 

3. New World Kids in the World of Numbers

“Do not worry about your difficulties in Mathematics.

I can assure you mine are still greater.”

-- Albert Einstein

Instead of trying to “get” the right answer in the NWK approach to logic and mathematics, children play and explore numbers and other mathematical concepts through connections to the Sensory Alphabet. Six weeks of lessons are provided which include story and picture books with interesting mathematical ideas, observation and collection experiences in the nearby world and spatial and logical games suitable for young children.

Students explore a wide range of mathematical patterns and relationships, using both new and familiar materials. Importantly, children routinely create and then solve their own story problems, using shapes, lines, rhythms and other elements. Teachers are given effective formats for shaping a class, as well as an array of possible activities from which to choose.

 

 

 

4. New World Kids in the World of Me and You

“The brain is a social brain...Learning, therefore, is profoundly

influenced by the nature of the social relationships

within which people find themselves.”

--Renatta and Geoffrey Caine

During these six weeks, through the Sensory Alphabet, students investigate self, feelings, people and interactions. Concepts in the lessons are inspired by current brain research and studies of the social / emotional influences on learning and development. A chapter book, The Three Friends is provided in the guide to illustrate the big idea of each week, as the characters struggle to understand themselves, see the best in others and interact positively with the people in their world. Other books are suggested and lesson plans are provided to extend the theme further.

 Children collect ideas through “People Watching,” play with possibilities for social interactions, get creative inventing new ways to act when they feel bad, celebrate their differences, and, finally, imagine and express the “Super Me” inside. Masks, puppets, costumes, dolls, action figures and other “social” media are featured and children take photos and videos of themselves and others to deepen their understanding.

 

 

5. New World Kids in the World Around Us

“There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you

it’s going to be a butterfly.”

— R. Buckminster Fuller

 In the final six weeks, through the Sensory Alphabet, students investigate ideas in science and nature, using all the senses. Observations and collection activities now focus even more on finding samenesses, differences, diversity and patterns. Children play with new possibilities -- “what-if’s”-- about the world of plants, animals, water and other natural phenomena. They change scale and rearrange structures, imagine living things in new contexts, look at systems from different vantage points and imagine what might be.

 After trying out classic experiments and recipes, students generate their own. Teachers are also provided lesson plans with books and stories that inspire and extend students’ scientific and creative thinking. Finally, teachers help students mount exhibits and develop other forms to share their original inventions and creations.

 

 

New World Kids — Part 2

Designed for children of grades 1-2 who have participated in NWK, Part I, this program builds upon the Foundational Program with additional and more in-depthexperiences in the same themes. The three curriculum strands remain: (1) the Sensory Alphabet, (2) the creative process and (3) the students themselves as thinkers and learners. Activities in this program are extended to include experiences, materials, experts, literature, and other components different from the first course and more customized to the unique diversity and older ages in each classroom.

 

Think Like a Pro

Students who have completed one or more courses in NWK are eligible for this program, designed for grades 2 and 3. New thinking skills and a more sophisticated use of metacognition are scaffolded onto a basic understanding of the Sensory Alphabet, creative thinking habits and an appreciation of one’s own strengths. Students at this level begin to define themselves as minds at work. Teachers share their own observations and insights of each student and students begin more consciously to exercise and reflect on their unfolding cognitive capacities.

 “Pros” from the neighborhood and beyond are brought to class to share how they use the Sensory Alphabet, how they play with ideas and give them form, what materials and media, including digital, support their thinkingand working and how they solve problems. Students begin to find points of connection as they try out “thinking like a pro” in a variety of fields and participate in activities on their level that mirror what real pro’s do. Ideas, then inventions and products are developed and shared. Collaborative problem-solving is begun. Students learn to give and receive feedback from their peers and invited “pros.”