Community & Service 20 Feb 2024

Elevating learning in Kindergarten with educational consultant Anne van Dam

By CIS Communications
Photograph by CIS Communications

Meet Anne van Dam, an experienced educator and educational consultant ready to bring her extensive knowledge to our kindergarten teachers. Fun fact: she used to be a CIS teacher! We sat down with her for a short chat to get the scoop on what she's been up to at CIS, reminisce about her stint here in 2001, and hear her thoughts on our kindergarten programme.

What do you aim to achieve at CIS?

We are working on learning and developing different tools and strategies as a team to better follow children’s learning.

Our primary focus is on devising ways to make children’s learning more visible to teachers, parents and the children themselves. How is this done? It is as simple as using a form with the names of children to jot down observations and check out specific learning goals set for each child in order to track their progress.

The idea is to create tools that enable a systematic documentation of these observations. By ensuring that teachers have a comprehensive understanding of each child's progress, we aim to empower them to provide tailored guidance for the next steps in the child's educational journey. The more thorough and systematic the documentation process becomes, teachers will get a better sense of the current status of their learners.

We heard that you were once a teacher at CIS. Tell us more!

I was an Early Years teacher at the Toh Tuck campus from 2001 to 2006. I believe it has always been an upward progression here at CIS even from the time we first introduced the Primary Years Programme (PYP) during my tenure in 2002. I remember the significance of it especially considering its novelty at the time.

I distinctly remember the strong sense of ownership among the staff. Everyone actively participated in discussions about understanding the programme and contemplating its integration into the Canadian school context. The aspects that stood out for me were the school’s strength of community, power of collective thinking, and shared purpose to achieving excellence as a school.

What makes CIS’s Kindergarten programme unique?

What sets CIS's Early Years programme apart is the enduring presence of the Canadian spirit and values, a strong sense of community, and a remarkable continuity that has persisted over the years. There are staff members who have remained since my earlier tenure at CIS, reflecting a sense of belonging and commitment to both the school and children’s learning journey.

The Outdoor Discovery Centre (ODC) stands out as an exceptionally dynamic facility, offering a wealth of opportunities for children to learn, grow and play. A special shoutout goes to the Integrated Arts programme here at CIS that is undeniably a strength, contributing to the unique and enriching educational experience for young learners ranging from 2 to 5 years old. 

Thank you for sharing your expertise, Anne.