By Barbara Vargo – Kindergarten Teacher – Propel Northside
Throughout the month of June, Kindergarten students at Propel Northside participated in the “When I Grow Up Summit.” The summit connected the year’s learning with long term goals by inviting community leaders (including parents and family members of Northside students) to give guest lecturers and participate in Q & A sessions about their jobs.
The Kindergarten students were visited by many interesting professionals including: a firefighter, a police officer, the Pittsburgh Pirates community outreach coordinator, a bus driver, a postal worker, a graphic design artist, a baker, a playwright, a singer/songwriter, and many others! Learning about the first hand experiences of these community leaders was an engaging and authentic learning experience enabling our students to envision their futures and their potential for impact within the Northside Community and beyond.
The summit was a wonderful learning experience connecting our classroom to the outside community. Each day, students sharpened their writing skills by jotting down their perspectives on why each guest’s careers were important. Furthermore, listening and speaking skills were practiced through the question and answer sessions, and students enriched their understanding through participating in hands on activities connected to the various occupations (decorating a cupcake, reading Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, creating their own business logos, etc.) The interactive summit culminated with our Kindergarten Promotion ceremony which had a “When I Grow Up” Theme.
Involvement and support from One Northside and the Sprout Fund permitted our kindergarten classes to conclude their year in fashion (literally). A generous grant from One Northside enabled Mrs. Ward and I to purchase costumes for all of our students who proudly showed off their dreams to friends, families, and community members. Students were then able to keep those costumes as a memento of the successful completion of kindergarten and as a reminder that Propel Northside and community at large believes in their dreams.
Watching the students share their aspirations, favorite memories from the year, and showcase their learning through song, dance, and drumming was an inspiring and beautiful way to conclude the school year. Although our kindergarten students are little, they are fierce! With continued belief and support I am certain these young scholars will grow up to be exactly what they want to be …even the little guy aiming to be an intergalactic police officer!