As representatives from Teaching Strategies made their way through the doors of the V. Robinson Head Start Center in Alexander City on Tuesday, they saw their curriculum in action and more importantly, its success.

Teaching Strategies representatives Willie Driscoll and Taylor Sutor have been touring several school districts in Alabama after making the trip from the Teaching Strategies headquarters in Bethesda, Maryland and V. Robinson made the list of stops.

Teaching Strategies is committed to early childhood educators by embracing innovation and updated products to keep pace with what teachers need in the classroom and V. Robinson is implementing its curriculum.

Driscoll and Sutor came to see the impact the creative curriculum program is having on the pre-K students at V. Robinson and they were more than happy with the results.

The two main resources V. Robinson uses from Teaching Strategies is the Gold assessment tool, which pairs with the creative curriculum for development and learning.

“There’s a lot of impressive things here and I think when you think of Head Start, one of the biggest elephants in the room or biggest challenges is family engagement,” Driscoll said. “You can see right off the bat that (with) all of these activities the parents and families stay engaged. When the children see these projects, they’re taking ownership saying, ‘This is my building; this is my stuff that I created,’ so it’s pretty exciting to see.”

The latest creative curriculum project at V. Robinson was a “building study” where the pre-K students spent several weeks constructing small-scale buildings including houses, garages and more.

The projects were on display for Driscoll and Sutor as Driscoll explained the philosophy behind the teaching strategies studies. 

“The way the studies work is it’s really an investigation, so when we’re doing a building, we’re investigating everything about it,” Driscoll said. “We don’t have that specific math or literacy section so when we’re investigating this building, it might be counting how many different pavers are on here or talking about how things are spelled related to the building so it’s relevant to the children. It’s play-based curriculum so it’s more of running through activities and doing investigations and planning.”

Teaching Strategies’ studies typically last an average of six weeks. However, if a particular study goes well and children are highly engaged, a study may last as long as 10 weeks.

Sutor was impressed with how the pre-K students have responded to the hands-on curriculum.

“This is the first time I’ve been in the area, so I was super excited to come and see everything put into practice and seeing what it’s meant to do for them, which is outstanding,” Sutor said.