Over twenty years ago, I was a musician with a film degree who was lucky enough to stumble on the 100 Languages of Children exhibit at the University of Pittsburgh. Everything about the exhibit captured my heart and my imagination -- here, on display, were the amazing art and words of preschoolers who were treated as inventors, intellectuals, and artists. It was clear that in their school, each child was valued as a unique individual with an important contribution to make to a greater whole. I had certainly never experienced anything like it in my own education, and from that moment I knew I wanted to be a teacher who would create a similar environment for my students, one where projects would emerge from student interest and where creativity and community permeated the environment.
Little did I know that a huge shift even further in the opposite direction was about to take place in the educational ecosystem, and finding a school where I could be the kind of teacher I wanted to be would prove extremely challenging. I must be an extra-lucky person, though, because I did find one in Kentucky Avenue School. KAS embraces the theory of constructivism -- the idea that students learn best by making meaning through communication with others and interaction with the world around them -- which is at the heart of what I believe creates effective pedagogy.
We are a place where each individual’s differences are honored while being a part of a community with its own unique identity. At KAS, creative exploration thrives and encourages children to develop a joyful approach to learning. We treat mistakes as tools for understanding, infuse art into all subjects, and believe that social and emotional learning is the key to academic success. We encourage our students to use technology for creativity rather than consumption, as well as a tool for fostering creativity, collaboration, and critical thinking. We are committed to keeping our class sizes small so as to best meet the needs of our students.
Kentucky Avenue School has been my home and community for the last twelve years, both as a teacher and a parent of KAS students. I am so honored to be writing this to you in my new role as principal of this wonderful, unique school - a place where I feel truly privileged to spend my days.
--Aimee DeFoe, Principal