November 18 – Director of Innovation Miles Cameron suggested we bring SPK and seventh grade students together for a hands-on project inspired by his digital fabrication curriculum. We both knew that SPK students love the challenge of puzzles, which develops spatial sense and fine motor skills. And Miles was planning to introduce the seventh graders to the laser cutter and teach them new Adobe Illustrator skills in the Innovation Center. So puzzles became the goal.
We talk about the Upper Campus and the older children at RCS, but our class can’t quite envision what school is like outside our Early Childhood wing. It was not until the seventh graders visited our class, and we visited theirs, that the connection was made.
When the RCS bus of SPK students pulled up to the Upper Campus Wallis Cameron exclaimed, "Oh, I've been here before!"
Erin Reinstein, sister of eighth grader Rafe, asked excitedly, "Where are our upper campers?”
The seventh graders greeted us at the door. They were so thoughtful and involved with their PreKindergarten partners. They had interviewed their partners on an earlier visit, and had created a personal puzzle for each SPK child. The seventh graders explained the process and showed the tools they used. The laser cutter was a hit! The students even wrapped the presents in colorful tissue. Our other SPK class will meet with another seventh grade group next semester.
TEXT: Tina Boudreau PHOTOS: Tina Boudreau and Miles Cameron
Elevating the Purpose of Design
After the SPK students got on the bus to return to their classroom, Mr. Cameron asked the seventh graders to reflect on the puzzle project. Here are a few excerpts:
“When the whole project was done we invited the SPK to the Upper Campus and they opened their puzzles. We played and drew with them until they had to go. It was a very successful project and I hope we see them again.”
“I think everyone put in a one-hundred percent effort to make these puzzles.”
“I was partnered with a girl named Zoe, who loved princesses and said her dream puzzle was one with many princesses. I was determined to make her princess puzzle precisely how she’d like it.”
“I had to restart three times and had my puzzle break. But it was all worth it when the SPK students came to the Upper Campus and we gave them the puzzles. I learned to persevere even if you want to give up.”
Rippowam Cisqua School is a PreK-Grade 9 independent day school in Westchester County, New York. RCS offers challenging academics built on innovation, fine and performing arts, competitive athletics, wellness, leadership, service learning, and a wide selection of extracurricular activities.