Highlands Blog

Faculty Spotlight: Getting to Know Kindergarten Teacher Ms. Suzan

For Ms. Suzan Armstrong, the Kindergarten year is an important school year for students, not just because we are laying a strong foundation for future academic skills, but we are also laying a strong foundation for social and emotional skills, character development skills, and a lifetime love of learning. When she first stepped onto Highlands’ campus in 1973, she knew she had found the kind of environment where she could nurture children while instilling in them a true love for learning. At that time, Ms. Suzan was an Early Childhood student at Samford University looking for a setting to complete her student teaching. After a season of learning and growth under Highlands teachers, she spent the next twelve years in another city before moving back to Birmingham in 1986. Coincidentally, Highlands had an opening for a kindergarten teacher, landing her in the very same classroom where she completed her student teaching. Today, that classroom remains a place of excitement, challenge, and development for young learners.

Learn more about the Highlands experience through the voice of Ms. Suzan.

Providing a Strong Core
It is hard to believe I have been teaching in a kindergarten setting for nearly 30 years. At its very core, kindergarten is about laying foundations for future learning. The full-day program at Highlands allows me to help each student develop knowledge in the core subjects of language arts, literature, writing, vocabulary, math, science, and social studies. We recognize that no two children learn in the same way or at the same pace, and our curriculum allows us to provide the best education for each child, recognizing their unique talents and maximizing their potential. This is incredibly important in kindergarten, as individual attention ensures each student is challenged adequately and immersed in material that is appropriate for them.

Enhancing the Experience
At Highlands, we believe learning is enhanced through fun projects and hands-on experiences. Kindergarten students need to explore ideas and solve problems in group and individual settings. We are passionate about creating project-based learning ideas and keeping our programs fresh. It has never been more important that we educate children for the 21st century, so we have integrated technology into every subject area. Changes have been made to enhance the learning experience along the way, but one thing hasn’t changed since my student teaching days: Highlands is committed to teaching the whole child and preparing them with the best education possible. For this reason, we have been recognized as one of the top elementary schools in the country.

Seeing the Rewards
Teaching a kindergarten class is one of the most rewarding experiences imaginable. Special times like sharing books and reading with students allows me to learn about each of their interests and skills. I especially love the artwork that my students create on a regular basis. It is so honest, pure, and creative — it tells me what is on their mind, how they are feeling, and what they like. As I understand more about each student, I can relate to them and tailor my teaching to engage their young minds. Every day is filled with milestones. Whether a student loses a first tooth, learns to tie a shoe, or has a lightbulb moment when learning a new skill, we celebrate. To hear students say, “I love to come to school” is thrilling.

Learn More about Highlands Kindergarten
Is your family looking for an exceptional elementary and middle school experience in Birmingham, AL that provides strong foundations in the early years? We invite you to take the next step and experience the Highlands environment firsthand. A campus visit will allow you to meet teachers, like Ms. Suzan, who are passionate about preparing each child to reach his or her potential. Contact us to schedule your tour today.
 
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Highlands School, 4901 Old Leeds Road, Birmingham, AL 35213, (205) 956-9731
Highlands School's 'whole child' approach to education and commitment to academic excellence, creative expression, and leadership development prepare and motivate students in grades 4k through 8 to make a positive difference in an ever-changing world. Located in Birmingham, Alabama, Highlands School holds dual accrediation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and the Southern Associations of Independent Schools (SAIS).

For more information, visit www.highlandsschool.org.