Your main concerns about English learning programs for preschool students
Our main concerns about adopting a new English program revolved around usability and developmental appropriateness of the curriculum. In my experience, curriculum adoptions would be considered, but they would require us to remove our current curriculum and were not meeting the needs of our at-risk student population. We also struggle to adopt a curriculum without having data that proves its success. When we want to invest in a curriculum, we want to make sure that our money would be well spent on quality curriculum.
Specific benefits you have experienced after adopting GrapeSEED
Although our classroom is in the infancy stages of use (we are at exposure 5), we can already see changes in our students’ language. One of my students, who rarely speaks in academic language, was asked where she received her stuffed bunny. She replied, “My grandmother gave it to me.” I looked at my co teachers in surprise. She has never used the word “grandmother” before. Another student showed me an illustration he made. “Tell me about the people in your picture,” I said. He replied, “This is a picture of my family.” I was blown away. I had never heard him use the word “family” to describe his family as a whole. Before he would give me the names of each member, but now he knows the term for them as a group. I have not seen students begin to use academic language and speak in full sentences as fast as I have seen with GrapeSEED. I am excited to see the gains my students will make after having 20 exposures of Unit 1.
Sense of community and engagement
Regardless of the language gains my students are already making, I appreciate the sense of community and engagement that GrapeSEED gives to my classroom through giving us so many repeatable shared experiences. It also brings a sense of community within the kindergarten classrooms. When my students hear the other classes singing a GrapeSEED song, they are excited that others are singing “their songs”. By repeating the curriculum in kindergarten, my students will have more confidence in their learning abilities because they will have had some of the information in preschool. It will help with my preschoolers’ transition to kindergarten and emphasize oral language abilities even further.
One reason that I love GrapeSEED is also the level of support and engagement for the curriculum. Their commitment to my school success is unparalleled with other curriculums. The fact that we get a support visit three times a year for three years is amazing. It makes me feel like GrapeSEED stands behind their curriculum, cares about the students more than the sale, and wants to see my students and me succeed.
Would you recommend GrapeSEED to others?
I would recommend it to anyone. The curriculum is engaging and it does exactly what it says it is supposed to do. What more could you ask for in a curriculum? It was easy to implement and place into our schedule as well. We always have a support staff who is willing to answer our questions and who checks in with us to see how things are going. It was worth every penny and I can’t wait to see my students’ growth from this year to next year.