THE FWSU STORY: Playing with Math and Literacy in Georgia Preschool

If you visit our preschool classrooms you will find so many learning opportunities for children.


These children were playing bakery and wanted to take down orders.


Children are given many different writing tools and mediums to explore writing and drawing.  When children experiment with writing tools, they develop symbolic thinking skills and fine motor skills.  Marks take on meaning.


This boy was saying letter names as he made marks on his paper.


These children were playing restaurant and taking orders.


Two of the preschool classrooms have “Shape Shops” up and running in dramatic play.  The shape shops are places where you can buy shapes.  You should hear the math language being used as children buy and sell shapes.  They can use the shapes to create a piece of art!


There are shapes to cut in the sensory table…


There are shapes to play with on the tables!


Math and literacy opportunities pop up in the most unexpected places.  What opportunities do your children have at home?  If you start looking and noticing, I bet you will be surprised at how many opportunities there are in your conversations, routines, and play.

Stay connected with all that is happening by visiting the Georgia Elementary Preschool Program blog

THE FWSU STORY: What’s Happening in GEMS Preschool

It has been an exciting month of learning in the Preschool at GEMS! This year we currently have 88 preschoolers in our program who are placed in six preschool classes. Here is a look behind the scenes into the classrooms where our children learn and play.


Miss Sweet’s PM Class


Mrs. Howrigan’s PM Class


Mr. Anthony’s Afternoon Class


Mr. Anthony’s Morning Class


Mrs. Howrigan’s Morning Class


Miss Sweet’s Morning Class


Stay connected with all that is happening by visiting the Georgia Elementary Preschool Program blog

UN SDG Global Goal 4: Quality Education

THE #FWSU STORY: Georgia Students Learn Lessons from the Lake

Last month, the 3rd and 4th and fourth graders at Georgia Elementary Middle School partnered with St. Albans Museum, Friends of Northern Lake Champlain, and the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets in Lake Lessons, a new STEAM-cultural heritage program.

Georgia Elementary students learn Lake Lessons at St. Albans Bay

Georgia School elementary students learn Lake Lessons at St. Albans Bay

These students were bused to St. Albans Bay Park and Georgia Beach to learn more about the maritime heritage of the Bay, once known as “Port Washington”, including the world-famous “Gleaner of St. Albans” sailing canal boat, and more, featuring the economic, recreational and military history of Lake Champlain.

Georgia School elementary students discuss important lessons about the Lake

Georgia School elementary students discuss important lessons about the Lake

Through different stations, students explored opportunities to create original works with photography, drawing/coloring, or writing prompts to share their own thoughts and ideas about Lake Champlain.  They also had an opportunity to engage with a rainfall simulator to examine four types of surface (bare earth, lawn, edged habitat, field, and forest) and the concept of runoff and infiltration as well as scientific method and development of a hypothesis.

Georgia students talk about runoff and Lake cleanup

Georgia students talk about water runoff and pollution.

A hands-on tabletop model helped students understand how polluted runoff impairs lakes and rivers.  Topics covered included point and nonpoint pollution sources (urban, industrial, forested, and agricultural), toxic substances, phosphorus, pollution prevention, and watershed management.


Lessons by the Lake

The agricultural water quality station provided students with an understanding around limiting factors on a farm.  Students learned about different aspects and parts of a farm and why they are all important to the farm system, such as nutrient, waste storage, water, and more.

Students discuss their lake learning on the shores of Lake Champlain

Students discuss their lake learning on the shores of Lake Champlain

Students were then asked to evaluate and comment upon their learning experience to help their partners improve and enhance this pilot program for future offerings.

Students are more aware of their responsibilities in keeping our lakes healthy and how their choices impact the watershed.  If we all work together we can appreciate and enjoy the vast and beautiful waters of Lake Champlain.

UN SDG Global Goal 6: Clean Water

THE FWSU STORY: A Rainy Day at Georgia Preschool

What do preschool children do on a rainy day at GEMS?


Find ways to move inside of course!


Build an obstacle course with your new friends!


Roll a Die and take steps on a balance beam!


Do art projects with Mrs. Hogg


Dorsey Hogg GEMS Art Teacher


Build with your friends!


Listen to a good story!


Act out a really good story…

Sing together…

Jessica Sweeney GEMS Music Teacher


Play apple games and experiment with art tools!


There are so many things to do on a rainy day in preschool!

Stay connected with all that is happening by visiting the Georgia Elementary Preschool Program blog

THE FWSU STORY: Students Explore Restorative Justice Practices at Georgia School

Middle school students at Georgia are exploring peacemaking circles and conferencing models with a restorative plan for classrooms that have a student who is referred by a staff member for a violation of school rules.


By definition, restorative measures represent a philosophy and a process that acknowledges that when a person does harm, it affects the persons they hurt, the community and themselves. Using restorative measures, an attempt is made to repair the harm caused by one person to another and to the community so that everyone can return to a safe, responsible and respectful learning environment.


Restorative models provide schools the opportunity to improve school culture by addressing the school-wide expectations and creating a forum for peaceful conflict resolution. Through support for restorative justice, our goal is to amplify peace in our schools and communities.


Middle school enrichment teacher Sandra Moulton has been working with students in her service learning class Restorative Justice. After weeks of learning the purpose and understanding the role of restorative justice, 7th and 8th grade students were then able to participate using a foundational component of the process, which a circle discussion format. In a 5th and 3rd grade classes, the service learning students initiated the process. Student leaders communicated the purpose of the circles, the guidelines, and the goals. This experience for both student leaders and the classes was extremely positive and both groups agreed to take the process to the next level going forward at GEMS.

THE FWSU STORY: Students Broadcast GEMS TV Express

Learning about school news and current events is wonderful, but being an essential part of the communication, editing, and publishing of information, on a weekly basis, is a prideful moment.


Each week the Georgia Innovation Lab broadcasts GEMS TV Express!

It is a weekly newscast that provides upcoming school events, student recognition, and celebrations, along with all the wonderful learning experiences that are occurring across the elementary school.


Middle school students work collaboratively with Elementary students to produce a high quality, informative, and entertaining news broadcast that is aired weekly for all student classrooms Pk-4.


Through close facilitation and coaching, the innovation lab staff (Dayle Payne and Eric Hadd) guide students in their rehearsal, production, and editing of every final product.


Students take ownership, are thoroughly engaged, problem-solve continuously while communicating effectively and are building upon transferable skills for life.  It is real-world learning that is taking place each week with phenomenal results of the final product created.


Elementary students viewing the news feed are excited each week and look forward to the upcoming broadcast.  The following quotes were taken from Elementary students:

“I love seeing my friends”


“This is awesome”


“Look! That’s me”


We all wait patiently anticipating what will be in our next GEMS TV Express.


Until next time…

THE FWSU STORY: The First Days of Preschool

Welcome to GEMS Preschool!  The first days of school are all about relationship building, meeting new peers, and learning about routines throughout the day. It is the start of an educational journey that determines who we are in life and it is so important for social, emotional, and academic growth.


In PreK classrooms, it is imperative to provide opportunities for children to play, interact, cooperate, and be able to express their needs respectfully. But this takes time developmentally and adults must facilitate these learning opportunities for success to occur.


The use of imagination, role-playing, and experimentation are approaches to learning that promote creativity, innovation, and problem-solving.


In early years we educate children about self-awareness, emotions and self-regulation and the tools in the classroom to assist.


It will be a great year with my new friends!