We believe that students should master, and be immersed, in the “real world” before navigating the complexities of the virtual or digital world. We want students to develop communication skills, speaking, listening and writing in person and on paper prior to the introduction of a keyboard and screen. Learning to handwrite before typing supports fine motor coordination and allows for appreciation for the beauty of the written word. Listening and learning from others and books provides opportunities for engaging lessons in discovery and reflection. It also provides opportunities for students to navigate social complexities and emotions and develop ethical conduct in person before virtually. For these reasons, the use of technology in the curriculum and classroom is not started prior to the 5th Grade. In the 5th Grade the students are introduced to the computer as a tool and are taught word processing (typing) skills. Skills are taught and evolve throughout the 5th through 8th grades in order to prepare the students for the rigors and expectations they will need to know upon high school entrance. The technology curriculum includes lessons to develop ethical digital citizens who have the experience of being both online producers as well as consumers. To support this, NCS utilizes the Cyber Civics curriculum.
Computers are available for this program both in the computer lab via desktop computers as well as in the classrooms on chromebooks. Students and parents are required to sign a technology use agreement each year to ensure proper care, and ethics, are taken when using technology. Teachers and parents find the Common Sense Media website helpful when determining suitable content for the students and Cyber Wise to know how to keep students safe online. Many of the technology skills students developed beginning in the 5th Grade, as well as public speaking skills, can be experienced at the annual 8th Grade Project Presentation evening when 8th grade students present a multi media and speech presentation about their year long 8th grade project learning experience.
In addition to slowly and consciously introducing electronic communication to the students we strongly encourages families to hold off providing their child with a smartphone until, or after, 8th Grade. From experience, few students are developmentally ready to appropriately use smartphones both in monitoring their consumption amount and content and in regulating their output via social media and communication (texting.) Hard lessons can come to fruition for students both on the contributing and receiving end of inappropriate content and social acts. Learn more about this national movement for parents to be empowered in delaying their child’s smartphone acquisition at Wait Until 8th.