As a Preschool to 3rd grade school, we are committed to supporting learning, engagement, and the overall well-being of our children. We have worked alongside the other SCSD schools, superintendent and Board of Trustees and have applied a research-based approach to homework.
Homework at White Oaks
- Out-of-classroom learning will vary according to a student’s grade level, ability, need and interests, whenever possible.
- All students will be expected to read and talk about books each day. (Read alouds and turn-taking reading count!) Teachers will share students’ reading goals, personalizing learning.
- Practice in math may be assigned in order to support skill mastery, as determined by teacher observation of student progress.
- Teachers may provide a menu of optional learning resources to support parents in extending their child’s learning. In class, menus or lists of options will be shared with children so that they can explore and express learning interests. We encourage parents to support children in selecting both the pace and the material as a means of fostering curiosity and helping children develop ownership over their learning.
- Additional assignments may occasionally be given when outside of class activities will deepen student-driven learning and/or project-based learning in the classroom.
- Some students may need more time or different resources to meet grade level standards. Teachers and parents will work together to set goals, develop a support plan, and monitor progress.
- We recognize that learning happens throughout a child’s day, and that children are most engaged when they are pursuing their own goals. We want to help make room in our students’ day for all kinds of learning!
Over the last several school years, our staff engaged in a series of evidence-based conversations about what young children need in order to thrive. In addition, district administrators and our Board of Trustees have engaged in community conversations resulting in a revised district homework policy, TK-Grade 8, and how it supports our strategic plan. The following key points from research and our experience, for TK-8, have been highlighted through this process:
- Homework assignments should be purposeful, meaningful, and tailored to the individual needs of students
- Daily reading is key to each child's long-term success
- Development of organizational work habits and self-discipline are crucial
- Family time, play time, and downtime are important for all children
- Math and music may require near-daily time and practice
At White Oaks, we have built upon these principles and have considered what this means in a preschool to 3rd grade environment.
Research tells us that assigning all students the same homework does not improve learning. Children learn at different paces and in different ways, thriving when they can practice with guidance at a level just beyond their independent “learning zone”.
Play and Passions
Young children need extensive time each day for free play and to explore personal passions in the arts, sciences, athletics and more! After-school hours provide an important block of time for these essentials. For young children, play is the primary vehicle for learning.
Elementary students are learning how to contribute to their classrooms and their households, pitching in to help with age-appropriate responsibilities. After school can be a wonderful time to learn how to help out around the house and take care of pets. These hands-on opportunities build independence and a sense of self-efficacy.
Connections and Conversations
Young children need daily opportunities to connect with their families. Dinner table conversations, game nights, and family fun build strong kids! We know these connections are more possible when there is more free time for families in the evenings.
Sleep is essential for emotional well-being, physical health, and learning. Health professionals recommend 10-13 hours of sleep each night for children ages 3-5 and 9-11 hours for children ages 6-13. As a community, let’s work together to prioritize sleep and help our kids feel ready and excited for the next school day!
Find our strategic plan on the District Strategic Plan page
Resources to Learn More
- Do students today have too much homework or not enough?
- Does homework lead to higher student grades and test scores?
- When does homework promote increased student engagement in learning?
- Does homework help students?
- Does homework hurt students?
- What are the characteristics of effective homework?
Video of Stanford Professor and Challenge Success Founder, Denise Pope
- What does the research say about homework in the elementary school years?
- What is the importance of daily self-selected reading?