Bannockburn Christian Academy - Austin Texas Private School

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Taking Kindness Outside of the Classroom Has Its Rewards

We have been looking for ways to show kindness in our classroom and I have been thrilled with what these little scholars have come up with – even down to giving a classmate a little Lego arm because “I knew he would like it.”  In conjunction with talking in Pre-K about ways we can show kindness to others, we have also been talking about pride. 

We have found out there are 2 basic types of pride:

  • the version we experience when we can rejoice in a job well done
  • the version we represent when we compare ourselves to someone else to try and make ourselves look better (remember – this is the Pre-K version). 

We decided to expand our “Let’s find ways to be kind in our classroom” to “Let’s find ways to show kindness around our school.”  As we were on the playground we noticed there were a lot of dead leaves and broken sticks on it. 

The question was asked,” Could we be kind and start to clean up the playground so it would look nice for everyone when they came to use it?”  The answer was a resounding YES!  We began spending a little time during each recess picking up leaves and sticks and before long we had bagged 7 big black trash bags of leaves and a trash can full of sticks. 

BCA K4 students extend kindness outside of the classroom and clean the campus.

BCA K4 students extend kindness outside of the classroom

Along the way we were able to feel the pride of accomplishing what at first looked like an enormous job as well as pride in how our playground now looked so nice.

What a great lesson to be able to learn when you are 5.

– Barbara Hammel, K-4 5 Day Teacher

BCA Students Take Kindness Outside of the Classroom and Clean the Campus and Experience the Pride of a Job Well Done

BCA Students Experience the Pride of a Job Well Done

BCA Students Experience Pride in a Job Well Done When They Helped Clean The Campus as Part of the Kindness Initiative

BCA Students Work Together To Clean The Campus as Part of the Kindness Initiative

BCA Students Working Together to Clean the Campus. The Kindness Initiative.

BCA Students Taking Kindness Outside of the Classroom to Make The Playground More Enjoyable for Everyone.



Science in Pre-K

In the classroom, students participate in a weekly science or STEM activity. Pre-K students bring so much curiosity and wonder to the classroom setting.  All a teacher needs is capitalize on these characteristics to make science learning come alive every day.  This time of the week is our absolute favorite.

A couple of weeks ago we went on a Fall Scavenger Hunt around the Academy campus.  We were looking for all sorts of nature items including acorns, trees, grass, squirrels, birds, ants, etc…  Each student had their own clipboard, pencil, and check off sheet.  The children felt so important and special. They felt like real scientists! This was such a great opportunity for meaningful conversations and observations to take place. They were engaged and wide-eyed exploring the world around them and searching for the items on their check lists.

After our scavenger hunt adventure we returned to the classroom to discuss and share what types of nature items we observed and what we could not find. For example, some saw butterflies but couldn’t find a bird.  All in all it was a great experience to explore, discover and analyze.

Laura Gail Ellis, Pre-Kindergarten

Reading Buddies

Anyone who has known me for more than about five minutes knows I love to read.  In fact, I have been known to sit in the same chair virtually all day reading a good book (especially if my husband is traveling).  I keep at least one book with me at all times.  You never know when you might have a few minutes waiting at the post office or that really long traffic light as you drive home.  That is always good for at least a paragraph.


When my children were little we probably had more books in our house than some libraries.  They were always read to – in the morning, before dinner, at bedtime – you name it.  We would read at the drop of a hat.  When each of them was in first grade, my husband and I took turns reading The Chronicles of Narnia to them at bedtime.  I know it was a special time with them because when one of my son’s friends had his first child, Matthew wanted to get the Narnia series as a gift to give them.

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Now I get the joy of reading to my little K-4 friends.  It doesn’t matter what we are reading – a brand new book or one we have read 5 times.  They get so excited!  The pictures – new words – guessing what comes next or remembering what comes next and being able to tell everyone else.  All these things are very exciting when you are 4 or 5 but are also very important components of reading (making connections, building vocabulary, making predictions, recall).  And they are catching that love of reading.

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At Bannockburn Christian Academy, Ms. Robbins (the 5th grade teacher) has teamed up with our class to be our Reading Buddies.  Every Friday we go upstairs for the last 10 minute of school and pair up with a special 5th grade partner.  The kiddos listen with rapt attention as their “buddies” read stories picked out just for them.  What a wonderful gift these older students are giving – the time and attention of a “big kid”.  Whenever we see them away from the class, you will hear the excited calls of “Our Reading Buddies!” and “Hi Reading Buddy!” shouted enthusiastically.  And you can be certain this will be a very special memory not only for the little ones but also for the 5th grade students.

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Barbara Hammel, 3-day Pre-K

Building Community in Pre-K

Morning meeting is a regular part of the day for all BCA students. Its primary purpose is to be a time of community building within the classroom. This special time has become one of my favorite parts of the day. In morning meeting, every member of our classroom is acknowledged and heard.


We begin our meeting with a greeting. We sit in a circle and the activity begins with the teacher. I greet the child sitting next to me with either a handshake, a high five, a fist bump, etc. We look our peer in the eyes and say, “Good morning [student’s name]”. We pass the greeting around the circle making sure to smile and look our friend in the eyes. It really is a precious moment to see these four and five-year-olds show respect and acknowledgment to their classmates.



The next step in our meeting is share time. Four and five-year-olds have A LOT to share which is why this time of our morning is our absolute favorite. Scholars get uninterrupted and undivided attention. The person speaking holds Mr. Bananas, our class pet. Everyone else looks at the speaker and listens intently. This is their time to shine!



Next in the line-up we will engage in some type of group activity. For my little ones, we usually stand up and move our bodies with a game or song. Our favorite right now is “Bop ‘Til You Drop” by Greg and Steve.


Last, we read our morning message. Our morning message usually informs our students about the day or asks a question for them to ponder. Responses are then shared among the scholars.


This important community building time is happening across all grade levels every morning at BCA. Ask your scholars about what is happening in this special time within their own classroom!

Laura Gail Ellis, Pre-K 3-Day Teacher


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