How to Decide?
We trust you as educators. We know you want to make a difference and to get things done. There are hundreds of products out there. Each one is telling you that their product will help make a complex job even easier. This isn’t something we are going to promise. There is nothing easy about responding to the multiple and often contradictory needs of so many people. As educators, the children are why you do your work. Sometimes the children get lost in the midst of juggling the many other parts of your job. We know that when and if this happens, all of our hearts hurt a little bit.
So with all of this complexity, how do you figure out which program to use in order to ensure that your children are engaged, thriving, and learning? Some of the questions that teachers have asked us and we have been able to answer with our programs include:
What do I do to get my kids to focus and learn?
How do I get my students to treat each other better?
A few of my kids just never participate, how can I help them participate more?
How can I create opportunities for my kids to get to know each other better?
How do I show respect and inclusion through my teaching so that all the different cultures reflected in my classroom are visible to all of the students?
How do I make it safe for children to be their whole selves?
AMAZE doesn’t answer those questions without asking some of our own. Because the answer to each of these questions is as unique and specific as the school, the children, and the community where you live. We want to know what the conditions are like. We want to know about demographics, about what the children’s families are facing, about the school environment. All of these things go into answering those questions.
Our work helps answer some of those questions if you don’t have the answers. And then we work with you to find out more. We want to find out how children are or aren’t connected to each other, when those connections are positive or negative, and how they experience school and the classroom. We bring the student’s perspective into the conversation. And when that is done, and we have the information we need, AMAZE then provides strategies for change. Sometimes all it takes is the right five minute exercise at transition times to shift the experience of the student in their classroom or the child in their early learning program.
So how do we know this works? AMAZE creates all of our work through a research-based task force and piloting process. What this means is that we use research like this to help understand what is happening in the classroom, how different strategies are succeeding, and who the teachers and the children are. For every new program or program update, we pull together a task force of professionals and community members who share the experience or identity of our work. They both create the new curriculum or learning strategies and provide oversight during an extensive piloting process. AMAZE pilots all of our materials two and three times in order to ensure that our curricula are relevant, engaging, flexible, and accessible.
As an organization that started as a grassroots response to bias in the schools, our focus has been to center relationships and community in everything we do. Now that this foundation is strong, AMAZE is researching new methods of working at the overlap of anti-bias theory, SEL, diversity and inclusion, and bullying prevention. If you are a frequent visitor to this website, you will see our evidence grow.
What we can guarantee is that if anything we have talked about above is taking place in your classroom, and if we can ask you questions to get even more specific information about what is taking place, we can work with you to apply the tools, strategies, and interventions that will make change happen. The work of change is about the relationships between the educators, students, and their families. To help with those relationships, we have to build a relationship with you. The educator is the greatest asset to the school. You understand the students and you have the skills and awareness. We want to be there with you to support and guide you when things get tough and you need something to change. We also want to be there with you when you are just trying to do the powerful work that supports children to feel connected to themselves, their classroom, their families, and the world around them.