Lower School

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Beverly MacDowell

Faculty Information
Location(s) Lower School
Title(s) Lower School Kindergarten Assistant
Other Information
2006 
 

Beverly MacDowell is a kindergarten assistant in the Lower School at Carolina Day School.

Get to know Beverly MacDowell: 

In what ways can you teach/engage children at CDS that you couldn't at other schools? CDS is the only school I have experienced as a teacher. However, I feel certain that my time with my students is not rushed and is quality learning time because of our small class size. I am in no way panicked to 'get to' each child. Children certainly do not 'fall through the cracks' at our school. Each child is known very well.”
 
What do you like most about your job at CDS?  I love the relationships I make with the children in the kindergarten and watching their paths continue in the school as they grow older. I also love working with my fellow teachers and staff at CDS. This place is family to me. It is a sweet place to work, work is a pleasure!”
 
In your opinion, how does the CDS community inspire students to be courageous and curious, wonder about things that they don’t understand, try new things, and develop individual passions?  The children in our kindergarten are encouraged to ask questions and are unafraid to not always have an answer. We applaud and encourage raised hands...questions are a good thing. We create projects that result in no two alike:  Asheville architecture from boxes, Japanese fish kites that fly, 3D European castles with turrets and knights, our solar system/ planets realistically painted & cut to scale including the asteroid belt so that each child may take them home for recreation....too many fabulous, learning projects to mention!  They are all child engineered, cut and made. There is very little 'teacher prep' when it involves skills the kids can learn and do for themselves.  Teachers provide accurate information and guidance. There are great conversations happening while projects are made. The children are engaged!”
 
How would you describe your classroom? Our classroom is warm and inviting. Our Kindergarten is a safe place to learn and children are gentle with one another. These children are eager to be here.”
 
What books and authors inspire you? We as teachers have a reading assignment every summer. I particularly enjoyed Richard Louv's book Last Child in the Woods a couple of summers back.  It spoke about a generation of children conceiving of outdoors as a play park with mulched ground and padded poles. This book really spoke to me as a lover of the outdoors. In order for our children to be good stewards of the forest and land they must know it firsthand. Our school uses outdoor learning spaces for lessons and study. The Kindergarten has a choice of sunny playground, our beautiful playing fields and the lovely wooded area out our immediate back door. We use the wooded area to the fullest and the children LOVE it!  They play creatively in this area in a way they do not in the playground area. Without props of swings and sandbox, etc. (which are great too), they invent games. They build forts of sticks and the stump and long log become pirate ships, etc.  These woods are used by all lower school grades and this principle holds for all ages.”
 
What is your favorite quote about education, mentorship, children, and/or learning?  Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire."  William Butler Yeats
 
How would you describe yourself and/or your approach to your job in 10 words or less? First and foremost is my relationship with the children...each child.”
 
Which classroom projects/events are you known for? “Our Serengeti National Park of Africa diorama project comes to mind.  The children love learning about all of the unique animals of Africa first of all. I always like to point out to the children that they might remember this project from Kindergarten when they are in second grade creating a book report. The diorama is a wonderful and exciting way to illustrate a book. I enjoy seeing them learn to think ahead and believe it helps them view what they are creating in a grander light.”
 
What personal passion brings balance to your life? “I love to walk in the woods and identify wild flowers. I am a member and hike leader for the Carolina Mountain Club. I am also a hike leader for the OM Sanctuary. My other great love is reading. I am active in 3 book clubs, one has been running for 18+ years and one is the fabulous CDS teacher/employee book club. I also enjoy being a member of the Asheville Film Society.”
 
Is there anything else we should know about you and your work?  I love coming to work, which is a great joy. I know so many people think of their work as the enemy! I am a lucky woman to have this school as my extended family.  My own children are products of CDS. My son graduated in May (2013) and my daughter will be a junior this fall. They have been at CDS since pre-K. And just as we know our children in our Kindergarten, my children are well known quantities at this school. They have received the particular help and attention that they have needed. It is the best investment my husband and I could have ever made. They too have enjoyed 'coming to work'.”
 
How is CDS different from what you experienced as a child in school? This school is so much finer than what I experienced as a child. In just focusing on our 'specials' it is evident. PE with Coach Southern 3x a week plus field days and the 100 mile club (with obesity our national epidemic). The children love him, experience a variety of sports/skills within his units of study. I especially love the children experiencing his gentle male influence. Music instruction 2x a week with Mrs. Corbin...our Kindergarteners know composers and pieces of music conversationally! Opportunities to perform and build confidence skills!  Library visited weekly with Mrs. Howell ('I love books, I love reading, I love the library!') and the children see it is a resource for we teachers as they assist in picking up and returning books for our classroom. It is a given in their lives without thought. My Spanish lessons began in middle school, well that is too late. Everyone knows that what you learn earlier comes easier. (Example: my attempts to snow ski at 18).  We have a native speaker, Paula Carson. She is adept at getting the language over to our kids in a pleasing way. Our kids are with her 3x a week, which is the way to learn a language...in smaller doses rather than one big dose. And lastly, who wouldn't want to go learn and play with Mrs. Keeble in the Art Studio twice a week? She is a highly gifted Art instructor using a variety of mediums.  The children build confidence and pride here too as their work is on display for all frequently.  No, these are offerings that I didn't have as a child. I wish all children could be here.”
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