“I like to give my students daily hands-on, sensory-rich experiences that give space to curiosity and wonder,” explains Cindy Hixson-Robles, our Eastern Shore Parents Teacher of the Month. “I like children to do most of the talking in class. The peers of children are powerful teachers as well.”
Cindy is currently a STEAM Teacher at Bayside Academy in Daphne, AL. She has been teaching there exclusively for 23 years. Currently, she supports each of the six classroom teachers’ student-led investigations for PK-3, PK-4 and Kindergarten. In addition, she works alongside the teachers and students in researching topics of interest to the students.
Cindy believes children are natural-born artists and scientists. Daily, she is passionate about cultivating environments for her students to develop their own thoughts and reasons for how and why we do things.
“We have a mud kitchen where children play with dirt, real metal pots and pans, and cooking utensils. These experiences are essential elements for brain development, language, social development, and motor skills,” Cindy said.
Another environment includes students playing with items like beads, feathers, shells, etc. She went on to share that since these ‘loose parts’ have no assigned purpose, they simply allow the children to make them into anything, allowing creativity to be cultivated.
Cindy has adopted and indeed implemented a child-led teaching method, called Reggio Emilia. She was initially introduced to and encouraged to consider this teaching method by one of the principals at Bayside Academy.
“The Reggio philosophy aligned with my core principles in education, and changed my entire professional life,” shared Cindy. “It is the gold standard in early childhood education. Reggio is student-centered, not teacher-centered in the traditional sense. It allows teachers to create learning experiences to support student thinking and the process of constructing knowledge.”
Cindy shared that her students have taught her everything of value in the world – love, compassion, patience, curiosity, and respect for one another. She hopes to leave her students with a few things beyond subject matter – like curiosity, creativity, and a passion for understanding the world.
“Children are brilliant in assimilating new experiences and constructing knowledge,” said Cindy. “Children are perfectly formed, and I am honored that I can be a part of unfolding the world around them.”
Cindy Hixson-Robles is married and has two children. She enjoys reading, opera, gardening and spending time with family.