MNPS Voices: Greg Smedley-Warren

MNPS Voices: Greg Smedley-Warren, Kindergarten Teacher
Posted on 03/24/2022
Smedley-Warren in class

Before entering Greg Smedley-Warren’s kindergarten classroom at J.E. Moss Elementary, students take off their shoes and slip on fluffy house slippers, some with unicorns, teddy bears or dinosaur feet. This sets a tone of comfort and allows students to feel the classroom is their home.

Each pair of slippers is also a reminder of the individuality of the students in our school buildings and their unique needs. Students in Smedley-Warren’s classroom are independent, empowered, smart and successful through small personal choices that make a big difference in their mindsets.

“I want students to take ownership of their learning the second they walk in the door. We have multiple sitting areas, giving them the freedom to wiggle, sit, stand or lay down. It gives them the buy-in to feel empowered to guide their own learning,” Smedley-Warren said. “This is not my classroom; this is OUR classroom.”

Once students are comfortable in the space, they are comfortable to ask questions and try new things. A large percentage of Smedley-Warren’s students are English Learners, meaning English is not their first language. The students are given safe space for mistakes, and Smedley-Warren uses modeling when teaching lessons to support all learning styles and needs.


“I love our diversity at J.E. Moss. It opens up opportunities for students to learn about other languages and cultures, and you see students helping each other to understand the lessons,” he said.

Kindergarten is most students’ first experience in school. Smedley-Warren loves the genuine excitement that comes from new learners. They are unfiltered, curious and buzzing with energy. Before students enter Pre-K or kindergarten, Smedley-Warren recommends that parents engage their children in conversation and read lots of books.

“Becoming a parent has made me a better educator in many ways, but I did realize how important it is to talk to your child and have conversations, even when they are babies,” he said. “It’s so easy, and I don’t think people realize how much impact it has on learning.”

Smedley-Warren also recommends letting your child pick out their own books to read. This small action makes the child feel empowered and communicates that their interests matter. His class has been reading about leprechauns, Jane Goodall, female heroes and Black history; the bookshelves in his classroom are filled with endless stories about all types of people, experiences or things.

Smedley-Warren’s class is just a small sample of the many colorful and welcoming Pre-K-4th-hippo in classroomgrade classrooms at J.E. Moss and across the district. (But only a few have a hippo in a tutu, a stage and a trampoline used to reward students with bounces.)

“J.E. Moss is a family, and our focus and priority is to make sure our students feel safe, loved, and receive the best education possible,” Smedley-Warren said. “It is a great school community; we show up every day with the energy and desire to teach and learn while being kind and caring for each other.”

J.E. Moss Enrollment Event March 26

Live in the neighborhood and interested in attending J.E. Moss? The school is hosting an enrollment event on Saturday, March 26, from 3 to 5 p.m. Meet staff, ask questions, enjoy a sweet treat and enroll for school on site.

Learn more about the event and the paperwork required to enroll on the J.E. Moss website.

Pre-K and Kindergarten Applications and Registration

Register for kindergarten or Pre-K online. The initial Pre-K application period closes on March 31.

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