A Transitional Primary Program
We strive to create an integrated approach to teaching, involving both academic and developmental aspects to learning. We want this transitional time for students to create a love for learning and help students move smoothly into their formal education. In looking at the whole child and choosing curriculum that is developmentally appropriate we are able to ready the child for school while meeting the needs of our young learners.
To ensure a smooth transition into the child’s formal education care has been taken to provide a natural and comfortable learning environment. Neutral colors have been used in decorating and elements of nature have been dispersed throughout the classroom. Displays and activities are intentionally set up throughout the classroom to promote learning and curiosity.
The use of various means of technology adds to the learning experience. Classroom computers provide students with opportunities to learn through educational games. Smartboard technology enhances instruction of academic subjects. Video cameras open up new elements of learning as children plan skits and record their performances, allowing students to learn through play while building community and communication skills. Available Ipods and MP3 players open doors to music and exploration of sound. A listening center provides other listening opportunities.
Our daily schedule has time built in for core subjects, such as Bible, Math and Phonics. The day also includes group meetings that discuss and explore various studies in Social Studies and Science. The students engage in “Work Time”, an extended amount of time when the child can make their own learning choices by selecting intentionally placed activities from around the room. This module of time also includes snack. In addition students have PE, Music, and Art, rest time, recess and lunch. There are also opportunities for regular outdoor learning.
We have strived to select curriculum that is engaging and hands-on, as well as a curriculum that focuses on the whole child. We have selected curriculum that allows for a fuller understanding on concepts and encourages students to think, reason and discuss presented topics. We have chosen age appropriate curriculum that takes students through a learning process where full awareness and understanding can be achieved. We want the student to be able to make sense of their world and understand that learning is a process and not just an end result.
During our group meetings we engage in studies centered around Social Studies and Science topics. In any given study we first discuss what we know and then move into what we want to learn by asking questions. We use these questions to guide our learning as we move through the study. The students observe, listen, experiment, interview, participate in discussions, etc… Our studies may include but are not limited to Buildings, Balls, Clothing, Magnets, and Environmental Awareness.
This module of time is set up to promote choice and ownership in learning. Students engage in various learning opportunities that are set up around the room. The child may choose one activity over the allotted time or various activities for shorter periods of time. These learning opportunities include a drama center, block center, practical life materials (such as pouring, scooping, tying, polishing, etc.), math materials, language materials, sensory exploration, other study related activities, and various center activities.
Large group interactive lessons focus on one story per week and work through a sequence of lessons that help the child not only familiarize with the story but also learn to apply the Bible truth learned from the story. We currently are using the Stepping Stones curriculum.
We have adopted Math in Focus, a Math curriculum designed with Singaporean pedagogy, methodology and instructional materials. This series consistently employs the Concrete®Pictorial®Abstract pedagogy allowing students to fully understand abstract Math concepts. Math talk and discussions are used to gage student understanding and help students actualize these understandings. This Math curriculum has been adopted by K-5th grade allowing continuity through the beginning years of your child’s education.
In search of a phonics curriculum that is both engaging and age appropriate we have adopted Fountas and Pinnell Phonics. Students will investigate the relationships between sounds and letters through word sorts, games, group lessons, etc… Using this integrated approach the students will train their ears to listen and identify sounds, an important step to being ready to read and write. This phonics program is adopted in grades K-3 allowing for continuity and steady growth.
Adding to the Learning Experience
Experiences are what make up our education and field trips are an excellent way to broaden the child’s understanding of their world. Students will explore their world by visiting farms, museums, and community helpers and buildings, as well as taking hikes and visiting nature centers.
Nature is known as God’s second book. It helps to tell of His love and His plan for each of us. Throughout the year the students will have opportunities to observe the outdoors, work in the dirt and complete nature projects. Children naturally love the outdoors and we work to feed that interest and guide them in their learning.