The core of our early elementary literacy program is a combination of phonics and whole word reading education. In kindergarten, we introduce important reading skills, as recommended by the National Institute for Literacy and The Partnership for Reading, while allowing those students who have ‘broken the code’ and begun reading to soar ahead, using the center method to differentiate language arts instruction.
We track reading instruction in grades one and two to support students on all levels of achievement.
Because we think that reading and writing are closely allied we have introduced the Writing Workshop program which encourages students to love writing, see writing as a communicative endeavor, and on all grade levels is based on four principles: students write about their own lives; they will use a consistent writing process; students will work in authentic ways; and ultimately they will develop independence as writers.
We have adopted the Singapore method of teaching math which is a highly conceptual approach to teaching math. Though it also teaches the ‘how’ of math, it emphasizes the ‘why’ of math, encouraging students to understand number sense, the ideas behind the operations of numbers and the problem solving in which they are engaged in the classroom and in their lives.
In K, science studies are integrated in the students’ discovery of knowledge in general. So if they are exploring a given letter or blend, they may also explore a STEMF! (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math and Fun!) phenomenon such as velocity and everything that implies—pullies, ramps, etc.
In Grades 1 and 2, students work in our science lab with our science specialists and have a set schedule of topics, often integrating again, with the stories they read, or the technology they encounter (e.g., robotics). The goal is to engage and uncover the wonders of the world they are discovering as they grow.
Oceans and Undersea Life
The Human Body
Cycles: The Seasons
Insects: Helpful and Harmful
The Human Body