Language and Literacy
We use a combination of emergent literacy strategies and science-based reading research strategies. Oral storytelling provides deep phonological awareness as children hear new words and rich language used in an engaging story. Phonemic awareness is built through a multisensory approach using songs and actions, which lays a foundation for beginning reading. Beginning writing is encouraged through the use of blank books, labeling of drawings, dictation and invented spelling.
We use a variety of engaging manipulatives and materials to gently teach beginning math skills such as number, quantity, more and less than, measurement, geometry, place value, simple addition and subtraction, and base ten. These concepts are brought through games and projects.
In the Primary classroom we explore the concepts of life science including human life and animal life, particularly those animals that children have direct contact with (birds, insects, spiders, prairie and woodland animals,farm animals) and local plant life and gardening. We learn about what plants and animals need to survive. Earth science in Primary includes learning about the weather, seasons, water cycle, conservation, and the natural features of our local environment. Physical science includes learning about construction and building, movement and motion, solids and liquids, water and it’s properties, light and shadow.
The Primary classroom spends a significant time outdoors everyday. We observe changes in the environment around us - trees and other plants, water, temperature, clouds, sky, ground. Through hikes on the grounds, children experience first hand what it is like to maneuver their way through dense forest, harvest apples in the orchard and grapes in the arbor, watch geese land and take off from the pond, search out native animal homes, observe plant growth and harvest vegetables in the school garden, experience and learn about the value of composting, observe the bee hives and learn about bee keeping.
Students are introduced to a variety of visual art materials including clay, watercolors and other paints, colored pencil, oil pastels, glue and many natural materials that we gather from the grounds like acorns, sticks, leaves, twigs, berries, and pinecones. We spend time each week at the art table drawing and constructing. Students have free access to creative art materials everyday - both indoors and outside. The school grounds provide many opportunities to explore art using natural materials. Students create nature collages, make word art with small sticks, make grape vine wreaths to decorate and create sculptures with rocks, sticks, pinecones and other found objects.
In the Primary classroom we explore beginning principles of music, yoga and creative movement. The Primary classroom is a musical place where children have opportunities to learn new songs, play traditional instruments as well as handmade instruments, and perform for their families and friends. We have yoga and/or creative movement throughout the week and focus on stretching, balance, controlling our bodies and relaxation techniques through simple yoga poses and movement activities.
The Primary students have Spanish immersion twice a week with a native speaking instructor The Spanish language is learned through games, storytelling, songs and finger play.