Caring Community of Learners
Our teachers help children learn how to establish positive, constructive relationships with others. They support children’s forming of friendships and provide opportunities for them to play and work together. Teachers design all classroom activities to allow for the full participation of all children, including those who are not fluent in English. The classroom is seen as a setting where children learn to work collaboratively, often working in groups to explore common goals. Peer interaction is common in the classroom, and teachers provide many opportunities for children to work together.
Enhance Development And Learning
Teachers provide a safe environment and age-appropriate supervision as children are gradually given more responsibility. To help children acquire new skills or understandings, teachers select instructional strategies, taking into consideration the intellectual demands of the learning task in relation to the participating learners. Teachers help children make connections among related words to expand their vocabulary. Our teachers draw on children’s eagerness to make sense of the world and to acquire competence by engaging them in interesting and challenging learning experiences.
Curriculum to Achieve Important Goals
In each area, the curriculum is consistent with high-quality, achievable, and challenging early learning standards, such as those adopted at the state level. Teachers plan a curriculum that is responsive and respectful of the specific contexts of children’s experiences. Teachers connect curriculum topics with children’s interests and with what children already know and can do.
Children play outside every day and have specialized instruction in physical education on a regular basis. Physical activities are integrated into various learning experiences. Equipment and activities are adapted and/or modified to allow for active participation by children.
Language and Literacy
Teachers use reading to engage children in response activities that involve them in speaking purposefully to the group. Teachers help children use communication and language as tools for thinking and learning. Special time is regularly set aside for children to choose and read books on their own, and a well-stocked reading corner is maintained for this purpose. Our teachers value and teach phonics systematically as part of a complete reading and language arts programs. To help students develop comprehension strategies and monitor their own understanding, teachers engage them in a guided discussion when reading or listening.
Our teachers motivate children to learn math by connecting content to real-life, meaningful problems and situations. Every day, teachers provide focused mathematics time that is interesting and meaningful to children, using various contexts, and find opportunities to integrate math learning experiences with other curriculum areas. Across the primary grades, the curriculum help children make connections between the content area of focus, such as number and operations, and other related areas of mathematics, such as data analysis or algebra.
Teachers cultivate and build on children’s curiosity to emphasize inquiry in science experiences. Children are encouraged to observe and ask questions about the natural world and to think about what might happen during various scientific processes.
Teachers encourage children to use technology (e.g., cameras, websites) to document their experiences and work. They invite children’s explorations of the various operations and actions possible with the community and beyond through use of the Internet (e.g., participating in a national Web-based children’s science study of bird migrations). Technology is used to document children’s learning.
The content of social studies curriculum in the early primary grades connects to children’s lives and is integrated with other learning domains. The teachers introduce projects and/or units that include aspects of the traditional social science of geography, history, economics, and civics/political science.
Classroom teachers (on their own or working with the specialist) help children explore and work with various art and music media and techniques. Children have the opportunity to manipulate advanced art materials, such as papier mache or yarn stitching, and to explore new materials as their skills and creativity grow. Also, the joy of music is central to the experiences teachers share with children.
Assessing Children’s Development and Learning
Assessment is done for four specific, beneficial purposes: planning and adapting curriculum to meet each child’s developmental and learning needs, helping teachers and families monitor children’s progress, evaluating and improving program effectiveness, and screening and diagnosis of children with disabilities or special learning and developmental needs.
Relationship with Families
Teachers and administrators view families as partners in the educational process. Families’ visits to school are welcomed. Family events and a variety of opportunities for participation in the school and classroom are planned, and these are scheduled with families’ needs in mind. Members of each child’s family are encouraged to participate in the classroom in ways that they feel comfortable.