CURRICULUM AND TEACHING METHODS
In the development of our academic curriculum, the school refers to both the American Common Core State Standards (CCSS), the British Primary Curriculum (Key Stage 1), and EYFS Framework. Our goal is to use a child’s innate curiosity to approach academics in a fun stimulating way, thereby setting the foundation for lifelong learning.
Considering the multi-cultural nature of our school, we are eclectic in our methods of teaching to accommodate children of different nationalities, cultures and languages. Our school program has been developed and improved by over 40 years of teaching experience. We teach using developmentally appropriate practices, which allow children to learn at their own age and skill levels and at their own speed (see Philosophy). Our program allows for flexibility in the classroom and the ability to meet the individual needs of each child, and creates a balance between child-initiated and teacher-directed activities. We teach to a number of basic skills during Readiness and Circle times, and allow for experiential and exploratory activities during Learning Centers. All class work is done in the English language. As many of our students are English Language Learners (ELLs), our curriculum has been adapted to include activities to help a non-native child attain a level of English appropriate to his/her ability. Our teachers are qualified and experienced in Early Childhood with extra training in teaching English as an additional language. It is our policy to create a warm and caring environment for the young child, where each child is treated with dignity and thoughtfulness. We strive to meet each student’s needs physically, emotionally, socially and intellectually by using a multitude of activities to stimulate and assist the child. We also believe that children need a value system, and therefore, set limits that will encourage moral responsibility and respect for themselves and other people of the world.
Literacy and Reading
The Nursery and Early Learning classes’ curricula are aimed to facilitate the development of early literacy skills through fun, hands-on activities.
In the Pre-K class, children begin focusing on alphabetic knowledge and phonemic awareness, setting tha foundation to begin reading and writing as they grow and develop.
The Kindergarten program strengthens the development of each child’s literacy skills by reinforcing alphabetic knowledge and phonics. The children are introduced to reading through a variety of age appropriate texts, being encouraged to view it as apleasurable activity. In addition, the class begins writing throughout the year, further stregnthening the development of literacy skills. The older classes’ curriculum includes Jolly Phonics, a British phonics program to learn the alphabet. The kindergarten class also uses a variety of reading programs, including the British New Ginn Reading 360 Program, the Collins Big Cat series, and the American Lakeshore Learning Classroom Readers.
Ginn New Abacus Foundation/Reception mathematics, and Collins Easy Learning and Busy Ant Maths from the British National Curriculum are the basis of our Math curriculum for the Early Learning, Pre-K, and Kindergarten classes. The children are introduced to spatial and numerical concepts using a practical approach, which allows them to apply what they discuss in class to everyday situations.
Singing, use of rhythmic instruments and appreciation of different types of music are part of our program, and are included in daily activities. A Music Lesson for each class will be held once a week.
Our daily outdoor play and creative movement program provides children with a variety of ways to develop gross motor skills through movement activities, group games, and use of playground equipment.
In order to encourage the children to explore different kinds of movement, and to promote coordination and balance, a yoga lesson will be held once a week with the Early Learning, Pre-K, and Kindergarten classes.
Arts & Crafts
Many Arts and Crafts activities are part of the Curriculum, often based on the weekly themes or holiday projects. Each class has an Arts and Crafts Learning Center, as well as our special Arts and Cratfs room for painting activities, and the sand and water tray, which allow the child free choice and offer different materials and avenuess through which to express their creativity.
Vegetable Patch and Fruit Garden
As we strongly believe in contact with nature, the children plant a vegetable garden each year which is tended by them. Salads and vegetables are often prepared and eaten by the children.