We use an integrated literacy program in the Elementary as an instructional platform for all grade level curricula. The program is based on the Comprehensive Early Literacy Learning (CELL/ExLL) framework which includes specific reading and writing strategies to support the teaching of reading and writing. For reading: Read-Aloud, Guided Reading, Interactive Reading and Independent Reading. For writing: Interactive Writing, Writer’s Workshop and Independent Writing. In the area of writing, the school has adopted the 6+1 Traits of Writing as an instructional model for what good writing looks like.
Classroom climate and use of space support a rich learning community where you can observe students reading from leveled classroom libraries, sitting comfortably on rugs and discussing favorite characters during book club meetings. The program’s goal is to guide students in becoming independent readers and writers while instilling a love for reading and writing.
For the teaching of mathematics we use a mixture of concrete and abstract instructional methods. For example, manipulatives are used to teach all concepts of math concretely before moving to abstract symbols and concepts. The math curriculum is supported by the Macmillan McGraw-Hill series Math Connects which offers parents and students a number of online resources to encourage math practice at home. Problem-solving and critical thinking skills are emphasized in all grade levels. Science and Social Studies are taught as integrated units of study.
An integrated curriculum is encouraged in the Elementary in order that students can make connections between new content and previous knowledge. Teachers design units of study based on program enduring understandings and essential questions. Collaborative learning opportunities, the use of a science laboratory and media services support a more hands-on learning experience. The Elementary curriculum includes weekly instruction in Music, Visual Arts, Physical Education, Computer Science and Library Skills. Technology is integrated in all areas of the curriculum to engage students and support instruction.
The school’s Character Education Program and Counseling Office expose children to life-long values through age-appropriate activities. Children learn in a safe and disciplined environment in which respect to one-self, school and others is greatly valued. Classroom management strategies are reinforced to establish routines and foster a disciplined learning environment.
Small group instruction has been integrated in the classroom schedule in order to facilitate differentiated instruction and teacher interventions. Students are grouped according to ability and needs allowing teachers to monitor the progress of each child to recognize readiness in the different stages of learning. Differentiated instruction and individual educational plans are used to support students in achieving the learning goals.