We utilize a variety of research-based and research-driven programs to create a curriculum that suits every type of learner. The systems we use contextualize learning through a multi-modal approach to instruction and student exploration.
At the Preschool 2 and 3 levels, we focus on phonemic awareness, or the sounds associated with letters. The Zoo-phonics program reinforces letter sounds, letter recognition, reading and spelling through fun animal characters and their corresponding kinesthetic movements. Zoo-phonics utilizes the “hierarchy of learning” which follows this progression: listening, speaking, reading and writing. Capital and lowercase letters are introduced together so that children can begin to form associations between the two.
In Preschool 4, we continue to use Zoo-phonics in conjunction with the Language Arts program, Happily Ever After. Utilizing classic stories from children’s literature, Happily Ever After focuses on development in the areas of oral language and vocabulary, listening and discernment, direction following, and fine motor skills. The program is designed to accompany the Superkids Reading and Language Arts curriculum our students use in Kindergarten through Second Grade.
Our body awareness and handwriting program is Handwriting without Tears (HWT) a component of Learning Without Tears. This award-winning program was designed by occupational therapist, Jan Olsen, and draws from her experiences working with children and the frustration they often felt with traditional handwriting programs. “Children play, build, sing, color, write and learn” as they develop fine and gross motor control and color, shape, letter and number recognition.
The goal of our math program is for students to develop number sense by discovering relationships between numbers and examining properties of numbers. This is fostered gradually as a result of exploring numbers in a variety of contexts with hands-on materials and relating them in ways that are not limited by traditional algorithms. Number sense is further reinforced by our use of the system developed by the University Child Development School in Seattle, WA. Their contextualized math strategies have won national and international recognition for increasing math aptitude as well as boosting students’ creative and critical thinking. Lessons are designed around classroom themes or literature selections and allow children to “solve” the math problem by working with manipulatives and then recording their results in a variety of ways.
Science and Social Studies are embedded in our theme-based weekly programs as well.