In the early grades, there is great emphasis on learning to read so that students can “read to learn” as they mature and progress through the grades. In addition to phonics, mastering the Dolch site words is an important part of the early education curriculum. Students work with our Resource Teacher in small groups to master new skill sets. They practice writing during “Writers’ Workshop” on a daily basis, learning basic letter shapes in Kindergarten, while in first grade they learn how to put sentences together. In second grade, students begin to write paragraphs with transitional words and phrases.
In addition to reading and language arts, students concentrate on math; at first, learning to count to 100 and then learning to add and subtract, as well as apply those computation skills to word problems. Learning gets more complex with each year as skills develop and enable students to grasp abstract concepts.
In addition to math and reading, the daily curriculum for students in grades K-2 consists of science, social studies, religion, phonics, spelling, and Writers’ Workshop. Students enjoy formal art instruction, music, and physical education classes. In addition to the core curriculum and our enrichment curriculum, our school counselor regularly visits the classrooms to work with our students on “Empathy and Inclusion”, a program that emphasizes self-advocacy, “Talking it Out”, and using “I” messages. Students are also beginning to learn “Mindful” strategies to help them cope with the daily stress that life sometimes offers.