Pre-first literacy instruction encompasses the entire school day through every subject and activity. Specific instruction incorporates phonemic awareness, phonics, spelling, reading, writing and public speaking. Students have multiple opportunities for whole group, small group and individual instructed activities.
The Orton-Gillingham multi-sensory approach is used daily for sequential phonics, spelling and reading instruction.
To facilitate public speaking, communication and self-confidence, pre-first students participate in three class-specific performances.The Halloween Poetry Oration is performed for kindergarten and first grade students, as well as parents. At "The Stone Soup Feast", students perform Thanksgiving poems and songs for parents, invited quests and our Headmaster, Mr. Young. In March, students perform the class play, FISH TALES, for their families, as well as for the entire Lower School student body and faculty.
Daily handwriting instruction is incorporated into the phonics and spelling instructional activities. Emphasis is placed on proper pencil grip and letter formation, as well as letter and word spacing. Handwriting instruction involves strengthening fine motor skills, and includes visual motor skill activities.
Pre-First math instruction couples the Math in Focus curriculum with the 1st grade Singapore
Math curriculum to provide a
challenging study for students, without duplicating what students will learn in
their first grade classes. Students receive whole-group and small-group
instruction using a multi-sensory approach to experience math and related concepts
in "everyday experiences”.
Science and Social Studies topics are taught through multi-sensory activities, including experiments and field trips. Pre-first students have the wonderful opportunity to participate in six specific trips throughout the school year.
Students also shop and prepare a "feast", plant flowers, and dig for dinosaur bones. Other topics studied include: frogs, spiders, owls, penguins and butterflies; our five senses; holidays; and, famous Americans throughout history.
Pre-first students utilize The Children's Bible, which takes each Bible story in order and simplifies it for a greater understanding of the important details of each Biblical experience. Accompanied by vivid and colorful illustrations, children gain an understanding of the excitement of the Bible and its meaning today.
Students learn about the leadership skills of King David and the courage of Queen Esther. They also learn about the life of Christ and the meaning of His death, burial and resurrection. The "Fruit of the Spirit" and the "Armor of God" are important aspects of pre-first learning, and hands-on activities provide a fun way for students to creatively interpret what they have learned in their Bible studies.
The pre-first physical education program is designed to help students progress toward competency in selected motor skills. Children learn to identify fundamental movement patterns, and begin to establish a movement vocabulary.
Spanish instruction is offered three times a week. Because many pre-first students have had Spanish classes in kindergarten, the Spanish curriculum reflects units unique to pre-first. Teaching methods are carefully structured so that children learn and interact comfortably in an immersion-style setting. Much of the basic vocabulary from Kindergarten is used repeatedly throughout the year, so that incoming students become equally proficient.
In pre-first, students meet weekly for hands-on art instruction. Teachers emphasize the creative exploration of different art materials, including markers, oil pastels, chalk pastels and paint. Students communicate ideas that are personally important in a variety of ways. They experiment with clay, sculpture, and printing processes.
Within the nurturing structure of the pre-first class experience, children continue working on musical skills learned in kindergarten. Within this smaller group environment, they build their confidence to become creative young musicians.
Pre-first students participate in a library orientation and learn to locate library materials using a computer to search the online catalog. Students are introduced to biographies, picture dictionaries, encyclopedias, and learn basic research skills. Book awards and literary elements, such as main idea, sequence, cause and effect, character and setting are discussed. Students independently locate and select books based on personal interests, and continue to be exposed to a variety of literature through read-aloud texts and other media.