As a Christian school, all areas of our curriculum reflect and emphasize God's love. Our activities include:
Music: Different types of music are introduced through games, singing, listening, and creative movement.
Science: Students learn about nature and their world by observing and exploring.
Art: Students experience through the use of materials, creativity and self-expression of ideas and feelings.
Dramatic Play: Students have opportunities to recreate their world by dressing up and participating in role-playing activities.
Mathematics: Through a variety of manipulatives and table games, students learn to count, match, sort, compare, and order.
Pre-reading/writing: Students are encouraged to explore books in our library as well as listen to stories and read aloud. A variety of writing tools and mediums are provided for fine motor skills and development.
Faith experiences: Students hear bible stories, participate in singing joyful songs of praise, and attend chapel weekly. We share the message of God's inclusive love and teach each one of us is a child of God.
As a Christian School, we believe God is at work in children’s play. By creating an intentional environment, rich in discovery opportunities and careful observation, emerging interests ever evolve the curriculum. Rooted in STEM-PAN (Science, Engineering, Technology, Math, through Play, Arts, and Nature) philosophy developed by Sue Houglum, each child receives an education unique for their individual needs. Each child has an opportunity to tell their story and is presented with a “My Story” portfolio at the culmination of the year. Families are encouraged to interact with their child’s story throughout the year to gain understanding of what their child is learning, as well as how.
Combining the desire for a solid STEM program with the methods and techniques that are effective for early learning (play, the arts and nature) this model emerges as a developmentally appropriate curriculum.
Benefits of curriculum based on STEM
The aim of early education is to support and strengthen a child’s desire to learn, which when instilled at a young age, becomes a disposition that can last a lifetime. STEM education, based on intellectual goals support this aim. “Intellectual” goals include the areas of hypothesizing, predicting, reasoning, experimenting, constructing, and analysis. These ideas are at the heart of a STEM education.
STEM investigations engage the minds of children.They discover the what, how, and why of their interests. Academic skills are learned naturally as children become eager to express their findings, their results. Academic skills (reading, writing, numbers, etc.) have meaning because the children see them as useful and important. STEM investigation leads to active learners, not passive ones. Children learn to take responsibility and initiative in their learning.
Benefits of learning through PLAY
In the world of a child, play is not an extravagance or a waste of time. Play is more than amusement, exercise, or relaxation. The difference between a child’s ideas of play and those ideas of adults is game changing. Our education system is in danger of projecting our adult ideas onto the play of young children. In children, play is the primary, fundamental way of learning.
This calls us to rethink our ideas of play and learning. Too many adults, including teachers and parents, believe young children should be engaged in reading, math, and computer instruction. It may be important to learn these academic skills, but for a young child, this education comes from their play experiences. Play experiences created by the child become the foundation to academic learning.
Benefits of using the “many languages of children”, especially ART
The Reggio Emelia approach to early learning holds that children are curious, strong and capable. They are full of knowledge and wonder. Each child holds potential. The child’s curiosity supports their interest in the world and finding their place within it.
Some of the fundamentals of the Reggio Approach:
- Children are capable of constructing their own learning and are driven to understand more.
- Children learn about themselves and their place in the world in a social context, that is, through their interactions with others, both caregivers and peers. The approach focuses on collaboration and working in groups on specific projects of interest to the group where each child’s thoughts, contributions and questions are valued.
- With adult support, children search for answers and results through their own investigations. Rather than the child asking a question and the adult offering the answers, the search is undertaken together.
- Children are communicators, using their many languages to investigate, explore, and reflect on their experiences.
- Following the parent and the teacher, Reggio calls the environment “the third teacher”. The environment has potential to inspire children. The space encourages collaboration, communication and exploration. The space houses real materials and tools. The space is cared for by the children and the adults.
Benefits of learning through NATURE – Louv / Warden
In the past decade, the benefits of connecting children with nature have been well documented. This body of research shows children’s social, emotional, academic, and physical health is positively impacted when they have daily contact with nature. Additionally, as a child encounters nature, their sense of wonder and awe is enhanced. This impacts a child’s spirit.
Positive impacts include:
- Supports creativity and problem solving.
- Enhances cognitive abilities.
- Improves academic performance.
- Reduces Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) symptoms.
- Increases physical activity.
- Improves nutrition, especially when combined with gardening experiences.
- Improves social relations.
- Improves self-discipline, enhances peace, self-control and self-discipline within inner city youth, and particularly in girls.
- Reduces stress.