The Beginners classes meet five half days per week and focus on many key areas of development with an increase in content and sophistication as students progress from Pre-Beginners into Beginners.
Children are introduced to phonics and reading readiness, and enjoy daily exposure to great classical children’s stories, word play (opposites, rhyming, synonyms, homonyms), proper pencil grip, and writing upper case letters. All lessons are taught with hands-on material using a multi-sensory approach. Each child has regular opportunities to lead the class, gaining confidence and leadership.
Discovery Time (Science)
Children enjoy different themes each week, including sequencing through the life cycle of a butterfly and chicken, exploration of temperature, weather, the four seasons, and sound. Lessons allow children to explore using all five senses through hands-on activities, outdoor exploration, and field trips.
Children are introduced to numbers and number concepts, measurements while baking, and patterns and shapes through dancing and singing. Using math manipulatives, children learn how to sort, count, and write numbers up to 10, with exposure of numbers up to 100.
French is taught through immersion and repetition. Numbers 1 to 10, days of the week, parts of the body, salutations, manners, animals, as well as audio recordings help children practice and produce authentic pronunciation. Children learn and sing French songs and poems, and often connect with thematic learning done in Discovery Time: children learn the “butterfly sequence” in French, for example.
Each class begins with prayer and worship during the “morning meeting”, and a new memory verse from the Bible is explored and learned each month. Bible stories, key verses, and hymns and songs are taught for memory.
Music and Rhythm
Using the Kodály approach, children have fun gaining music skills by comparing music through dichotomies (loud/soft, fast/slow) and by experiencing music through physical action and written notation. Students learn to match pitch with their voices and to keep a steady beat both with their bodies and with instruments. Additionally, all preschool classes enjoy music throughout the curriculum.
Many different materials are used in creative ways, often springing from a Discovery Time lesson or a piece of classic literature. Art is woven in throughout all subjects and also includes a designated time for further exploration. Tempura paint, water colors, glue, glitter, yarn, and other material are used to create beautiful art.
Sensory Motor Skills
Basic drawing, cutting, and pasting are incorporated to help develop fine motor skills. Dancing, jumping, skipping, hopping, and balancing help develop gross motor skills and spatial body awareness in relation to other people.
Children enjoy daily play in creative, open, non-structured ways, including dress up, kitchen play, blocks, play-doh, painting, puzzles, toys, and outdoor play.
Social development in the preschool years is as important as academic and spiritual growth. Children are encouraged to express their ideas, share with others, and enjoy interactions with classmates.