These young students have their own classroom with very diverse teaching materials and equipment. Our core teacher is Arielle Lane, with 6 years’ experience teaching in our school and earlier Montessori teaching. Arielle covers math, science, spelling, cursive handwriting, English, and social studies. Katie Bushma come to the classroom to teach music. Yolanda Guevara comes to the classroom to teach Spanish. Students leave the classroom for classes in Chinese (one of several levels, according to their ability) and science 1-2, as well as for PE and tennis.
A dual focus of early childhood education is academics and socialization. The 1st period has a focus on social interaction and structuring the academic day. Students organize their personal belongings in cubbies along the walls. All teachers for grades 1&2 draw on great resources in the room – about 1,000 books, large wall maps, large whiteboards, an LCD projector, instructional games, and other material. Comfortable furnishings allow students to settle in for classes – on chairs at tables for more formal instruction, on the rug for movement and play exercises.
Students gain skills and confidence in English, written and spoken, including phonics, grammar, and style. The depth of instruction is comparable to much higher grades in other schools, delving into genres of writing (e.g., discursive, argumentative), an expansive vocabulary, spelling, and illustration of stories. Students use the highly effective Singapore math program, each student working in a workbook selected as sufficiently challenging for his or her level. Students progress among math levels upon passing a hierarchy of in-book exams that verify their mastery of each level. Art as both drawing and 3-D construction is taught as a subject and is integrated into subjects such as English or social studies.