We really want children to enjoy books. We want children to be comfortable and confident in handling a book, to learn to turn the pages with care, to enjoy the progression of a story, to discover the beauty and excitement that books offer! We see reading as an opportunity to bond, a great way to introduce new vocabulary and to enhance language skills, listening and auditory memory skills, just to mention a few benefits. Through a variety of games and activities teachers will be focusing on visual and auditory perception, reading comprehension and imagination/creativity.
Our goal with writing is to help develop the muscles of the arm and hand to prepare for writing. We also work on training the ears to listen for the different sounds that are needed for understanding the phonetic sounds that each letter makes and training the eyes to prepare for reading from left to right. We instill an interest in learning to write by preparing the environment with great activities that engage the child, in a fun way. In writing we will be working on prewriting skills by introducing new activities and crafts to the children. Each activity, while being fun for the children also helps to develop fine motor skills and other skills that are necessary for writing.
Basic math concepts are introduced to encourage children to use their reasoning and critical thinking skills. Colour identification, shape recognition, counting, quantity, measurement, and estimation are just a few of the concepts that we explore with children. We will be working on projects to develop basic reasoning, arithmetic, colour and shape recognition skills. We use everyday items and situations that the children can relate to as a teaching tool! Early number concepts will be introduced in all areas of the classroom, including rote counting during group time and building number vocabulary through the use of books.
This program includes Music, Art, Drama, Dance and Yoga for all levels and for students in JK2 and JK3 we add Cultural Immersion and a second language such as French or Spanish. Each teacher has a topic that they will teach to students at different levels. Our goal with Expressive Arts is to encourage children to be creative, learn to express themselves and to spark passion.
Our natural playgrounds are developed with the same attention to detail as the rest of our learning environments. Children are encouraged to experiment and challenge themselves, physically, as they build their risk assessment skills and build self-confidence. We are focusing on helping children connect with nature. We take the children outside, twice a day through all kinds of weather, so we teach the children to dress for the weather. There are lots of learning opportunities that we would miss out on if we only went out during pleasant weather conditions.
Our program is designed to help a child to discover their own voice and the importance of that voice. Across all our curriculum we are helping children to discover who they are and what is important to them, to deepen their understanding and to draw their own conclusions. We introduce children to their community and help them to discover how they figure in that community and how they can make a difference. We take the time to explore friendships, learning to identify their emotions and how to express them
Our Helping Hands program is how we introduce Socials to our young students. Our goal with this program is to help the children to better understand themselves, their community and how they are an important member in that community. As with all our curriculum, we help children to explore and expand on topics that are meaningful, relevant and of interest to them.
Science is all about exploration, reasoning and understanding the world around us. Our programs are meant to introduce children to the natural elements of our world and to encourage children to develop their critical thinking and reasoning skills based on hands on experiences and based on their own observations. This is particularly true with our integrated approach of the disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, or STEM. As we explore these activities, the children will have the opportunity to manipulate materials, try and test out their theories. The children will have opportunities to problem-solve and to work cooperatively as they work towards a common goal and share their own ideas.
As with all areas of Rothewood Academy curriculum, our goal with presenting Science to the children, is to guide the children in the process of inquiry using the Scientific method.
We are encouraging children to develop and use their critical thinking skills by developing theories based on their own observations and hands on experiences. They can formulate and test their theories and make their own conclusions. This process also helps children to developing reasoning and deductive skills. As a teacher, we are not here to answer the children’s questions, but to help children to ask the questions AND find their answers! We want to help children discover and get a better understanding of their world.
Children are naturally curious. If we observe even young children when they are presented with a new material, we will see the child use all their senses as they try to gather as much information about it, as possible. They will try to taste it. smell it, roll it, drop it, throw it, shake it just to see ‘what happens when I do this…?’ Our Science program harnesses that natural curiosity.
The importance of our Science curriculum is all in the PROCESS not the accumulated knowledge! We want children to continuously question everything around them. As they do, they are building on their thinking or reasoning skills. They are encouraged to think independently. They are not learning to rely on someone else to provide the answers. They are figuring out how to find the answers for themselves! This type of approach is much more appealing to the children and is more likely to leave a lasting impression.
Observing things happening in our environment, especially outdoors, is a terrific way to for children to explore Science. As we follow the interests of the child, we will ask leading questions to provoke more questions from the children. If we notice a bug fly into the playground we might ask “What is this? I wonder, how did it get here?” As we ask these types of questions you are demonstrating the process of inquiry, which is the beginning of the Scientific Method.
Our youngest children, our Babies, may not be able to verbalize their ideas, just yet but they do understand and enjoy learning more about Science, as they are the original “researchers”!
Help children to explore their questions by providing great resources.
It is not our responsibility to answer the children’s questions. We help them formulate their questions and help them to express their ideas and theories.
This is an especially important time for both children and the teachers to connect and for the children to feel welcomed as part of the classroom community. It is also a way for us to gently begin the day, to discuss important things that might be happening each day and for our older children to have opportunities to share.
Our mornings officially begin once our morning snack has been packed up. The children will wash hands and face, use the washroom, or have a diaper change and gather on the carpet for “reading’ time. Once most of the children are ready, the teacher who is conducting circle time will bring out their circle time props. Usually, the children are watching as they come to anticipate this special time with great excitement!
Our goal with circle time is to have the children gather and build on a sense of community. Children will be encouraged to participate in circle activities, have opportunities to share (show and tell) and have a chance to share their ideas. For some children, this will be easy to do but for others they will need encouragement to feel comfortable enough to share. Circle time offers opportunity to contribute to group discussions and to listen as others share their own ideas and thoughts.
Children may transition to circle time when the teacher invites them through singing a song or clapping hands. Some teachers set out circle time mats or chairs for the children to sit on. Because it is part of the daily routine, children quickly recognize the specific set up and will respond. It is not mandatory that all children come to circle time. If a child chooses not to participate, they are welcome to do a quiet activity at the table. We never force a child to participate. Once they feel comfortable, if the circle time is of interest to them, they may choose to join in.
The other staff members support the circle time by assisting children who arrive late, sitting with children who are not participating in circle time and observing children as they interact during circle time.
100 Languages – Art is another language that children use to express themselves and their ideas.
Whatever the children are making must come from their own imaginations. We believe that if you provide an example of what the finished project should look like, you are taking away the opportunity for the child to create from their own experiences and ideas. When you are using your own example, you are not permitting the child to express or develop their own creativity. We allow the child their own experience to work on their own creative process – it is then truly their own original idea.
How are we different from other programs?
As we believe in teaching the Whole child, we view that teachers and children are all on a journey of discovery, together. Children are born with natural capacity for wonder – it is this wonder and curiosity that we want to harness as we engage children in activities that are meaningful and relevant to them. This helps to build intrinsic motivation and helps develop a love of learning! We want to encourage children in pursuit of knowledge and set them up with the tools and resources that they need in that quest. We know that the children that we are working with today will need problem solving skills, creative thinking, and creative and imaginative skills if they are to be the innovators of tomorrow! We believe that through our programs such as STEM, Art and Loose Parts, we are preparing our students for their future academic careers.
Our teachers are specifically trained to teach our full curriculum and understand and value what is developmentally appropriate practice . The teachers are able to meet the needs of all learners and learning styles. Our classrooms act as the Third Teacher- beautiful, well lit and well supplied with appropriate materials that call the child to come and explore! And we do allow significant time and space for the children to explore and make discoveries! They have the freedom to investigate what interests them! The children have ownership in their own learning leading to well rounded, well prepared human beings.
Our curriculum is not a “Cookie Cutter” curriculum – we go beyond traditional observational practices – where teachers collect data for assessment purposes -we listen to what each child needs and then we guide them.