Friday, July 21, 2017
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Curriculum Overview

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Whatever curriculum we are using, our main concern in the classroom and in our teaching method is to understand and respect each child´s personality, strengths and needs. We are aware that each child is different and learns at a different pace so, that is why individual and personalized attention is one of our main concerns. With small-sized groups, we enhance child-oriented activities and self awareness.

Our classrooms are inspired by the Montessori “prepared environment” where realistic images, self-correcting materials and connection with the physical world around us fosters imagination, wonder and creativity. All our lessons and hands-on materials encourage self discipline and logical thinking, thus laying a foundation for more abstract academic activities.

“Teach by teaching, not by correcting”. We believe that it is on the foundation of freedom and structure that the child builds self-discipline, which comes more from within than without and is the result of steadily developing inner growth. We think that it is through the very liberty inherent in the classroom that the children are given the means to reveal their inner or self-discipline. This independence does not diminish respect for authority but rather deepens it. This approach to learning prepares the child with self-confidence and self-discipline.

The best of the academic curriculums are useless if the child does not develop inner discipline, integrity, and respect for others and oneself. We hope that our students can bring tomorrow a bit of the peace and joy they experience in our school environment.

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ESL Program

Our two-way bilingual program aims to fill the expectations of both our Spanish-speaking families and English-speaking families. Having basically two different native language speaking students (Spanish and English) we have integrated both languages as a second-language in our school curriculum.

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Although our language of instruction is English, we integrate the Spanish in our daily routines and academic program. All our age groups are exposed to a bilingual approach throughout the day.

This approach is focused on oral expression, comprehension and language skills and is supervised by Native speakers teachers. Only when students reach the 1st grade level, is when they begin to be introduced to formal reading and writing in Spanish.

Taking advantage of our mixed-language staff we have created a two-way bilingual program which fits the needs of our families and ensures that our students are exposed to positive cross-cultural attitudes and behaviors and develop high levels of proficiency in both languages.

Science / Environmental

Environmental Education is an important part of our school curriculum. We are constantly trying and innovating so that this concept is not just part of our philosophy but a constantly changing and proactive program with concrete and real activities which the students can actually participate and be part of.

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We want our Science/Environmental curriculum to be more than just a learning concept; we want it to be an introduction to a new and more conscious way of life.

Following a yearly program, children will go through various eco-conscious related themes, such as recycling, respect for living creatures, reforestation, practical actions and more. This program will be reinforced through various activities inside and outside the school, as well as different didactic material. By participating in group activities as well as individual actions, students will gradually take in these important messages into their daily lives.

We believe that this Program can actually influence and make enormous difference in the future lives of our students and therefore, contribute to a cleaner, more sustainable and ecological Planet. We feel that we, as educators, have the responsibility to pass on this important way of thinking and living to our students, as early as possible. This vital awareness should become part of their daily lives.

Our main objectives are that our students turn into conscious, responsible and respectful human beings, who understand and have the knowledge of today´s world problems in order to try to find ways to solve them. Instead of being the problem, they can be the problem solvers.

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Multi-Sensorial Program

Our idea of a multi-sensorial program arises in our attempt to address children in a comprehensive manner, respecting the learning styles of each one of them. We all learn differently and usually privilege one or some senses when receiving the information that is given to us. Traditional teaching emphasizes the vision and hearing, leaving relegated the senses of smell, touch, taste and sense of propioception (which informs us of our own movements, balance and muscle structure). We have started this program with specific activities that will stimulate more in depth these 4 senses as well as a Multi-sensory approach which will be integrated with the already sensory Montessori curriculum.

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Some of our new additions:

Aromatherapy: will be included in our daily routine, a set of essential oils will be in each classroom. Teachers have received special training in this area.

Tactile Stimulation: a box with multiple tactile stimuli will be available in each classroom to incorporate different textures to the academic activities. Apart from this box, teachers will create and stimulate with different materials and incorporating them in the academic program.

Yoga: is now a daily activity (apart from the weekly class) in which children will learn one yoga pose per day. This technique can be used at anytime of the day, when relaxation is needed or simply to recover balance or focus.

Taste: We will explore together with the children the different characteristics of food, including various textures and guiding them to incorporate the concept of healthy foods, helping them to discern and chose.

Montessori at the preschool

We consider ourselves to be a Montessori-enriched School. What this means is that we use this method of education and philosophy to improve our school curriculum and focus on the development of the whole child in all areas of life, which is basically what Dr. Maria Montessori – founder of this approach - supported throughout her life as an educator.

This method supports the idea that children possess an innate desire to explore, discover and learn and, by giving them the necessary tools, they will develop a life-long love for learning. This is what we look for in our teaching practices and we believe that the Montessori approach to learning gives children the opportunity to be inspired and achieve personal development in an interesting and encouraging way. Montessori is designed to meet all curriculum areas such as Math, Science, Language Arts, etc.

This method guarantees exposure to materials and experiences to develop intelligence as well as physical and psychological abilities.

It is designed to take full advantage of the self-motivation and unique ability of children to develop their own capabilities. Our preschool program is now working with a full Montessori program and our Elementary school is using its approaches, materials and philosophy and combining it with our personalised curriculum.

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Four primary elements of the Montessori Method include:

Self-Learning: children develop self-learning skills if given the right tools and environment and based on their emotional and personal self.

Use of Hands-on Materials: Montessori’s materials are made to fit each child’s needs and to help children gain hands-on first-hand concrete knowledge to later understand more easily the abstract concepts. All materials are self-correcting so that children can learn from their own errors and teachers can act more as guides than authoritative or teaching figures.

Individualized Education: Montessori respects the fact that everyone is different and therefore everyone learns differently and at their own pace. The motivation to learn comes from within and the child will receive their own self-reward of growth. The teacher works one-on-one with student’s providing them with new lessons as their skills are developing.

Classroom Environment: A Montessori classroom should be beautiful, orderly and so inviting that the child cannot resist exploring. All materials and activities are in the child´s reach at their level. Within this environment the child will be free to explore and with this freedom comes responsibility.

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Guided Learning at the elementary school

The “Guided Learning” curriculum at the Elementary school is based on more teacher-oriented learning, although instructed using a different approach from the “traditional” way. While working on group activities, each child´s pace, interest and ability is still carefully assessed and respected and activities are always non-competitive. Teacher acts as a model and a guide at all times directing and intervening when necessary and having in mind the child´s feelings, choices within acceptable limits, encouragement, conflict resolution, and natural and logical consequences for behavior.

With this curriculum students work with standardized academic curriculums and objectives. Nevertheless, although following core curricula benchmarks, our instruction is always based on each student´s learning and developmental levels.

Questions / Preguntas