Encouraging the love of reading is a major goal for the primary. In all classrooms, teachers regularly read aloud to the students. Materials for reading instruction include leveled readers as well as the literature text book. Examples of reading materials include phonics books or games. Teachers assign reading materials according to student skill level, using individual time for ongoing instruction and assessment. Teacher instruction is geared to make students of all levels feel empowered as readers while stretching their abilities and updating reading goals
Like reading, writing is an integral part of the entire primary school curriculum; it is taught as a subject in itself and as a tool for thinking critically in other subjects. Students are encouraged to approach writing as a process with definable stages and techniques. They learn that the process of writing has intrinsic value as a means of generating, developing, and refining their thoughts. The goal of writing instruction at SLAS is to develop not only skilled, expressive writers, but also thinkers who use their writing skills to enhance learning. Writing experiences permeate the primary classroom, and their frequency makes writing a natural and comfortable activity for most children.
For math instruction, students work in groups of approximately 10 to 15 every day. The typical classroom is set up to encourage interest in and exploration of mathematical concepts and problems using a variety of problem-solving strategies. Our students are learning above level math concepts with extra assistance provided for students as needed. Elements of literacy are woven into the introduction of each new math concept in grades Pre-Kindergarten through 5th grade.
The science curriculum provides a flexible program that covers a range of topics and concepts, provides a basic understanding of scientific methods, supports the classroom teachers’ interests and enthusiasms, and connects with other studies such as math or social studies going on in the classroom.
Based on the age of the students, and other curricular choices, the classroom teacher selects for the coming school year a variety of units of study in the physical and biological sciences. An early primary class might study life cycles, birds, trees, the human body, light, air, motion, or liquids, for example. Books, materials, and equipment pertaining to each unit would be made available in the classroom. Each unit is geared to the age level of the students, so that if students learn about trees in an early primary classroom and again in an upper primary classroom, each study will be a very different experience.
Social studies units, like other curricular areas at SLAS, encompass formal and informal learning and interdisciplinary study when feasible. For example, a study of North and South America might include elements of history, anthropology, music, cooking, geography, and art. Activity and independent inquiry characterize the social studies curriculum no matter what area of the world or period of time is studied.
Each grade level develops a social studies curriculum for the class that includes large and small units of study. Regular faculty discussion of these curricula assures a balanced and varied overall approach, so that the child who goes through the primary school will be sure to study an exciting range of countries, cultures, and peoples, using a variety of social science skills and methods.