The Ontaro Elementary School Curriculum for which we provide instruction are as follows:
1st Grade Curriculum
The language arts program incorporates a balance of rich literature, grammar, and spelling. Instruction reflects integration of writing, speaking, listening, penmanship, and vocabulary development. The students communicate their growth in skills through a variety of methods, including projects, plays, games, reports, and lively discussions.
The first grade reading program is taught through a literature based anthology. An emphasis on phonics and a strong sight word vocabulary helps develop decoding and comprehension skills. Lessons focus on clear written and oral expression of thought. Small and whole group instruction and creative literacy centers enhance and compliment various learning centers.
Process writing in writer's workshop is introduced. Students brainstorm, write a rough draft, conference with a teacher, revise, share with peer writers, and publish a finished piece of writing. Writing is strengthened through the use of a journal, and the many opportunities students have for sharing creative writing. Grammar and spelling are taught in conjunction with the reading anthology. Students learn to apply grammar and spelling skills in written work, and they practice handwriting skills through the D'Nealian method.
The mathematics program, based on Everyday Mathematics, builds on the students' capabilities by expanding their ideas and life experiences. Supported by a rich, hands-on curriculum, students strengthen mathematical thinking skills. The program covers a broad range of mathematical concepts with an emphasis on application of skills in daily life. Mathematics instruction includes ongoing review, daily routines, the use of games and projects, cooperative learning, and problem solving for everyday situations. Students gain number sense, an understanding of operations, knowledge of measurement, an appreciation of relationships in data, and experience with geometric principles.
First grade mathematics instruction focuses on:
- Establishing routines
- Using numbers in everyday life
- Recognizing visual patterns and number patterns
- Naming and constructing geometric shapes
- Working toward mastery of addition and subtractions to 20
- Developing skills in 2 digit addition and subtraction
- Introducing fraction and parts of a whole
- Learning to tell time to the hour, half hour, and 5 minute intervals
- Knowing the value of and counting sums of money
- Measuring in both the standard and metric systems
- Understanding place value to the hundred's place
- Recognizing visual and number patterns
- Developing mental math strategies
- Comprehending story problems
The social studies curriculum allows for an understanding of cultural diversity and human civil rights. Through various units of study, the students gain a knowledge of economic and social interdependence. Geographical concepts such as map and globe skills are incorporated into each unit. Students share their knowledge through activities, projects, and discussions.
The first grade social studies program focuses on the differences in cultures in our world. Each area of study integrates history, geography and traditions. With parent participation and support, various cultural backgrounds are explored. The children read, discuss, and problem solve relevant issues.
SI students use a hands-on, inquiry based science curriculum. Experiences appropriate to the students' developmental level are used as a way of asking and answering questions. The children often work in collaborative groups as they use the scientific processes to explore a variety of content areas. Each grade has opportunities to investigate the areas of life, earth and physical science, as well as environmental concerns.
The first grade explores the content areas of insects, pebbles, sand and silt, and balance and motion. The units are used as a basis for gaining awareness of the scientific methods of observing, comparing, organizing, and applying learned principles. Science classes are held in our elementary science room.
Creativity and appreciation of children's art work are given great emphasis at The Walker School. Children work in an environment that fosters respect for their unique and original art and encourages respect for the work of others. The art curriculum offers well-rounded and varied art experiences for children in first through fifth grade in the school's well-equipped Art Lab. The students look at their projects and assignments as opportunities for problem solving as they work with a wide range of media, projects, and themes within each grade level. Students enjoy creating a variety of ceramic projects making use of the Art Lab's large kiln, slab roller, and professional pottery tools. Through art projects and class discussions, students are introduced to art vocabulary, elements of design, and principles of design as they progress through Lower School. In Pursuit of the Arts, a month long celebration of the arts, includes art exhibits, music presentations, dramatic performances, visiting authors and artists, workshops, and discovery courses.
Character Education in the Lower School is a highly visible and cooperative program which is integrated across the curriculum at each grade level and throughout the special areas. Classroom activities and group meetings, bulletin board displays, assembly performances and closed-circuit video productions are all designed to highlight a special virtue each month. Additionally, student participation in various service projects throughout the school year is a vital component.
In computer class students use educational software to enhance language arts, math, social studies, and science skills. Classroom and computer teachers work together closely to make sure that the selected software is relevant to topics being taught in the classroom. In addition, students learn computer literacy through a progression of basic skills including key board functions, network logging in, internet research, e-mail access, and word processing.
Counseling and Guidance
The Lower School counseling program consists of monthly classroom guidance lessons on character education, peer relations, conflict resolution and other subjects of interest for elementary age students. Self-esteem, divorce/loss, and friendship groups are also available for children as are individual sessions for concerns in these and other relevant developmental areas.
The Lower School media center supports the curriculum by helping students develop skills to locate, understand, interpret, and communicate information and ideas from books, periodicals, and computer sources. Through the library program, students develop an appreciation of literature, a love of reading, and independent research skills. The collection consists of over 13,000 books. A computerized card catalog provides access to a variety of print, non-print, and electronic sources. The students come to the library once a week to learn library skills, listen to stories, and interact with peers through different types of literature. In addition, story tellers and authors visit throughout the school year.
Music offers an outlet for self-expression and group participation. Through singing, instruments, movement and listening, students experience the many facets of this art.
The goal of the Physical Education program is to promote the appreciation of a healthy lifestyle through the development of basic physical skills. A variety of developmentally appropriate activities emphasizes coordination, physical fitness, sportsmanship, team work, sport specific skills, and fun. The activities work toward individual improvement and self confidence.
The study of a foreign language prepares students to compete and cooperate in the international arena and helps to promote multi-cultural understanding. Instruction in grades 1-5 introduces students to pronunciation and intonation patterns as well as vocabulary. This is done primarily through listening and speaking skills. The program of study is flexible to allow for different levels of competency among the students.