The Kindergarten, First, and Second Grade Program reflects the magic of this stage of life and is built upon the developmental needs of young children. Children are given time to explore their interests and to build relationships with their peers and teachers. The curriculum is designed to be exciting and hands-on, reflecting a child's need to manipulate materials and be actively involved in his or her learning.
Our Kindergarten, First, and Second grade program begins with the simple premise that children do not need to be made to learn; they need to be allowed to learn. K-1-2 teachers, trained in British Primary philosophy, know that children are natural learners. Teachers provide vibrant, engaging classrooms that allow children’s curiosity and wonder to flourish.
The K-1-2 curriculum carefully blends what children need to be able to do with what children want to do- and most often these are the same. A sense of joy runs through all that K-1-2s do, as well it should. Our program upholds the value of play in supporting children’s brain development and their ability to be creative, innovative thinkers. Teachers create integrated, thematic units around topics that interest students, such as architecture, the human body, or animal studies. Students develop skills in the core areas of reading, writing, and mathematics according to carefully developed benchmarks, derived from current state and national standards.
Our school-wide emphasis on building a strong self-concept in our students is in evidence throughout the K-1-2 years. Through frequent chances to make choices for themselves, exposure to rich curriculum and materials, and opportunities to self-reflect on their own learning, K-1-2 children develop a strong foundation of knowing and caring for themselves that supports their growth for the remainder of their years at Stanley.
Children’s three-year experience in a multi-aged classroom also establishes positive social skills. The diversity they encounter - of ages, cultures, and learning styles - supports children’s ability to collaborate and communicate successfully. Our K-1-2 students develop a strong sense not only of themselves but also of their critical role within a community.
Choice Time is an integral part of the K-1-2 experience. Choice Time typically occurs for an hour when the children first arrive at school in the morning. The children have a chance to reconnect with their teachers and peers and share what has happened since they were last at school. They initiate their play and work and take risks. More than any other period of the day, Choice Time is a time when children actively engage in the process of defining themselves. Children are given the opportunity to make decisions and think for themselves.
At the heart of the Stanley model is a belief that one of the main ways young children learn is through play. For young children every observation and experience is a learning experience. They do not compartmentalize learning into discrete subjects. Choice Time allows for wholeness and the natural ebb and flow of young children's learning.
Once young children have had a chance to play, to move, to reconnect with their peers, and to pursue their ideas and interests, they are then ready to follow more teacher-directed activities.
The social/emotional development of children is at the heart of the K-1-2 experience. Nurturing confidence and encouraging empathy are the scaffolding upon which the K-2 program is designed. Children learn to express their feelings and needs while listening to those of others. In the K-1-2 classrooms, the teachers begin the process of building community and introduce children to the social skills, respect, and trust that help them become responsive, responsible members of the classroom. A school psychologist and counselor also augment and support teachers in understanding and meeting students’ needs.
The K-1-2 Social Studies Program focuses on the children learning about themselves and each other. They reflect upon culture, interests, strengths and struggles. The children draw, write, and share about their lives. The teachers invite parents into the classroom to share their traditions and heritage. The students discuss similarities and differences and develop a sense of the world and their place within it.
The K-1-2 Science Program celebrates and extends young children's natural interest and curiosity in the world around them. Teachers bring the "outdoors indoors." They bring snails, nests, shells, seeds, leaves, rocks... for observation, exploration, and discussion. They encourage their students to bring in what they find in their backyards and on the way to school. They also go "outdoors” to observe, for example, leaves changing colors and ants building their homes. K-1-2 teachers begin to expose children to the scientific process - emphasizing observation, questioning, experimentation, and communication.
The emphasis of the K-1-2 Language Arts Program is on developing a love and appreciation of the written and spoken word. Children are immersed in and surrounded by wonderful stories and books. They come to realize that telling stories and reading and writing are an important part of our lives. Children in the K-2 classrooms also gain the skills, the concepts, and the confidence necessary to begin to record their ideas and elicit meaning from print.
Mathematics is an integral part of the school day. K-1-2 teachers teach math skills and concepts through meaningful and fun activities that engage children and help all children to feel successful as mathematicians. As children draw, cook, build with blocks or fill containers at the water table, they compare shapes, sort, count, measure, and recognize reversibility and conservation. Scheduled math times build on children's daily informal experiences. Teachers follow the framework of the Investigations Math Series, and the curriculum, aligns with Colorado State Standards. Our curriculum charts identify specific grade level expectations in geometry, data analysis, algebraic concepts, number sense, measurement, and computation.
The Spanish teacher visits the classroom once a week to expose children to the Spanish language and Spanish-speaking cultures. With emphasis on auditory and oral skills, basic vocabulary and phraseology is introduced. Children learn through hearing stories with engaging visual props, music, rhymes, games and basic conversation.
Visual Arts are an integral part of the K-1-2 school day. At Choice Time, children explore many materials, tools, techniques and processes to create and communicate. They paint, draw, sculpt; they create collages and weavings; they mix colors and create patterns. During writing, social studies and science, children often communicate their ideas and feelings through artistic media. Once a week, a Visual Arts Teacher augments what the classroom teacher provides. The K-1-2 classrooms and hallway are vibrant and alive with children’s work, speaking to the prominence of the arts in Stanley’s program.
Music is integrated into the school day at Morning Meeting, Spanish, Choice, and other times. Children participate in a weekly class with a Music Teacher. The goal of the music program at the K-1-2 level is to foster children’s natural love of rhythm, song, and sound. Creativity is also encouraged though opportunities to improvise and explore sounds. Musicality is developed though exposure to musical elements such as tempo, pitch, beat, and rhythm. While the emphasis at the stage is primarily on the process, children also share what they are learning with the community in performances at Grand People’s Day and Dr. Martin Luther King Assembly. Second graders also participate in an integrated dance and music performance in April.
Children explore their world and express their thoughts and feelings through movement, and therefore K-1-2 school day provides lots of opportunities to be active. Children move to the beat and clap the tempo in music class, choreograph and dance to music at Choice Time, and run and jump on the playground. They also participate in a weekly dance class in which they explore and experience the joy of dancing while focusing on such skills as balance, flexibility, spatial awareness, and rhythmic coordination. Each child participates in a dance performance with classmates at our Grand People’s Day celebration.
Imaginary play is at the heart of the K-1-2 experience. Each classroom has a dress-up corner in which children can act out their lives and role-play. Impromptu plays occur quite frequently during Choice Time.
While the emphasis at this age is on process and creation, K-1-2 children get the experience of performing for an audience (their parents) through participating in classroom plays orchestrated by homeroom teachers, often with help from the Music, Visual Arts, or Dance teachers.
K-2 children are introduced to the fundamental skills of cooperation, listening to directions, empathy, and sportsmanship. Cooperative games provide an ideal structure within which children can practice these skills while enjoying each other and reveling in the joy of movement. They also learn the basic physical skills required to play games successfully and safely.