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The Sundance School - established 1977

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The Earth Room

First Grade

A Note From The Primary Coordinator, Ms. Emmy

Teaching children reminds me of a quote from the movie, Forrest Gump "Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get" But I do know that it's going to be sweet!

The youthful exuberance of the Primary students makes everyday a new adventure! It motivates my passion to inspire children to believe in themselves, ignite their imaginations, encourage risk taking, cultivate creative thinking, and instill a love of learning that they will carry with them throughout their lives.

There is nothing more exciting then providing students with opportunities that facilitate moments of self-discovery; and nothing more rewarding then to be a witness to those "ah-ha" moments when suddenly something all makes sense! Now that's sweet!!!... and much better than any piece chocolate could ever be!



Language Arts

Our program embraces a balanced approach to Language Arts education. This approach incorporates phonics, guided reading, both reader’s and writer’s workshops, and author studies. This curriculum enables us to target each child’s unique ability and help him/her reach their goals. Many of the Language Arts lessons encompass the Sundance School theme(s) for the year and include studies in the areas of Science and Social Studies

Annual Primary Game Night

Math

It is our philosophy in the Primary that learning should be fun, relevant to the children, and individualized to meet each child's needs. To this end, our math program is an eclectic blend of traditional programs and customized, teacher-created materials. Our units of study are presented in a logical sequence that fosters a natural progression of concept development as well as the scaffolding of students' knowledge.

All concept presentations begin on a concrete level with manipulative based lessons which progress to the pictorial and abstract levels as dictated by the students' level of understanding.

Our low teacher to student ration coupled with teaching methods that provide tactile, visual and kinetic learning experiences ensure that the individual needs of all our students are met.

A myriad of classroom characters like Fredricka the Frog, Pattern Pete, Al and Ali; our hungry alligator friends, and Alien Frog greet the students every day and enhance our lessons with their crazy antics. Our Primary math program is highlighted by our 100th Day of School celebration and Game Night where the students create math games and enjoy an evening spent playing them with their classmates.

Curriculum

Science

The Primary Science Curriculum is designed to build upon the curiosity of children. The children gather knowledge and skills through hands-on activities that are designed to engage them on many levels. The children are encouraged to explore their indoor and outdoor environments, interpret their findings and communicate their ideas. The curriculum is divided into four Core Competencies: Life Science, Physical Science, Earth Science, and Human Biology. All the children in the Primary have a weekly science class. Special visitors to the school and events such as the annual 'Happenings' add interest and reinforce the lesson plans.

Creative activity, beyond its value to the individual plays a role in human affairs. Society owes its progress to the contributions of those who have dared to think and to act differently READ 1966

Art

The primary goal of the workshop is to foster a love of art and encourage creative self expression. Many studies have shown that art can and should play a role in the education of young children. Art projects are usually related to the theme at Sundance, seasons, show time or can be tined into that activities that are occurring in the Language Arts and Math departments. The workshop tries to expose children to many mediums from painting, drawing, collage, and sculpture. "Free Art" is always encouraged and many different materials are readily available. The children are also introduced to the world of fine art with our 'Artist of the Month' projects. These projects expose children to fine art and art history while encouraging them to explore their own creativity!

The children are exposed to a more 'formal' drawing class where the basic elements of shape are introduced. The children are encouraged to draw using various mediums; including pencil, crayon, charcoal, and pastel. They are introduced to line, texture, composition, rhythm, and color. Gentle guidance and encouragement result in drawings that express confidence!

Dramatics & Dance

Every child at Sundance participates once a week in a dance and dramatics class. Children's natural love of movement, music and dramatic play in a group setting is celebrated and extended under the direction of a trained professional teacher. A sense of community is strengthened, individual self image and self esteem grows and positive, physical, emotional and social skills are enhanced.

Children are gradually introduced to the stage in group experiences in a way that is appropriate with their developmental and chronological age. Shyer children are encouraged to work with a more outgoing partner. No child is judged; rather each child is encouraged to work at his or her level of comfort and strength. Small challenges are continually presented in a non-threatening format. Each effort is applauded. Children are encouraged to participate but are never coerced. Children take turns being “performers” and “audience”.

Physical Education

The Physical Education program is designed for the purpose of enhancing psychomotor, cognitive, and physical development through physical body movement. Physical Education offers opportunities to develop independence, goal- setting, leadership, teamwork and sportsmanship. We hope to help children choose a lifelong commitment to their own physical fitness.

Curriculum: Activities that have been incorporated into the current program are flag football, floor hockey, basketball, soccer, calisthenics, gymnastics and cooperative games. First, Second and Third Grade students participate in the President’s Fitness Challenge during the fall semester.

Approach: Children are encouraged to do their “personal best,” recording their first efforts and focusing on steady improvement. All activities are presented in a fun and organized but active way. Teamwork and good sportsmanship is stressed.

Spanish

Objectives:

  • To continue developing enthusiasm and eagerness to communicate in another language
  • To be actively involved and willing to participate in class
  • To speak, interact and sing only in Spanish
  • To enlarge vocabulary and improve writing and reading skills
  • To share and learn more about other cultures and traditions