At The Pike School we believe every child has tremendous potential. Our overall philosophy and approach to working with four to eight year olds regards all of our students as individuals with their own learning abilities and challenges that are not fixed but able to be built upon and developed with care and intention.
Our teachers know their students extremely well, help celebrate their successes, and understand how they learn best. We are committed to helping each child grow socially and emotionally; much of our work integrates teaching these skills directly and supporting children in applying them throughout the day.
Your student's academic journey is also crucial. Pike's Professional Learning Team approach allows us to continuously consider and provide flexible learning environments to challenge, support, and meet each child's needs. Through regular collaboration we determine how best to work with your children, guiding them to take risks, challenge themselves, gain enduring understanding of curricular topics and learn deeply about themselves and the world around them.
The goal of our reading program is to develop a lifelong love of reading. In pursuit of this important goal, students work in literacy groups on fluency, vocabulary, phonics, spelling, and comprehension. They are exposed to a variety of genres including fairy tales, information texts, realistic fiction and poetry. Students experience independent reading and paired reading and are guided through the process of picking their own “just right” book. Read alouds occur throughout the day to support listening comprehension and expose students to texts that relate to units of study. Nightly homework includes 15-20 minutes of reading independently or with an adult. In the Lower School writing workshop, students learn they have stories worth telling, information worth sharing, and that they can use their writing to persuade others and affect change. They select topics themselves, leading to greater independence and write for increased periods of time, leading to increased stamina. They participate in mini-lessons where the teacher offers explicit instruction on a writing strategy or technique to try. Students collaborate with peers for feedback and assistance.
Mathematical thinking continues to develop as students use a combination of math manipulatives, pictures, and math equations to demonstrate their ideas. Numbers extend to three digits, and students learn more efficient strategies for adding and subtracting numbers. Daily mental math exercises build fact fluency and reinforce math concepts covered throughout the year. Real word problems become more complex. Students begin to use bar model diagrams when interpreting word problems to organize information visually. Understanding deepens as connections are made between skip counting, multiplication and division.
Students engage in science activities and experiments that help them develop their understanding of observation and the scientific process. In the beginning of the year students make observations inside and outside the classroom to develop the ability to differentiate between fact and opinion and how to express what they have observed through discussion and writing. As the year progresses the science curriculum focuses more on experimentation. Students develop the ability to follow a series of instructions, for example, when working with LEGO simple machines. Experiments give students the chance to practice following a procedure and how to deal with scientific successes and failures. Collaboration is a key learning component, as most activities are done in large or small groups. They learn how to listen to partners, add ideas, compromise, share the responsibility for completing the experiments and take responsibility for materials and each other.
The goal in Second Grade is to broaden students’ perspectives of the world around them. They begin by learning about the first settlers in our country, including how they got here, why they came, and what they brought with them. In addition to studying waves of immigration up until the 20th century, students investigate their own cultural heritage and share this information with their classmates. Each story about immigration provides another opportunity to expand students’ understanding and global perspective. After learning about the heritage of their classmates, students study the culture, history and people of Mexico. Throughout the year, students compare and contrast their own culture to others as they develop their understanding of their place in the world.
The Lower School curriculum in physical education is designed to develop movement, balance, and spatial awareness—the skills required for moving through space. Games tend to be collaborative rather than competitive in these early years, and they concentrate on creative movement and the joy of physical activity. Children work with a variety of small apparatus, including balls, beanbags, ropes and hoops. Lower School students learn the importance of developing a healthy, active lifestyle. This is emphasized as students explore various activities in school that help them develop strong bodies and healthy hearts.
In Lower School art, students are introduced to the fundamental skills, ideas and processes of art making with an emphasis on creative choices and personal expression. Each project is an opportunity to build cognitive and tactile skills with an increase in complexity at each grade level. Students will make art from direct observation, such as self-portraits or still life drawings, and explore family and cultural identity. All students work collaboratively, respond to famous artworks and works of their peers, and examine the connections between art, academic subjects, and everyday life.
The music program in Lower School focuses on helping children in Pre-K through Grade 2 develop core musical skills through singing, instrument play, movement, improvisation, and composition. Influenced by Kodaly, Orff, and Music Learning Theory, students learn music similar to the way they acquire a new language; music is primarily taught by ear, with students experiencing and creating music in a number of ways before they learn to read and write notation. As part of their overall curriculum, Lower School musicians will learn a variety of songs from different cultures and learn about the larger expressive qualities of music.
Lower School music students participate in two concerts per year.
In Second Grade, students continue to work on musical skills that will enable them to be successful in Middle School music. They learn to hear, read, and write original melodies and rhythm patterns of increasing difficulty, and are able to play simple multi-part arrangements for Orff xylophones and/ or hand percussion. They also learn simple English folk dances. Second Graders are introduced to the instruments of the orchestra and learn about instrument families as well as get the opportunity to meet professional musicians who visit our classroom to perform for the students.