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.
Emphasis is placed on cultivating a love of reading and writing. The curriculum enables students to learn and efficiently use information about letters, sounds and words, taking into account what children already know to help them acquire the knowledge and concepts they need to learn next. The focus is on teaching early literacy concepts, phonological awareness, letter sound relationships, and spelling patterns. Stories and poetry are integral parts of the curriculum, and the children are exposed to a range of fiction and information texts through daily classroom and independent reading opportunities. Drama, puppetry and storytelling are woven into the curriculum throughout the year. In the Lower School writing workshop, students learn they have stories worth telling and information worth sharing. 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. Students learn to write uppercase and lowercase letters appropriately following the “Handwriting Without Tears” curriculum.
Kindergarten math is a magical time in our students’ development. They investigate, explore, discover and apply their developing mathematical thinking. You can often see them singing and clapping as they recite math poems together. Students work with each other using everyday objects to demonstrate their thinking and ideas. Developing observation skills allow Kindergartners to group objects by similar traits. As students realize physical objects can be represented in pictures and pictures can then be translated into symbols, an entire mathematical system opens before them. iPad lessons, interactive games, and mental math challenges further ignite the learning in the classroom. Kindergarten topics include exploring two-digit numbers, ordering objects by size, length, and weight, creating patterns, and sorting and classifying objects. Weekly, time is set aside for teachers at each grade level to objectively evaluate students’ understanding and plan next steps for the classroom.
In the Kindergarten year, children develop the abilities that are necessary to do scientific inquiry. As they investigate the environment around them, they will discover what scientific inquiry is through the integration of literature, observations and hands on exploration. They record their experiments and draw their observations in a journal.
Our social studies themes investigate what makes each of us unique, based on our family and cultural background. We use the yearlong Open Circle curriculum to build a safe classroom community. Through literature, field trips, and hands-on projects, children learn about how the environment affects our lives and those who lived in the past.
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. Kindergarten students will alternate among structured projects, collaborative work and materials-based explorations. All students will work collaboratively, respond to famous artworks and works of their peers, and examine the connections between art, academic subjects and everyday life. All students participate in the spring school-wide art exhibition.
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 Kindergarten, students learn singing and rhythm games, improvisation, and simple circle and line dances to help them understand contour and rhythmic variation. They learn to distinguish between instruments with contrasting timbres and experiment with soundscape compositions. Music in Kindergarten also explores the idea of representational notation, where students create images and symbols to represent sounds they hear.