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.
During our literacy studies, children explore all aspects of oral language. They develop listening skills as they: converse, chant and produce rhymes, listen for sounds in words, explore word meanings, listen to and discuss quality literature, read aloud, sing songs and enjoy poetry. Language activities of this kind directly link to the development of comprehension skills. Building on children’s knowledge of the alphabet and letters in their own names, our literacy lessons include letter naming, learning letter sounds, printing the uppercase letter forms, reading predictable books that emphasize particular sounds, and experimenting with writing words that express their thoughts. Enjoyment of literature is key to our theme development and stories are read throughout the day to enhance learning in all content areas including nonfiction books that explore math, social studies and science topics.
Four and five-year olds are inquisitive mathematicians. Pre-Kindergarten math builds upon children's eagerness to count, compare, make new designs and discover patterns. The children are learning to understand numbers as a group of objects, discover and use new vocabulary, sort and categorize, measure and interpret data. An emphasis is placed in hands-on activities and physical movement to help develop visual spatial skills. In a small group setting students play math games, use manipulative materials and connect number concepts to everyday life. As children engage in math activities, they learn problem solving and reasoning skills and make connections with previous mathematical learning. Our students hop, jump and clap their way through Pre-K math class.
Social studies focuses on people as individuals, as members of a family, as members of the Pike community, and in the world at large. Students learn to understand the roles, responsibilities and services provided by community workers. The children are inspired to respect and appreciate similarities and differences amongst themselves, including their basic wants and needs for food, clothing and shelter. Through multicultural stories, they learn about the many places in which people live, work and play. Using interactive games and hands-on activities, the children are able to broaden their understanding of the greater world and begin to think as global citizens.
The science curriculum is based on the natural curiosity of children as they interact with their surroundings, make observations and formulate questions. Through collaborative activities, children are encouraged to use their five senses and explore the world around them. They learn to understand their bodies, how they work and ways to make them move. They learn how to recognize the differences between living and non-living organisms and to sort and categorize a variety of items. Using our own garden plot and The Pike School nature trail, students have first-hand opportunities to explore nature and the life cycles of plants and begin to understand the impact of seasons on everyday life.
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. Pre-K 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, 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 Pre-K, students learn about their singing and speaking voices and how to feel the steady beat. Locomotor and non-locomotor activities help them with their sense of weight, flow, space and timing. Story songs, dramatic play, and simple dances help them learn about other musical concepts such as melody, rhythm, form and expression.