Multisensory lessons based on the Orton-Gillingham Approach are utilized to teach phonological awareness, reading, written expression, oral language, listening comprehension, math, science, and social studies. Each day includes three periods dedicated to developing sequencing and gross motor skills through structured recess, free-play recess, Tang Soo Do, and Stretch and Grow fitness classes.
Oral Language and Listening Comprehension:
A Speech-Language Pathologist on staff works daily alongside primary teachers in the classroom to help students develop strategies that improve their receptive and expressive language skills. Students are provided scaffolding through strategies such as the Expanding Expression Tool to help with organizing and verbalizing information
Phonological Awareness and Reading:
Students use various exercises to explore the number, order, and sameness or difference of sounds and then compare, contrast and track speech sounds in a sequence. Syllable division, spelling rules, and generalizations are taught directly. Phonetically balanced readers are used with the lessons to ensure success and to reinforce the principles that have been taught. Meaningful reading comprehension skills are explicitly taught.
Cursive handwriting is introduced from the very beginning to help children master directionality, reduce letter reversals, and build writing fluency. Written expression skills begin with oral group participation in composition of single words, word lists, and sentences while sharpening the students' abilities to use precise, descriptive language. Students are involved in brainstorming, categorizing, classifying, and sequencing. Syntax and semantics are emphasized. Self-monitoring of performance and proofreading skills are utilized so students develop independent work skills.
In math lessons, students follow a concrete, representational, abstract approach. They are encouraged to build problems with concrete materials, so they can see, touch, and feel the underlying place value concepts. As they progress through the concrete stage, they move to the representational portion where pictures are drawn or provided that help to bridge the 3D to 2D transition before learning the abstract process with no pictures involved. Students are also engaging the language of math by verbalizing what they are doing. Concepts are arranged sequentially from simple to complex.
Content Classes (science and social studies):
Content is used as a means to equip students with the ability to recognize, process, and organize the basic elements of language. Science class fosters curiosity in students through inquiry-based teaching with an emphasis on observation. Social Studies allows students to explore historical events through age-appropriate and interactive exercises.