The Primary (K -1) Program
The Primary Program serves students who are in Kindergarten and First Grade. For students who begin in Kindergarten, it is designed as a two-year program. Students who begin at Oakwood as First Grade students generally transition to the Elementary level in the following year.
The Primary Program was reinstituted at Oakwood in 2004 to meet the needs of students who were showing signs of developing learning differences and for whom the larger classes available in other schools would not be effective. Our program combines the best educational practices for developmentally appropriate instruction for students at this level – small class size with trained teachers (4:1 student to teacher ratio, with 2 teachers in the room), extra group Speech and Occupational Therapy to develop skills in these areas, instructional activities based on the developmental needs of the students, and attention to the whole child.
Developing strong foundational skills in Reading and Mathematics is at the heart of the Primary program. Using an Orton-Gillingham approach to phonics instruction, we focus on building strong phonemic awareness, sound-symbol relationships, and good decoding skills. In Math, we use the Concrete-Representational-Abstract (CRA) sequence to build core math concepts. Manipulatives and multisensory activities provide the basis of the teaching methods at this level.
Attention to students’ overall development is at the core of this program. We use the FISH program throughout the school to reinforce the core concepts of “Make Their Day, Play, Choose Your Attitude, and Be There” as hallmarks of our community. Mentoring programs with older students enhance the younger students’ sense of connectedness with the school and provide positive role models. The use of Brain Gym and other movement programs also help students develop good skills for recognizing and monitoring their need for movement to improve learning. Sensory integration activities are built into the Primary schedule as routine activity.