Elementary School (1-5) Program
The Elementary Program at Oakwood School serves students who are in First through Fifth or Sixth grades. Students are grouped in homerooms of up to 12 students with 2 teachers. These homerooms are divided into smaller groups for Reading and Mathematics. Two homerooms usually work together to allow 4 groups for these major subject areas. This enables us to keep the groups small and homogeneous.
Our homerooms are not grade-specific. For example, one homeroom may be composed of students in grades 3 and 4 while another homeroom may have all 4th graders. We look at many facets of the whole child in deciding homeroom placements: age and grade of the student, maturity level, social skills, academic abilities and instructional levels.
We provide an integrated approach to teaching our students the skills they need to be successful. The reading techniques and strategies taught in Reading class are reinforced in Science, Social Studies, and even Math!
Social Affective and Enrichment classes provide an opportunity for students to practice social skills, understand themselves better, and learn about topics of interest. With direct instruction and opportunities to practice skills in the classroom, students develop a community which is based on the core principles of the FISH program used throughout the school -- “Make Their Day, Play, Choose Your Attitude, and Be There.” Classes in Art and Music enrich the curriculum and allow students another outlet for their creativity. Often these areas use projects and songs which are connected to the Social Studies or Science curriculum, helping students use another mode for learning.
Our academic program starts where a child can experience true success. We work to build foundational skills in all areas. As many of our students have difficulty with reading, we use a multisensory systematic, phonetic approach to teaching decoding based on the Orton-Gillingham teaching methods. Specific instruction in phonics, both encoding and decoding, occurs each day within the Reading program. We also focus on building comprehension strategies and increasing fluency.
In Mathematics, we build strong foundational skills and work to fill in any holes in concept development which a child may have. Our program focuses on using a multisensory, hands-on approach based on the Concrete-Representational-Abstract (CRA) sequencing which research has shown to best benefit our students in developing strong math skills. We work to build fact fluency through technology as well as time-tested methods. We are committed to building strong concepts and problem-solving skills so students understand the underlying reasoning for the algorithm. Frequent review and extra practice are provided to shore up these skills.
Written Language skills are taught according to our scope and sequence of skills and using several programs which focus on structured writing balanced with creativity. Using programs such as Step Up to Writing and 6 + 1 Traits of Writing, we help students develop strong skills in this area which is frequently quite challenging for them. We use technology as appropriate and work with our Occupational Therapist to help students develop the fine motor skills essential for legible handwriting, both print and cursive, as well as keyboarding.
Science and Social Studies classes are taught by homeroom so students experience a larger group setting (up to 12 students). Study Skills are incorporated into these content areas. Even at the youngest levels, students are learning basic skills such as finding the main idea and supporting details, choosing important ideas when researching, showing information in hands-on projects and in writing, and presenting information learned to others. Using hands-on, teacher-guided experiments and projects, students learn how they learn best.