Hampstead Academy Curricula Overview
Personal Development Philosophy
The future of any nation or society depends on the values and character of young people. The personal development program at Hampstead Academy focuses on the knowledge and skills necessary to invoke healthy, responsible, productive, and caring citizens. Hampstead Academy accomplishes the goal by addressing four main areas of instruction: character development, personal health, adaptive life skills, and community service. Personal development encompasses the Hampstead Academy's daily experience. The personal development program directs students to respect themselves and others, provides guidance towards making healthy decisions, and provides opportunities to influence positive change in our global society.
Globalization and greater communication with foreign countries have increased the need for progressive and innovative school communities to nurture bilingual speakers. By learning a foreign language and the cultural context within which a native language develops, a student becomes a more diverse and thoughtful person more accepting of other cultures. Learning a second or third language can help to develop new areas of your brain (Jensen, 2019), strengthen one’s natural ability to focus, and expand critical thinking skills.
Spanish Instruction Philosophy
In the modern, American economy, 16% of the workplace is staffed by employees for which Spanish is the native language (USDOE, 2019). The goal of the Spanish Language curriculum at Hampstead Academy is to offer a program of study for students to learn, understand, speak, read, and write the language. Culture is an integral part of the program which enables the students to truly understand and appreciate the Spanish speaking world. The scope of the material depends upon the particular grade level. Spanish is introduced to students at the Pre-Kindergarten level which allows students to grow in their understanding of the Spanish language and culture. The Spanish curriculum is taught using media, games, adapted readings, and class discussions.
English Language Arts Instruction Philosophy
The Language Arts program at Hampstead Academy is based on educational research and includes foundational skills and strategies to meet National Standards (LRI, 2020 & NRA, 2019). Our program includes the essential components of reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Strategies are taught within a real and meaningful context, and activities are designed to have a function and purpose to which the students can relate. At all grade levels, the components of reading and writing are consistently integrated across all academic disciplines because children learn to read through the writing of others and learn to write by reading and assimilating information read.
Literacy and Reading Instruction Philosophy
The reading program within Hampstead Academy is multi-dimensional: incorporating phonemic awareness, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. In the early stages, children are considered readers as ‘emergent literacy’ grows and develops. Teachers provide numerous opportunities for the young reader to explore books within the classroom and library. At every grade level, teachers are encouraged to observe each child as a learner coming to new experiences with prior knowledge and to apply instructional strategies appropriate to the students’ needs and individual learning styles. When literature selections are chosen for whole group sharing, teachers ensure all students have the prior knowledge to access lesson content. Within literacy and reading no one instructional method is taught exclusively, but rather an eclectic approach is used. The philosophy celebrates and supports all students at individual comprehension levels. The literacy and reading program will develop an appreciation for reading which will remain with the students long after leaving Hampstead Academy.
Mathematics Instruction Philosophy
Hampstead Academy believes providing each student with a Mathematics program rich with opportunities to become perceptive problem-solvers, each will be ready to become productive citizens able to communicate mathematically and work collaboratively (Singapore mathematics, 2019).
From Preschool through Grade 8, mathematical concepts, computations, and explorations are emphasized as curriculum priorities shaping and serving students throughout life. The emerging mathematical literacy of a student is observed, encouraged, rehearsed, then authenticated through a variety of differentiated activities and assessments (Singapore Mathematics, 2019). A dynamic mathematics classroom environment incorporates manipulatives, dialogue assisting students in using a multi-sensory approach and encourages critical thinking and creative problem-solving.
Hampstead Academy affirms an integrative approach to mathematics. The perspective emphasizes students learn not only about mathematics but also learn via the process of mathematics (NATN, 2019). Learning skills in context enables students to realize the purpose of instruction, empowers each to learn with each experience, and equips each with the ability to apply knowledge of mathematics to future learning.
Science Instruction Philosophy
Science is a universal subject examining the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experimentation. Science education teaches students strategies promoting the examination of the evidence systematically, interpreting data, and asking productive questions. Science is a means for our students to become engaged global citizens. Students acquire science concepts and skills through an inquiry-based, hands-on approach to the processes and techniques of discovery. Science allows students to explore the world and discover. At Hampstead Academy, science students actively participate in making predictions, collecting information, organizing ideas, and applying personal knowledge of science and understanding of the surrounding world.
The STEM to STEAM movement has been growing as a positive educational model to meet the needs of a 21st-century economy. STEM alone misses several key components that many employers, educators, and parents have expressed as critical for our children to flourish today and in the rapidly approaching future.
STEAM is an educational method that uses Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics as access points for guiding student exploration, discussion, and critical thinking. The end results are students who take thoughtful risks, engage in experiential learning, persist in problem-solving, embrace collaboration, and work through the creative process. These are the innovators, mentors, leaders, and learners of the 21st century. STEAM takes learning to the next level. It allows students to connect their learning through art practices, foundations, design principles, and standards. STEAM eliminates restrictions and replaces them with wonder, critique, inquiry, and innovation.
STEAM’s foundations lie in inquiry, critical thinking, and process-based learning. The entire idea surrounding the STEAM approach is that it’s based around deep experiential inquiry. Investigation, curiosity, problem-solving, collaboration, and creativity are foundational. STEAM-based projects are hands-on, reality-based lessons that cater to developing divergent thinking and implementation of skills. Lessons are built to accommodate the broad spectrum of learning styles and abilities at all grade levels. These lessons expose students to up to date context, field discoveries, inventions, and the world beyond the community they live in. STEAM experiences are an exciting way of learning, promoting critical thinking, problem-solving, and application of knowledge. STEAM is a model that uses the Arts as a lever to explosive learning, social-emotional connections, and the foundation for the innovators of tomorrow…today.
Social Studies Instruction Philosophy
The primary purpose of social studies is to help young people make informed and reasoned decisions for the public good as citizens of a culturally diverse, global society. Social studies are an integrated study of the world including aspects of history and geography. The goal of the social studies program at Hampstead Academy is to enable students to understand how the actions of people shape, or are shaped, by the world and global society and to give students a sense of responsibility toward others, the earth’s resources, and the environment.
Social Studies – History: Through our social studies program, students gain knowledge and perspective about different cultures and how each one is related to personal, present lives. Knowledge of one’s roots and one’s place in the stream of history provide the individual with the fullest sense of self and shared community. Students can see matters through the eyes of others who can better understand themselves and make connections between events of the past and the effect of those events on present-day society. Our teachers provide students with opportunities for in-depth investigation of concepts that challenge and engage them. The goal of our social studies program is to enable students to be active participants in public life.
Social Studies – Geography: Geography captures the imagination and stimulates curiosity about the world and its inhabitants including local, regional, and global issues. People everywhere need to know about their personal place in respect to the greater physical world. Geography should have more to do with asking questions and solving problems than the mere memorization of facts (Jensen, 2019). Our geography program at Hampstead Academy brings together the physical and human dimensions of the world through the study of places and people highlighting our interdependence on each other and the impact individuals and groups have on local and global environments.
The Visual and Performing Instruction Philosophy
The arts are a universal language. Arts education can bridge the past to the present and is a vehicle for learning about people and places from around the world. Visual and Performing Arts education enhances a student's problem-solving skills using creativity, imagination, and personal choice.
The Visual Arts: The Visual Arts Department of Hampstead Academy is committed to the concept of developing students who can appreciate as well as create art and enjoy the satisfaction of the process in conjunction with the product. The program nurtures individual growth and positive self-image while developing responsible contributors within a cooperative community. Art-making experiences at Hampstead Academy allows students to develop skills and techniques related to a specific artist, time period, or art medium. Students investigate various materials used by both professional artists, craftsmen, or folk artists. An extraordinary art educator facilitates learning experiences that enrich the fundamentals of the art curriculum. Students are invited to think like an artist and are guided to envision, reflect, and refine, their own artistic creations. Art education allows students to respond and connect to a particular subject matter, or art medium in their own creative way. Students apply their learned skills to an assignment, and then select and prepare to present the work for a particular school event. The art program allows students to cultivate an appreciation for art aesthetics while guiding students to understand the art world. Art history is an important piece of learning as is developing skills to make art. Students are invited to be influenced by the unique ideas developed by artists from the past and our present culture. Hampstead Academy’s art curriculum is largely focused on The Studio Habits of Mind (Harvard Project Zero, 2007) written by Lois Hetland. The role of the art educator at Hampstead Academy is to nourish the mind and the hands with many diverse art experiences. Students have opportunities to respond to famous works of art, relate to art/artists, while growing in a nurturing environment.
The Performing Arts: The goal of the performing arts program at Hampstead Academy is to provide students with multiple opportunities to achieve a diverse and sophisticated appreciation of music and movement. Singing, dancing, playing instruments, listening, acting, and performing are curriculum priorities that enhance the entire academic and social life of the students. The students come to class knowing a "hands-on" approach to creating and performing awaits.
Emerging skills are observed and documented through a variety of assessments. Singing, performing, viewing and conversation within the classroom assist the child in oral and listening skills which help facilitate the reading and writing of music. Students are also encouraged to be leaders and mentors to each other, using personal skills to evaluate peers, assist in helping the performance through planning and implementing the performance, and providing positive feedback as to how to improve things and what worked the best. Our program provides students with a solid background in music literacy, which includes the music elements, music theory, and music notation. The students will gain a better understanding of the music language: able to read, write, and perform music. In short Hampstead Academy affirms an integrative, sequential approach to music which encourages students to reach full potential through activities blending the mind, body, and spirit and heighten awareness of the environment, community, and the world.
Technology and Project-based Learning Instruction Philosophy
By extending the classroom beyond the reach of the physical walls, students are enabled to access resources promoting creativity, collaboration, entrepreneurship, and real-world learning experiences. Extensions cultivate creative, contextual thinking requiring problem-solving and decision-making. Students are given opportunities to interact in various online communities which cultivating a sense of global awareness and affords opportunities to practice good digital citizenship. Technology empowers students to see “community” ripples out from the immediate to the global environment. Technology enables educators to provide learning experiences building upon a student’s innate enthusiasm for learning with tech projects of varied modality: promoting individual skill sets and differentiation.
Project-based learning opens venues for the development of personal expression, creativity, teamwork, communication skills, analytical and critical-thinking skills. Project-based learning incorporates technology and hands-on activities: multi-modal, differentiated, and individualized providing a solid foundation to compete in a global society. Both the technology and project-based learning initiatives are designed to promote creativity and build resilience as well as perseverance within students.
Physical Education Instruction Philosophy
Hampstead Academy’s physical education program teaches students about movement, strategies, teamwork, problem-solving, and health-related fitness. Exposing students to various physical activities, sports, and methods of fitness can better provide enjoyment of physical exercise, as well as build social, psychomotor, and cognitive skills. Hampstead Academy strives to safely provide the means for students to enjoy physical activity, become more confident with personal abilities, increase personal knowledge of fitness and health, and help each student to find ways to establish an active lifestyle.