Early Childhood Curriculum
Pre-kindergarten and Kindergarten
The goal of this program is to create independent, competent, lifelong readers and writers. Students are exposed to a wide variety of literary genres through read-aloud experiences. Shared reading using the enlarged text found in Big Books allows them to participate and behave like readers. Reading and writing instruction are embedded in the meaningful daily activities within the thematic units presented in the classroom. Children make sense out of written language, understand the purpose of print and how it works, develop phonemic awareness, and write letters, words and sentences. In our balanced literacy program, opportunities exist for rich language experiences, using spoken language to communicate with others, enlarging one's vocabulary, expressing oneself, understanding the oral speech of others, participating in a conversation, and using language to solve problems. Students in the Primary School use the Handwriting Without Tears curriculum. The multi-sensory lessons teach to all learning styles and help students gain understanding about how to construct letters. The unique materials help minimize problems with letter formation, reversals, spacing, and cursive connections.
MathematicsInstruction in the Pre-K and Kindergarten math curriculums lay the foundation for a child’s conceptual understanding of math. Children are encouraged to think and reason mathematically through real-life correlations, discovery, and meaningful, concrete, hands-on experiences. By teaching through thematic units, engaging mathematics discussions and manipulatives are used to extend current mathematic thinking, knowledge and communication skills, thus helping to further develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Concepts include gathering and making sense of information by comparing, contrasting, sorting, classifying, counting, measuring, estimating, recognizing and repeating patterns. These concepts are continually reinforced daily through the use of children's literature, art, games, dramatic play, music and movement activities that attend to all learning styles, kinesthetic, auditory, verbal-linguistic. The Investigations in Number, Data, and Space (TERC) curriculum units are used allowing the exploration of the number system, beginning in Kindergarten.
Social StudiesSocial Studies is developmentally appropriate and well balanced. The Lions Quest Character Education Program is used in the Primary School to help students begin to achieve a sense of self and others; learn to take responsibility for self and others; follow rules and routines; respect others and take initiative. Students learn to show empathy through group decision-making and taking turns. Student activities are hands-on and are introduced through integrated and thematic approaches and supported by dramatic play, music, circle time, games, literature, and the arts.
ScienceScience is integrated throughout the curriculum to create a sensory-rich experience that appeals to all learning styles. Our discovery-based program introduces children to basic scientific principles. Some areas of focus include Seasons, 5 Senses, Life Cycles, Kitchen Chemistry, and the Human Body. Students experience a wide variety of hands-on activities that lead to the development of the scientific processes of categorizing, predicting, observing, comparing, measuring, experimenting, recording, questioning and communicating.
Drama, Dance, Music and Visual Arts are interwoven and addressed throughout the curriculum on a daily basis (National Standards for Arts Education). An experiential, sensory, hands-on approach is used in our curriculum as the children plan, design, create and explore. Children mix paints, pound and shape clay, build structures with blocks, boxes, LEGOs, recyclables, dance and move to music, dramatize stories, clap rhythms, listen to music, and sing chants and songs. Throughout the curriculum, an emphasis is placed on the important role of play (symbolic and pretend).
Physical Development / Motor Skills
Movement and motor development is integrated throughout the curriculum. Gross motor control (moving the large muscles of the body, especially the arms and legs) is achieved through movements such as running, jumping, hopping, galloping, and skipping. Fine motor control (using and controlling the small muscles of the hands and wrists with dexterity) is achieved as children are able to practice and perform self-help skills and manipulate small objects such as scissors, paint brushes, crayons, markers, and pencils.
The Art program strives to develop students who are confident in observation and technical skills using a variety of mediums. We try to support our students in their individual strivings for aesthetic and expressive growth. The program promotes the understanding and use of basic art concepts, terminology, and tools. Students are exposed to art history and the art of other cultures. They render still-life, landscape, figure, portrait, and wildlife projects in both two- and three-dimensional mediums. We hope to build cooperation among students through partnership and team projects. Our studio environment provides the opportunity to create high-quality pieces and to receive individual and group assistance.
The National Association for Sport and Physical Education has established content standards for school physical education programs that clearly identify statements related to what a student should know and be able to do as a result of a quality program. The National Standards provide the framework for Hampstead Academy’s curriculum and programming objectives. In Kindergarten an introduction to movement vocabulary and concepts will be used as a foundation for units presented. An introduction to related skill sets is presented and experienced by all. Lead-up games and activities are utilized to practice new skills learned in a game or modified activity format. In grades one and two, the emphasis is to continue to build movement vocabulary and concepts. Games with three to four rules are taught and played. One and two-step directions are given to teach skill work. Students begin to experience movement skills and attempt to apply concepts and vocabulary taught within the unit.
Students are introduced to Spanish and continue yearly, building their mastery of this language. In Primary School, students will explore the Spanish language with songs, literature, games and hands-on learning activities. Spiral learning and repetition are important elements when learning a language. Because of this, the program recycles and introduce new and old materials at the same time.
The use of technology at Hampstead Academy serves to further the facilitation of the school’s Technology Mission: Hampstead Academy will provide an environment that enables students to develop fluency in technology to become global innovators as it relates to real-world experiences and community responsiveness. The program is structured utilizing the ISTE NETS*S (National Educational Technology Standards for Students from the International Society for Technology in Education). Grades K-8 are involved in projects across their educational experience that incorporate technology and address standards for collaboration, innovation, research/media fluency, digital citizenship, technology operations, and problem-solving.
Additionally, students make use of the school Makerspace and experiment with ideas, tools, and materials to discover the variety of possibilities for solving problems. As students work with their hands, persevering through setbacks, and engaging with others in creative collaboration, the Makerspace activities allow for empowered, active learning. It is real interaction with real objects, real tools, and real people.