The Language Arts program is a synthesis of reading, writing, listening, and speaking that provides our students with exposure to a variety of literary styles. In studying both classical and contemporary authors, students discuss the timeless aspects of character, language, plot, and theme. Students’ comprehension develops as they develop their ability to make literary connections with their world on a global level. Students are encouraged to think and respond critically, creatively, and analytically within their writing. Students explore a variety of writing styles and are encouraged to develop these styles as well as on their own. Through peer editing, teacher feedback, and personal assessment, students review the idea, organization, content, and mechanics of their written work. Grammar is integrated into the program. The literature read often reflects social studies topics and themes giving the opportunity to develop many cross-curricular links. The written work often reflects the genre of the literature being studied.
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.
The Science program is divided into three main content domains, Earth-Space, Life, and Physical Science. Our program integrates the basic science process skills together to gradually develop a student’s abilities as they progress through grades five through eight for each content area of science covered. The Science program emphasizes the use of Scientific Inquiry as a foundation through which students develop knowledge and understanding of scientific ideas, as well as an understanding of how scientists study the natural world. Students in fifth and sixth grade receive introductory science courses which investigate: Solar System, Color and Light, Magnetism, Simple Machines, Flight and Rocketry, Weather Instruments and Weather Forecasting, Oceans, Classification, Fungi, Pond Life, Pollution and Erosion, and Body Organization and Structure. Investigations at this level are based upon detecting the similarities and differences among the things they collect and observe. Students at this level are encouraged to observe more carefully, measure things with increasing accuracy, record data in journals and communicate results through written Scientific Method reports. Students in seventh and eighth grade receive advanced courses which investigate: Chemistry, Electricity, Physics, Famous Scientists, Astronomy, Earth Processes, Sources of Energy, Nanotechnology, Environmental Problems and Solutions, Anatomy and Physiology, Reproductive Genetics, Botany, and Classification. At this level, students are more systematic in conducting their investigations; explicitly discussing how explanation relates to the experimental design and support their learning of scientific concepts through selected readings. The application of metrics is emphasized in all their work and students maintain science notebooks to learn science content and to communicate effectively.
The Social Studies program for the Upper School combines a chronological sequence of World and United States history with a strong emphasis on regional and world geography. We use the Holt textbooks, Intro to Geography, World History: Human Legacy and American Anthem. Students are challenged to discover the cause and effect relationships of history and physical or human geography, as well as, analyze and synthesize information garnered through their readings and activities. Current events are connected to the study of history and geography through once a week "Newsreel" classes in which the students generate video presentations of current or historical events, along with a weekly newsletter. The curriculum encourages students to be interactive through class simulations. Technology is further used to enhance the curriculum through Interactive White Board presentations and virtual field trips. Responsible research techniques using the internet are also taught. Assessment of understanding is conducted with multiple choice testing, short and long answer essays, research papers, note taking, class participation, and projects. Social Studies curriculum integrates with Language Arts, Science, and Fine Arts.
The Upper School Fine Arts program strives to make students more visually aware, as well as give them an appreciation for the visual arts, through lessons in still life renderings, technical perspective, figure drawing, portraiture, ceramics, and sculpture. The goal of the program is for students to gain confidence in their own artistic ability and develop an understanding of the use of basic art concepts, terminology, and tools. Projects alternate between two-dimensional and three-dimensional design work. As students mature, greater focus is placed on reflective thought and personal expression. Project design often integrates with classroom studies. Individuals are supported in their strivings for aesthetic and expressive growth in our studio environment.
The goal of band is to strive for excellence in musical practice and performance. Emphasis will be placed on sound production, articulation, rhythm, ear training, and group performance. Studies have shown that playing an instrument helps students realize their full potential by improving memory, coordination, reasoning, motivation, critical thinking, and self-esteem. Students will also learn the importance of working together and being committed to a common goal. The band will perform concerts as well as provide music for the drama department and other smaller functions around the school. Our hope is that playing an instrument will encourage students to strive for excellence in other subjects and ultimately their desired career path.
The Mandarin Chinese class offers an introduction to the basic usage of the Chinese language. It builds students’ speaking and listening skills through simple everyday conversations. The students gain reading and writing skills by studying the Hanyu Pinyin system and the simplified Chinese characters. Chinese culture, current events, customs, and festivals are also incorporated into the curriculum.
The NASPE (National Association for Sport and Physical Education) standards are integrated and emphasized through physical education unit curriculum. Our intramural and upper school sports team offerings groom our students for the high school team experience. Our upper school sports teams welcome the beginning player as well as the experienced. Our coaching staff provides a safe and caring environment for the middle school athlete. We do not cut students from a team. In class, our emphasis is on skill development and participation. We consistently emphasize, with all of our students, the importance of taking personal responsibility for making healthy lifestyle and activity choices that will positively influence their health and fitness. Physical Education units, intramural, and upper school team offerings are rotated each year. Upper school students also participate in the Presidential Youth Fitness Program.
1The 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. Projects may involve international collaborations, programming concepts, internet use/safety, digital storytelling, keyboarding, word processing, and more.
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.
The Performing Arts program is designed to provide students with the opportunity to experience and gain an appreciation for the various aspects of theatre, music, and dance. The music curriculum has various areas of focus including music theory, notation, composition, vocal technique, ear training, general musicality, and appreciation. The theatre curriculum includes training in the areas of public speaking, projection, diction, character development, physical acting, vocal characterizations, improvisation, stage directions, scriptwriting, directing, and stagecraft. Students explore basic movement skills for the stage and beyond through musical theatre, tap and rhythmic dancing, and expression through movement. For students who are interested in exploring the process of full-scale theatrical productions, an after-school theater program is offered. Through our Performing Arts program, the students have the opportunity to explore their individual talents and the theatrical styles of different cultures while also fostering their creativity, self-confidence, and ability to work as a collaborative member of an ensemble.