ARCHANGELS ACADEMY CLASSROOM
Reading and Language Arts
The reading and language arts area immerses children in print materials. A large variety of children’s literature is available and the children are encouraged to check out books daily. Our strategy aims at building children’s awareness of the printed word and the manner by which letters make words. Children have name tags in their cubbies which they use to identify their work space and to write their name. A common practice in the room is writing down the words that the children use whenever possible. To encourage a love of writing, the children are encouraged to write letters and words by themselves.
The reading readiness skills students develop at this age include recognizing and writing their own name, using illustrations to understand the story, being aware of the multiple purposes of print, left-to-right reading, recitation and recognition of the alphabet, knowledge of front and back of books, an introduction to authors and illustrators, reproduction of letters via copying, awareness of beginning sound-letter associations, knowledge that a “string” of letters creates a word, and the use of pictographs and sentence/picture journaling.
We use Jolly Phonics! It’s a really exciting program that approaches “learning letters” in a different way. Our focus is on the SOUND each letter makes, instead of just the name of the letter. This way, instead of just being able to recite the alphabet, or spell their name out loud, the children will be more familiar with the sound each letter makes, and therefore, they’ll gain the skills to read and make words much earlier. One main focus is the use of physical motions to help the children remember each sound. The students then say the sound, make the motion and see the wall freeze utilizing multiple senses.
The focus of the mathematics component is on developing children’s number sense. This is achieved through daily hands-on math encounters. To develop an awareness of numeration, students use manipulatives to make one-to-one correspondence. The three-year-olds are expected to recognize and count from 1 to 10, and the four-year-olds from 1 to 20. They can also estimate more and less, and use number books.
Geometry work includes free play with tanagrams and wooden blocks, being able to name basic shapes (circle, square, triangle, rectangle, star, octagon, and geometric solids), recognize these shapes in everyday objects, and use the shapes in art activities such as collages. Four year old students write calendar to understand days, weeks and months. Children learn about measuring during hands-on activities such as water and sand play with volume (pails, cylinders, boxes, etc.), free play with measuring tools, and weighing activities using a beginner’s scale as well as bi-monthly cooking projects.
The objective of the science curriculum is to make the world familiar to children via hands-on explorations of everyday objects. The course outline includes units that arise from the children’s interests, as well as weather, colors and color-mixing, magnets, plants and flowers, bugs and insects, bubbles, babies and human growth, and animals.
Students start the day with prayer and end the day by venerating the class icon as they exit the room. Our faith is the foundation for everything we do in the school. The students attend Liturgy whenever possible. Father Tilemahos presents icons to the children and teaches them the lives of the saints. The children learn how to identify different items in the icons. Students are taught the liturgical calendar and all the major feast days.
The primary goal of the social studies component is to understand the world we live in, from the 7 continents down to our home town. Our staff works with topics including differences and similarities among people, friends, and families, while keeping the focus on the fact that we are all God’s children.
Archangels Academy is very proud of its language immersion program, in which students hear Greek throughout the day and across the curriculum. The Greek teacher speaks Greek 100% of the time. The goal of this exposure is to inspire a lifelong interest in Greek language learning. Basic topics covered include greetings, numbers from 1 to 10, colors, animals, body parts, family, food and feelings.
Students attend weekly lessons in small groups that teach the monthly theme for Greek. During these lessons they use a variety of skills, such as cutting, coloring, matching, writing and singing.
Young children are primarily process-oriented artists. Multiple opportunities to explore the media are necessary before they can be expected to create a purposeful art piece. Because of this, the preschool art program does not focus on the end product, but rather on the process that the child experiences. By designing process-oriented art encounters, the children’s skills in drawing, painting, pasting, cutting, tearing, and sculpting can be extended to their fullest potential. Furthermore, all artistic endeavors, great or small, are appreciated. With that being said we do make special craft projects through out the year.
Students use the following media throughout the school year: pencils, markers, crayons, tempera paints, watercolor, clay, pastels, chalk, collage and play dough.
The physical education program encourages gross-motor and fine-motor development. The children participate in fun, interactive cardiovascular activities, both in the classroom and in the gymnasium, while also working on their social skills (taking turns, following rules and directions) and academic knowledge (counting, alphabet, colors).