Reading and Literacy
Reading and literacy are taught in an age appropriate way and in the younger years this is through the imagination.
Our Preschool and Kindergarten rooms are language-rich environments: poetry, songs, stories and nursery rhymes build a wide vocabulary and sensitize the child's ear to phonic patterns. They also establish the fundamental of an excellent literacy program: a love of beautiful language expressing the richness of the human journey.
Our Kindergarten builds the body-awareness that underlies literacy. As the sense of body geography unfolds, the child gains an inner picture of how she/he lives in the three sets of spatial directions: up/down; back/front; right/left. Literacy is linear, and this inner sense of direction is essential in learning to read print: a book is read from front to back, the pages are turned from right to left, the lines are read from left to right, and the page is read from top to bottom. Other systems call this facility "Concepts about print" and it is acknowledged as basic to the reading process. We support the natural unfolding of this sense of body geography through movement exercises, action poems and skilled craft work.
As the child approaches the 7th year, the ability to think abstractly begins to arise. Phonemic awareness (the ability to hear separate sounds in a word) unfolds naturally around this time and as the children finish Kindergarten we assess each one to ensure the literacy readiness is in place. We monitor the very small number of children in whom this facility is delayed and we provide a program to strengthen and support their development.
In Class 1 the journey into literacy begins in a seamless and harmonious manner using the Imagination: each letter is introduced through an oral story told by the teacher from the Fairy Tale tradition. The children draw a picture from the story, and the teacher shows how a letter emerges out of the drawing. So the alphabet is introduced in a way completely in keeping with the child's nature: we have found over many years that all children respond to this natural and beautiful way of introducing literacy development. It is "learning with soul".
By the age of 9 or 10 our students are often voracious and deep readers with a thorough understanding and comprehension. This understanding and comprehension is built up over years of listening to and recounting stories in many ways, through drawing and other visual media, text and drama.