Curriculum & Instructional Philosophy (Methodology)
Three key ideas:
- Small class sizes (classes range from 12-15 students with a lead teacher and assistant teacher)
- Multi-age classrooms
- Developmentally and Socially appropriate instruction
Small, multi-age classrooms will be formed because we believe that it provides for a wide range of abilities, allows for varying rates of development, nurtures individual emotional and social needs and creates a strong teacher/student and peer relationship.
Students will develop solid skills in key content areas (language arts, mathematics, science and social studies) as well as physical education, fine arts – art, music, drama, dance, and technology. As our program expands, we will receive further instruction in foreign language. We feel it is essential for each child to be well-rounded and given opportunities to learn through their interests and strengths.
The highlights to our curriculum will be to develop a strong sense of self and compassion to others. This is why we will have unique community projects to further build healthy relationships with others and understand their own value in the world. Students will be knowledgeable, compassionate, and leaders in our ever growing and changing world.
Our instructional day will be organized so that sufficient time is allocated to each academic area, and a balanced, interdisciplinary program will be implemented. Teachers will tailor instruction to capitalize on moments when students demonstrate readiness or curiosity regarding a related or higher skill. Each teacher’s recognition of individual needs will be evident through the growth and engagement of the students.
Our styles of teaching will greatly reflect the styles of learning based on each student.
We will prepare students for transitions to middle school by giving them the primary foundational skills needed to be successful. We will also incorporate state standards, however, they will be taught based on the child’s Individual Portfolio.
Personalized Instruction Portfolio
One of the critical hallmarks of our school is the fact that Harmony Hills Academy is a student versus a curriculum-based school. Each of our teachers assesses each child’s unique abilities. That allows us to teach just in front of those abilities. It is through this repetition of reach and success on the student’s part, that a true love of learning is developed.
Each year, every one of our students receives a Personalized Instruction Portfolio. This document is created by the teacher to ensure that each student’s individual needs are met. The Personal Instruction Portfolio is the basis of the level of teaching that will be offered to each student throughout the year. It helps to ensure that each student has the opportunity to reach their academic and social potential every day.
The Personalized Instruction Portfolio includes an assessment of the child’s performance levels within academic areas, their learning styles, and their interests. The teacher also creates a plan to develop and support each student’s effort to reach his or her highest academic and personal potential.
The study of history and social science is vital in a democratic society. All students need to know and understand our national heritage in order to become informed participants in shaping our nation’s future.
We will be covering History, Geography, Civics and Economics.
We will be using Singapore Math as one of our primary instructional resource for math curriculum; however, we believe it is important to use resources that align to a student’s learning style and interest. We will use a variety of instructional tools to build your child’s mathematical ability.
What is most different about Singapore Math is the philosophy that it emphasizes and the pedagogy on how the content is taught. The Singapore Math perspective means fundamental and foundational. It does not mean easy or simple. Singapore Math recognizes that for children, what they learn in elementary school is the basis of all future math learning. The curriculum is based on a progression from concrete experience—using manipulatives—to a pictorial stage and finally to the abstract level or algorithm. This sequence gives students a solid understanding of basic mathematical concepts and relationships before they start working at the abstract level. Singapore Math emphasizes the development of strong number sense, excellent mental-math skills, and a deep understanding of place value. Singapore Math includes a strong emphasis on model drawing, a visual approach to solving word problems that helps students organize information and solve problems in a step-by-step manner. Concepts are taught to mastery, then later revisited. It is said the U.S. curriculum is a mile wide and an inch deep, whereas Singapore’s math curriculum is said to be just the opposite. The Singapore approach focuses on developing students who are problem solvers.
Harmony Hills Academy wants all of our students to become academically accomplished in science by immersion in scientific investigation and experimentation. Beginning in Kindergarten, students undertake simple experiments and learn the process of scientific inquiry. Each lesson allows students to develop hypotheses, conduct experiments, make observations, collect data, and test the accuracy of their hypotheses. As students progress through our science curriculum, they deepen and extend their understanding of the basic principles of science through a variety of scientific media and through the development of subject-appropriate vocabulary skills as well as more sophisticated hands-on experiments.
Literacy & Language Arts
Language arts encompasses the social awareness and development to help us succeed in the community. We focus on reading, writing, speaking, listening, and using language effectively throughout our content areas.
We believe world language is essential to better communication in the future and we will begin a foreign language program to build upon our communication abilities.
Technology will be integrated throughout our subject levels as a tool and resource to broaden our understanding of a topic as well as using it as a communication tool. We cultivate student growth through the use of SMART Board intuitive whiteboards and student individualized tablets – iPads/Surface.
Harmony Hills Academy believes that it is vital to expose students to a multitude of learning experiences so that students can explore and discover untapped talent and interests. Our program is designed to provide exposure opportunities for our students in hopes that they may seek further development of these disciplines. By providing these opportunities, we are able to enrich the educational experience of each student.
Art, music, dance, drama, and fitness are an essential part to teaching to the whole child. In a society where many schools deem the arts and physical education as nonessential and expendable, HHA strives to expand these programs. These programs are integrated vertically and horizontally into the curriculum at each grade level.