We strive to make our classrooms at Immanuel a place where children come and learn to be well rounded, Christ-following members of our world. It’s important to build a strong academic foundation for the little ones coming up through the grades in our school, but we also believe that focusing on character development at these young ages is integral to their education. We want our students to have strong minds and understanding hearts as they travel through and eventually leave our program. We integrate this heart and mind training through our curriculum and social lessons that we do with all of our students.
Math – The math curriculum we use is challenging and immerses even the younger children in solid content, with specific goals definitely more advanced than the public schools. The curriculum is designed to integrate new concepts while continuously reviewing previously learned ones. Thus, instead of learning a concept and forgetting it as the units move on, students retain the concepts they’ve learned early on through the continuous practice that is provided.
Reading – For elementary teachers one of the biggest struggles can be meeting the needs of all of the different levels of readers in their classrooms. Our teachers realized that by working together they could provide a better program that met all of the students right at their level. Students from Grades 1-5 all have reading for an hour a day at the same time. The teacher the students work with is determined by their guided reading level rather than by their grade. In this fluid time students move around to the classroom that best meets their needs. Two classrooms teach guided reading at students’ levels and one teaches novel studies for the readers who are ready for that.
Science and Social Studies – We use OACS (Ontario Alliance of Christian Schools) Creation studies units. Each unit focuses on a thematic statement and from there we ask essential questions to discover God’s world. Each unit is either a life systems, science and technology, or social studies unit.
Bible – Also follows the OACS curriculum that has units focusing on studying books of the Bible as well as units that are topically focused. Our students are reading and analyzing the Bible as a historical text and learning why these texts are important to our lives today. Also includes Bible verse memory work.
Music, Art, French, and Physical Education are all included in the curriculum.
Testimonials about the reading program
Grade 1-2 teacher Loretta Anderson:
“Students know at what level they are reading and I’ve seen only encouragement with this. I hear things like, “Wow – X is on a level y already…great job!” I also have seen kids motivated to read, read, read. They want to keep moving up and they know the more they practice, the better readers they become. We aren’t just focused on levels; we encourage literacy in all kinds of different ways. We encourage kids to choose books that interest them and seem exciting to them. We celebrate literacy with Storybook Character Day. We also promote reading by doing book buddies and reading time with a volunteer. I also have implemented a Fluency Boot Camp that happens every spring in my classroom. This is a focused ‘boot camp’ style of intense reading where the end goal is to become a more fluid reader. It’s definitely a highlight for the students.”
Grade 4-5 teacher Bridget DeBoer:
“The year that we switched to this approach I had some struggling readers who switched to a guided reading classroom at their level. I could feel and see their relief during reading time! They were no longer trying to keep up with novels they weren’t ready for; instead they were enjoying reading time and were confident in their work. On the other side, it’s seriously motivated students to work on their reading and get to the next level. A Grade 3 will work so hard for the chance to be in the Grade 4/5 teacher’s reading class! The students can feel at ease in their ‘book clubs’ that they are working at their level and getting great reading practice and development without feeling overwhelmed.”
“I read at a high level and I like that I got to move up to the next class when I was ready so I could read more challenging books.”
“I like that I get to go up to the Grade 4/5 class for reading because I like reading novels.”
“I like doing word work during reading time.”
“I felt better when I got to go down to the Grade 2/3 classroom because it was more at my level.”
“I think that switching over to a different classroom was more helpful for my reading.”