The Los Rayos group is a diverse group of learners ranging from ages 6-7 years (1st and 2nd grade); the Learning Outcomes are expected to be met by approximately the end of the student’s eighth year. They are emerging from the concrete stage of learning and can understand more complex concepts and symbolism. They are gaining confidence and their friends are playing a more and more important role in their lives. They are expected to remain focused for increased amounts of instruction time and to be active participants in learning.
Reading: The reading program for this age group is designed to accommodate each child’s individual needs while fostering growth and skill development. Children are placed in small, developmentally based groups best suited to their needs. They are taught using a blend of the A-Z reading series, Jolly phonics, and San Juan del Sur Day School’s own reading materials. For students who need extra help mastering how to read efficiently, we also use the Toe-by-Toe program designed to meet the needs of different types of learners. Instruction focuses on phonemic awareness, letter sound relationships, high frequency and sight word mastery, visual and auditory discrimination, and comprehension. As the students progress and are ready the reading program is designed to develop a well-rounded reader who is able to apply phonics and word recognition skills, while building their reading comprehension skills. The students are also able to identify story elements including characters, setting, problem and solution. Using the A-Z reading series, teacher modeling, and activities including reading circles, reader’s theater and read-alouds, the children are taught to be competent, expressive and fluent readers. Phonics instruction is an integral part of the curriculum. Phonics concepts become more complex.
Writing: In the writing program, children begin to learn the development of logical and creative thought using words and language. Creative writing is integrated with reading through journals. Children continue to practice fine motor skills in printing letters, words and sentences. We also focus on handwriting, once students have mastered printing we introduce and begin formal instruction of Script. While focusing on proper pencil grip and writing position, children learn the formation of letters. They practice the steps of the writing process: prewriting, organizing, drafting, and editing. Mechanics of writing are taught through the correct use of grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure. Children write fiction and non- fiction papers, poetry, letters, and compose basic research reports.
Spelling: We allow our students time to develop the skills of spelling. We allow for the process of understanding to unfold and we encourage children to use “inventive” spelling. It is through this process they gain a real understanding of the patterns of language and spelling. High frequency words and phonics skills are emphasized. Phonics concepts become more complex throughout as the child is ready, and visual awareness of spelling patterns is developed.
Composition: Composition is a step-by-step process in which the children learn to construct sentences and then paragraphs in logical order, while being creative and descriptive. The children brainstorm topics and learn about main ideas, paragraph structure, and the basic mechanics of writing.
Language Arts Learning Outcomes:
- Demonstrate comprehension
- Use phonics and decoding skills to spell with accuracy
- Read orally at approximate age level with fluency
- Demonstrate the ability to write about a topic
- Students will identify, summarize, predict, infer and discuss fiction and non-fiction books along with genres that fall within
- Write meaningful sentences and paragraphs
- Improve phonemic awareness and spelling skills.
- Students will experience writing stories, poetry, and nonfiction reports using capitalization and punctuation
- Comprehension – demonstrates understanding of materials read
- Fluency – reads texts aloud with fluency, expression and regard to punctuation. (118 words per minute minimum, by the end of their 8th year)
Instruction is focused on basic addition and subtraction with numbers, identifying patterns, sorting and classifying objects, place value, measurement, time, and money. Children are taught how to apply their mathematical knowledge in daily situations outside of the classroom. Children use the Everyday Math program and enrichment materials and are developmentally grouped to best meet their needs. Math instruction continues to focus on the fundamentals. Children learn addition and subtraction facts, build number sense, and are taught using practical applications of time, money, and measurement concepts. Addition and subtraction with regrouping is introduced as well as geometry and basic word problems. Children are grouped in small, developmentally based sections, and a variety of hands-on activities are used to further enhance the curriculum.
- Compare and order numbers to 100
- Applies strategies to solve addition and subtraction sentences
- Describe and extend patterns
- Use the skill of advanced addition and subtraction, and basic multiplication and division to solve problems
- Use measurement: length and area, time and temperature, capacity and weight.
- Explore money, fractions, and basic geometric principles
- Solve different types of word problems to reinforce critical mathematical thinking and creativity
- Computation – Accurate and fluent in all operations within a set time limit
- Concepts & Applications – shows sustained effort and number sense in problem solving
- Uses mathematical language and understands mathematical terms
- Demonstrates understanding of place value to 100,000 in various contexts
Students continue to explore science through the use of the five senses. The Scientific method is used. Instruction is intended to give children hands-on experiences with exciting materials, cultivating an inquiring mind. Field trips, nature walks, hands on experiments and baking activities allow a child’s natural curiosity to develop. Children continue to deepen their understanding about the water cycle, cells, elements, habitats, systems, magnets, matter, forces, energy, rocks, climate, and pushes and pulls. Our science program encourages children to ask and answer questions, build factual knowledge, and theorize for further examination.
- Use effective techniques for observing and testing basic scientific concepts
- Record observations and knowledge with accuracy
- Demonstrate an understanding of characteristics and properties of water
- Demonstrate a basic understanding of scientific concepts
- Use observational skills to recognize seasonal changes, weather fluctuations, and different biomes
- Students will learn about life cycles of plants, farming and animals through hands on experiences and nature walks throughout campus
- They will research, care for and report on animals and their habitats
Social and Emotional Development
Building on the foundation from Los Tigres, character education continues in the form of weekly all school meditation circles and meetings with the Director. Topics include how to implement the essential learning attitudes: Tolerance, Empathy, Respect, Commitment, Cooperation, Confidence, Responsibility, Gratitude, Enthusiasm, Service to others, Joyfulness, Peace, Compassion and Honesty. Conflict resolution and learning about the causes of conflict are teachable moments and we refer back to the values daily to help students work through everyday situations around: friendship, fears, manners, sharing, and self-control.
- Work independently and use time productively
- Interact successfully in a variety of group configurations, with peers and teachers
- Follow oral and written directions
- Engage in problem solving behaviors
Students explore maps and learn how to use them as well as gain an awareness of the seven continents through music, movement, food, art, and hands-on activities. Geography begins with basic map skills including learning how to read a map, use a key or legend, understand directional words, and apply a compass rose. Children then move to geographical vocabulary to learn about neighborhoods, cities, countries, capitals, continents, and oceans.
- Demonstrate responsibilities of classroom citizenship
- Begin to organize and present research information
- Display knowledge of basic map skills
- Understand citizens’ rights and responsibilities with an emphasis on specific character virtues. Students will
- Compare contemporary life and communities in Nicaragua towns and communities of the past
- Research and report on specific historical figures including scientists, politicians, inventors, artists, educators, athletes, etc.
History and Geography
Using Nicaraguan and International text, children experience world history through the lives of men and women who have helped shape our world through their acts of courage, leadership, generosity, creativity, and strength. Stories of presidents, explorers, writers, artists, and inventors inspire students to learn more about the important individuals and events of our world. In Geography children study the Earth and how people live and work focusing on five main concepts: location, place, human/environment interaction, movement, and regions. Students continue to develop mapping skills that include cardinal and intermediate directions, reading and interpreting different kinds of maps, landforms, latitude and longitude, and comparison of continents. We also practice and learn Nicaraguan Folk dance as a way to appreciate and honor our home country.
- Ability to read a map, knows the continents and oceans
- Knowledge of Nicaragua, its major landmarks and states
- Able to perform certain Nicaraguan folk dance