Barbereux School offers a unique classroom setting for children ages 5, 6, & 7 ready for a Kindergarten/First Grade curriculum. The class size is capped at 12 with two Illinois certified teachers. Instruction is tailored to each individual child’s needs, strengths, and interests. The children have the opportunity to develop leadership skills, collaborate in small groups and develop self-confidence and self-expression skills.
Project Work is an entire unit that is developed to reflect the interest of all the members of the combined K/1st grade class. An example of this curriculum is a unit on Space. The students explore space through fiction and nonfiction literature. Math, science, and social studies concepts are explored as we measure the distances and size of planets, experiment with gravity, and discuss what it is like to be an astronaut. Art and music activities are incorporated as we to The Planets, Op. 32, by the English composer Gustav Holst, and then illustrate each planet.
Storytelling, oral expression, vocabulary development, class discussion, and listening skills are areas of major focus that naturally develop into the students composing their own poetry, stories and captions for drawings.
A literature rich environment including fiction, non-fiction, poetry, musical lyrics, and science literature provide an exciting atmosphere for individual and group work in reading. Instruction includes comprehension, sound and visual decoding and both phonemic and whole language analysis. Individual progress is maximized according to students’ capabilities. Following a natural progression in the development of pre-reading and reading skills, students achieve the goals of in-depth comprehension and love of independent reading.
Writing skills are fostered through inventive spelling and journaling. Teacher modeling occurs when writing charts and stories with the children.
The Barbereux School kindergarten and first grade class use Everyday Mathematics developed by the University of Chicago School Mathematics Project. Hands-on lessons and activities make extensive use of math manipulatives and correlate well with students’ real world experiences. Some concepts and skills include: skip counting; computation; creating and solving of word problems; mathematical patterns; math vocabulary development; and simple probability, graphing, and basic multiplication.