“Play is our brain's favorite way of learning”!
Diane Ackerman - Contemporary American Author
Philosophy of Learning
At Good Shepherd Episcopal School, we believe that play is the work of childhood. We structure our day, our classrooms, and our outdoor playgrounds to provide spaces for free exploration and discovery. In these places, children work on learning self-regulation and social skills, understanding properties of various materials, developing questions to test, and discovering how to create something new. Our teachers guide children’s exploration by providing materials and settings that inspire their curiosity in themes that are chosen by the teacher and follow the expressed interests of the children. The activities presented within each theme vary based on the age of the child and the developmental readiness of the children in that particular school year.
Our curriculum grows as the children grow. Math is introduced in the form of number awareness in the Twos and Threes level classes and grows into teacher-directed small group activities and games in the Fours and Bridging Kindergarten level. Literacy growth happens through daily reading of high quality children’s literature, modeled and practiced writing development, opportunities to expand their speech and language skills, and phonemic awareness. Starting with the children’s names and those of their classmates, the children learn how to associate letters to sounds and practice these skills in their environment.
Two other curricular areas strengthen our community. Enjoying the fun of singing and dancing is the goal of our weekly music and movement classes. Our music curriculum exposes children to rhythm patterns, tonal changes, and the sequence inherent in song through a fully interactive, and age appropriate class that each child attends with their teacher. Our chapel curriculum introduces and recaps lessons from the all-school Wednesday chapel service (held Thursday for children attending two days a week) providing teachers with ideas to bring the stories to life in their classroom’s day to day activities. Other curriculum areas that grow with the age of the child are science, physical education, service opportunities, and Spanish instruction (provided to all Fours and Bridging Kindergarten students weekly.)