Students at The Oaks learn by doing. Our experienced faculty use teaching methodologies based on progressive learning theories to design curricula that enhance children's ability to grasp concepts, construct meaning, identify relationships, and retain understanding. Students are in an environment intentionally built to support asking questions, making mistakes, and becoming life-long learners. Through literature, projects, field trips, and the integration of multiple perspectives, students are prepared to be an active part of our diverse and multicultural world.
Learning experiences are designed to be stimulating, thought-provoking, and challenging. Collaborative and team teaching allows us to differentiate lessons and support the unique learning styles of each student. Students are encouraged to take ownership of their learning process by being deep thinkers, scientific observers, creative writers, collaborative problem solvers, risk-takers, and empathetic friends.
From being able to name letters to selecting reading material based on their own interests, students at The Oaks School are immersed in a world of language early and often. Students develop appreciation and respect for literature and turn to reading for enjoyment, insights, and information. Through word study, guided reading, and book groups, students build their comprehension skills while exploring a variety of genres. Rich and varied literature expose students to a diversity of thought and experiences while helping to develop understanding of self and others. Students learn the mechanics of reading, how to read to learn new information, and how to read critically to understand the assumptions, arguments, and perspectives of what is being read. Using the Writer’s Workshop framework, students develop their writing voices to articulate a point of view, as well as clearly and effectively construct arguments to support a specific perspective.
Our progressive math curriculum is based on Piaget’s theory that children construct their own knowledge in response to their experiences. Students develop mathematical thinking and numerical reasoning by engaging in activities that build physical knowledge, social (conventional) knowledge, and logico-mathematical knowledge. Students explore multiple ways of approaching challenging mathematical problems to build problem-solving skills, computational fluency, application of math skills to real-life problems, and effective communication of mathematical thinking.
With a focus on project-based and thematic learning, students build an understanding of their own identities and appreciation for human differences. In the social studies curricula, there is a focus on how historical events connect to and inform the present day and current events. The use of primary sources and multiple perspectives help students gain knowledge, ask critical questions, and develop understanding of how people have and continue to be shaped by geography, history, belief systems, economics, socio-political systems, and culture.
Science and STEM/Maker
The science program engages the natural curiosity of students. Our STEM/Maker program (science, technology, engineering, and math) engages students in hands-on project building and creating. In the Maker Studio, students discover, experiment, and collaborate in a meaningful way. Physical, earth, and life sciences are explored, using a hands-on, inquiry-based approach both in and out of the classroom. Students develop an understanding of how science impacts today’s modern life. Experiences are created in order to support students’ ability to research, design, investigate, predict, classify, observe, describe, infer, and hypothesize.
Beginning with joyful and affirming books, students connect with stories and expand their understanding of and respect for differences. As students engage in units of study that highlight various aspects of identity and difference, learning about the oppressive systems that maintain disparities becomes more personal. They are then on the path to take on the roles of ally, advocate, and activist. With the goal of students becoming informed and active citizens of the world, students are asked to learn about, analyze, and critique the impacts of historical and contemporary events.