Education at Parkside provides children with a complete academic program —developed to complement individual strengths and overcome specific challenges. Our teachers use appropriate modalities of visual, tactile, and kinesthetic teaching tools to support their class presentations and to facilitate student exploration.
Reading and Writing
Our reading program is designed with individualized teaching of literacy in small groups, from the basics through advanced, in conjunction with oral language skills—reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Parkside students who are just learning to read, or having difficulty reading, are supported with a program designed by Dr. Catherine Constable. This effective program is a systematic vowel focused phonics program which highlights continuous speech production and integrates speech science research with reading research. Teachers also select literature and techniques for each of their learners. In the upper grades, students are engaged by their teachers in literary responses, discussion groups, vocabulary, and comprehension strategies. Writing, handwriting and keyboarding are all important aspects of our program. Students keep journals, convey experiences, react to literature, produce expository writing during thematic units, and compose creative pieces. Our teachers and occupational therapists focus on the mechanics of handwriting as an integral part of the writing program.
Our Math program teaches the National Council of Mathematics Standards: numeration, computation, patterns, measurement, geometry, fractions and probability/statistics, in a format appropriate for each grade level. We assign children to small groups of two to six students and take the children sequentially through the topics seeking mastery before moving on to the next topic level. Our math program utilizes Stern Structural Arithmetic, as well as Houghton Miflin's Math in Focus, in order to build conceptual understanding and computational fluency. Math instruction finds its way into all parts of the school day, when opportunities are integrated into science, social studies, field trips and classroom meetings. As with reading instruction, most math lessons are conducted in small groups of one to six students. These groupings allow us to individualize the content that we teach and the techniques that we use, while enabling us to keep close watch over each student's developing ability.
Our Science curriculum values "learning progressions" so that a student's understanding of a concept grows in depth and breath as they gain more experience. The goal of the science program is to foster your children’s curiosity about the world in which they live and to give them some of the tools and methods for investigating their world. Our teachers work with a science consultant, Janice Koch, to identify and organize science units for the classrooms at all grade levels, covering topics in Earth Science, Physical Science and Life Science. Teachers emphasize experiential learning along with real-life applications and technology is utilized in several ways to engage students. Students use digital photography to record observations as part of their scientific research. Teachers use an interactive whiteboard to demonstrate steps in experiments and record results. Video clips, audio clips, and digital pictures are also displayed and explained using interactive whiteboards to facilitate learning.
Our Social Studies curriculum is designed to help each student develop understanding and respect for others as they discover the similarities and differences among people—both around them now, as well as long ago and far away. In the youngest grades, our emphasis is on everyday topics and people. For our older students, the focus shifts to developing a cross-cultural perspective and an historical knowledge base. Field trips around the area, acting out historic events and experiencing cultures through artifacts and activities are common group experiences. Students and teachers make extensive use of technology for gathering, organizing and recording information, listening to languages spoken around the world, and visually describing places and traditions.
The Parkside library serves the needs of the whole school by providing access to materials and technologies that support learning for both students and teachers. Here we promote information literacy, fostering a love of literature, a joy of reading and a quest for knowledge. On a weekly basis, classroom groups come to the library for shared and guided reading opportunities, as well as for "read-alouds". Materials are chosen carefully for these lessons based on currently relevant themes. Through this program students are exposed to many different genres of literature from many time periods and cultures.