Reading: The goal of our reading program is to instill a love of reading for a variety of texts including fiction, nonfiction, periodicals, poetry and plays by providing a literature-rich environment. Children are exposed not only to different types of texts but also to different writing styles through author studies and small group reading instruction. Emphasis is placed on both analytic thinking and comprehension strategies which are developed through reading many different genres of texts and rich group discussions. Students work on fluency through participation in reader’s theater.
Writing: The goal of Writer’s Workshop is to provide a supportive, authentic environment that encourages students to take risks and write for a variety of purposes: to entertain, to inform and to persuade. As part of our Writer’s Workshop, students are encouraged to listen to each other’s ideas and offer suggestions to help improve their peers’ writing. Emphasis is also placed on finding ways to make their writing more descriptive using a variety of strategies including but not limited to the use of bold beginnings, adjectives, synonyms, strong verbs as well as the five senses. Students are given the autonomy to choose their writing topics and genres which enables them to take ownership of their learning. Writing is always celebrated through our Author’s Chair when students read aloud their finished pieces to their peers.
At Feynman School, children build Spanish-speaking skills from the first day of school forward. Our preschool, pre-kindergarten and primary students learn Spanish primarily through activities such as stories, arts and crafts, songs, and during lunch time and recess, rather than through formal instruction. They explore Spanish cooking and culture with a teacher’s guidance while they build their conversation and comprehension skills. Spanish books, games, posters and labels in the classroom further enhance second-language learning. Additionally, twenty to thirty minutes of daily classroom time is dedicated exclusively to Spanish learning. Together, these strategies work effectively with children’s various learning styles: visual, auditory, tactile and kinesthetic.
Feynman School’s Spanish program was developed by a team of renowned applied linguists, including Professors Alison Mackey and Cristina Sanz. Between them, these Georgetown University professors have published fifteen books and more than 100 articles on second language learning. Graduate students Elizabeth Kissling and Lisa Warren also helped develop our Spanish curriculum and we are grateful for the entire team’s efforts and support.
Throughout their time at Feynman School, students actively use Spanish with increasing confidence, gaining bilingualism, biliteracy and cross-cultural awareness.
Mandarin’s relevance in the world and more importantly in America is becoming more apparent these days as Mandarin is now considered one of the world’s most commonly spoken languages along with English. We want to allow our students the chance to learn this complex language in order to prepare our students to traverse a global workplace where knowledge of foreign languages and cultures will provide them with a competitive advantage. By starting with students age 5 and up, we ensure that they have mastery over their native language first before tackling a language as diverse as Mandarin through the art of calligraphy, songs and conversation.