Throughout the day, students learn to share, cooperate, lead, and follow. At the same time, there is an emphasis on building self-confidence, self-control, and independence through the many opportunities for individual choice. In addition to art, music, science, world languages, library, physical education, creative movement, and computers, students individually select free choice activities from a variety of class offerings taught by specialists.
- emphasizes the relatedness of all subject areas by integrating life experiences.
- recognizes play as an important part of the child’s day.
- builds on each child’s ability so that they learn how to organize facts and build creative thoughts.
- is organized into theme-based units.
- teaches students to value problem-solving strategies, multicultural perspectives, and community responsibilities.
The Stage II program supports children in attaining self-understanding and a broader understanding of others. Students are respected and valued for their individual strengths and talents and, in turn, are encouraged to appreciate those of others. Each child’s uniqueness is nurtured, while children are enabled to understand the interdependence of each of their classmates. Group discussions help children to feel understood, to develop empathy, to express their thoughts and feelings, and to solve problems. Play is still a valued part of each day for developing creativity, socialization, and independence.Language Arts
In Stage II, an atmosphere and environment are created that invites children to speak, listen, and write. Many opportunities are presented in which children feel secure to experiment with language and communication. Literature is presented continually in various ways and woven throughout all subject areas. All the skills of speaking, listening, and writing are seen as complementary rather than isolated elements in acquiring language arts skills.
Roeper is a place where conversation is expected and encouraged. Meeting and discussion times provide specific opportunities for children to express their ideas. They learn to speak so that others will understand, listen carefully to others so that they might understand the ideas conveyed, and respond appropriately. Teachers take the role of facilitator, asking questions or commenting in ways that help children clarify their thoughts and feelings. Communication is a joyful art at Roeper that is refined day by day.
Daily experiences in writing are included in the language arts program. Students author books that get published in the Stage II publishing center. As children write, they meet with their teachers to discuss theme, character, setting and story development. To encourage a flowing narrative, editing for spelling and punctuation usually occurs only after a piece is completed. Journals are kept by each child. Entries are largely generated by each child, but sometimes are teacher-directed. At this earliest stage in the writing process, children need to feel that they can experiment with words and language.
Children’s natural curiosity and determination to make sense of their world easily correlates with the process of mathematics. Everyday activities and routines enable children to recognize the patterns and rhythms around them that are the foundation of mathematical literacy.
Hands-on experience is a powerful tool in a young child’s acquisition of knowledge. Manipulatives are an integral part of learning in Stage II. Children come to know the why as well as the how of mathematics through the use of manipulatives. Specific skills are acquired including an understanding of the interrelatedness of different areas of mathematics.
Dialog, discussion, experimentation, and discovery are the underpinnings of the Stage II mathematics program. Progress is monitored carefully through individual and group observations and through one-on-one interviews. Regular assessments enable teachers to create and pace lessons that guide students’ thinking into higher degrees of mathematical literacy. The program and each child’s progression are highly individualized.
Stage II utilizes an inquiry-based approach in the teaching of Social Studies. Topics covered are diverse and reflect the interests of the students. In individual homerooms and as a stage, teachers work with both large and small groups of children to develop in-depth units of study, based on inter-action, exploration, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking. The children’s theories and ideas are the starting points for the investigations, and teachers work with students to challenge their thinking and help them grow. Continual documentation of the learning process allows teachers and students to reflect upon their work together and helps to determine which direction curriculum will flow.
The following areas of study are taught by specialists in that field.
- Science: Students learn best when they are encouraged to ask questions, generate and test ideas, evaluate and create. In this way they are introduced to the scientific method. By using these processes, students strengthen and deepen their reasoning abilities and become self-motivated, independent learners and active, concerned participants in society. Concepts develop from hands-on activities and skills such as observation, measurement, problem-solving, making predictions, classification and drawing conclusions grow stronger.
- Art: The Stage II art curriculum explores a variety of materials, improves basic skills, and builds on students’ understanding of the importance of visual expression in their world. This happens through an atmosphere of student-directed play, exploration, and experimentation.
- Music: The music program for Stage II children is based on an understanding of the developmental characteristics of the young child. Our music curriculum includes opportunities for three means of interaction with music: performing, creating, and analytical listening. These three types of interactions encourage students to engage in problem-solving situations, an effective tool for learning musical skills. Our learning centers around the elements of music: melody, rhythm, texture, color, form, and harmony.
- Creative Movement: Creative movement is part of the physical education and fine arts curriculum in Stage II that provides meaningful ways for young children to develop motor control, spatial awareness, personal relationships, and self-esteem. Children practice the fundamental locomotor movements such as walking, running, skipping, galloping, hopping, jumping, and leaping. They also explore axial movements of stretching, bending, and twisting while maintaining their balance. A wide variety of music is used, including classical, electronic, jazz, movie soundtracks, sound effects, New Age, silence, and percussion instruments.
- Physical Education: The purpose of our physical education program is to educate through human movement. Physical education is an integral part of the total education experience that contributes to the development of each child’s mental, social, and physical well-being. Children are supported and encouraged to take risks, solve problems, and express themselves through movement. They also gain knowledge and acquire an appreciation of good physical condition and fitness for a lifetime.
- Spanish: In Stage II Spanish classes we use an experiential approach, integrating stories, drama, game, and music into language learning. Classes are conducted primarily in Spanish, with the goal of giving our students an exposure to the language as well as an understanding and appreciation of other cultures in a comfortable and positive atmosphere.
- Library: The Children’s Library on the Bloomfield Hills campus houses a collection of over 12,000 books and a computer center for student research. Other features include The Alex Frank ’95 Publishing Center and The Silk Family Reading Circle, a cozy setting where classes gather to read stories.
In addition to checking out books, students meet regularly with the librarian who teaches classes focusing on love of reading and learning, developing research and information literacy skills, and supporting classroom curricular content.
Each Stage II homeroom visits library once a week as a class to check out books, listen to read-alouds, and read independently. The librarian collaborates with homeroom teachers on project-based learning, research and writing projects, and book studies. Through this work, students are guided in developing t literacy skills such as critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, communication, information literacy, media literacy, technology literacy, flexibility, leadership, initiative, productivity, and social skills.
Students may choose to participate in Library Free Choice, which typically includes a read-aloud and extension activities in centers or using databases and eBooks. Students are introduced to basic library navigation skills for finding books that are accessible and of interest to them. They are also introduced to beginning-level electronic resources for finding information with support from teachers.
Stage II—Typical Day
- Morning Meeting
- Explorations and Inquiry
- Small Group Language Arts and Math or Special Classes
- Small Group Language Arts and Math or Special Classes
- Makerspace Art: Free Choice (every other day)
- Whole-Class Learning or Library
- Woods Walk: Free Choice (every other day)
- End-of-Day Meeting