Remediation of basic skills drives our successful Lower School program, building confidence, self-esteem, and a joy of learning as well as skills. As 3rd–5th graders progress through a rich grade-level curriculum, they learn a variety of strategies and use technology to increase their abilities to decode, comprehend, and read fluently. Each student has a basic skills program in reading, writing, and math, developed around his/her individually assessed levels of achievement. This approach identifies and then begins remediation of areas below grade level while permitting instruction at or above grade level in those academic areas where there is recognized mastery. For example, each student’s reading level is assessed using the Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA) to establish an instructional level which then determines which books are selected for literature and guided reading. They also develop math automaticity and procedural understanding through practice, hands-on application of mathematical concepts to everyday life, and our Visual Thinking and Strategy Lab. Using puzzles, games, and computer programs, students build the strong foundation for logical and analytical thinking they’ll need in middle and high school mathematics. They learn to generate possibilities, eliminate them one-by-one, set-up problems correctly, work-backwards, persevere, visualize, and find the problems within problems.
As necessary, remediation continues in Middle School using the Writing and Language class to help improve phonemic awareness, fluency, and reading comprehension. Students also continue to enjoy working in the Visual Thinking and Strategy Lab on an ad hoc basis.