At Shorecrest, we are committed to developing learning environments that are safe, challenging, and joyful for all students. We believe that nurturing the needs of the whole child -- academic, social, emotional and physical --not only contributes to academic success but also develops core social-emotional competencies that are necessary for harmonious interpersonal relationships, personal satisfaction, and life-long learning. Using classroom management and teaching strategies from the Responsive Classroom approach, our teachers intentionally create communities that prize cooperation, assertion, respect, empathy, and self-control. In biweekly lessons with the school counselor, our students learn skills such as emotional literacy, resiliency, and problem-solving. Classroom and special area teachers weave social-emotional learning themes into daily academic life. We consider social-emotional skills to be instrumental in the achievement of our students' academic and personal goals.
The language arts program is based on a balanced literacy approach that demands explicit instruction of strategies and skills coupled with authentic reading and writing experiences.
In workshop settings, true differentiation is possible as students are taught through read alouds and mini lessons, while teachers model all that good readers and writers do. This learning is scaffolded with shared and guided practice, and then students independently apply what has been taught as they read and write in authentic contexts. Readers engage with many genres of reading, including personal narrative, realistic fiction, poetry, historical fiction and informational texts. Students learn to read, react and respond to, and engage with texts both individually, with partners, and in small groups. In writing, students apply what has been taught as they plan, draft, revise, edit and publish their work, writing independently and with partners to produce texts always with the audience in mind. By the end of their Lower School experience, students have acquired strategies to support future academic success, a passion for learning, and a lifelong love of reading and writing. In short, they emerge as confident and exuberant readers and writers.
Understanding numeracy and gaining mathematical knowledge are essential for success in today’s world. Shorecrest provides students with ongoing opportunities to develop these skills. Children are actively involved in learning to be mathematical thinkers and applying mathematics to real world situations. Problems are presented in a variety of contexts and solved in a variety of ways. Developing number sense enables students to question and verify the reasonableness of their own and others’ strategies and conclusions. Each grade level includes content from the eight distinct strands: operations and relations, problem solving and number models, measures and reference frames, exploring data, geometry rules and patterns, algebra and uses of variables. The ultimate goal is that students truly understand and are successful with math.
The Project Approach
Project-based learning is an in-depth study or investigation of a topic or theme that allows students to follow their questions and to learn about a given topic of interest. It is a constructivist approach to teaching and learning. Project work teaches students how to learn and leads students becoming life long learners. It is through relevant inquiry-, project-based studies that students learn how to learn, how to make sense of what they are learning, how to apply what they learned, and how to share or teach from a place of authority about what they have learned. Many of our social studies and science investigations are approached through this method of teaching and learning; guided by Lillian Katz’ and Sylvia Chard’s project approach framework.
The social studies curriculum is designed to teach the skills, knowledge, attitudes, values and habits of mind young students need as critical and creative thinkers and participants of their world. Topics of study are guided by essential questions and understandings. Core concepts such as cause and effect, conflict, change, technology, interdependence, and culture are examined. Each in-depth investigation is designed to provide opportunities for students to collaboratively construct knowledge and strengthen communication, comprehension, research, and mapping skills. The study of communities in the primary grades is the beginning to learning about the cultural diversity of the greater world in which we live. An investigation of each of the seven continents continues to strengthen students' global awareness. Explorers and their journeys lead to an introduction into early Florida History.
Instilling a love for science and nurturing children’s natural curiosity about the world around them are at the heart of our approach to teaching science. Throughout the year children conduct in-depth studies through hands-on, inquiry, and experiential learning. The science curriculum is designed to provide opportunities for children to discover, observe, question, reflect, experiment, explore and record. Children investigate topics from life, earth and physical science and learn to apply the scientific process. Throughout the year students and their classroom teachers are engaged in a variety of authentic studies that are interesting, relevant and accessible to children. Through the Project Approach students learn how to learn as they conduct research and become young experts on their topic of choice. Field experiences, visiting experts, cross-divisional exchanges, and the school garden are an integral part of the curriculum.
The Spanish curriculum for grades 1-4 is designed to support students’ acquisition of introductory level conversational skills. Instruction includes basic vocabulary and pronunciation with an expectation that students will achieve competency at a developmentally appropriate level. Through many varied experiences with daily Spanish classes, students increase their fluency and comfort with the Spanish language. In addition, an introduction to the Hispanic culture enhances students’ understanding, awareness, and appreciation for the world in which they live. Upper School students from Spanish speaking countries and Latin families within the Shorecrest community may come as a classroom guest to teach and share with students throughout the year.
In 2015, we implemented a foreign student exchange program, and will be hosting 12 fourth grade students and their teachers from El Salvador. In addition, a summer 2016 trip to Columbia is offered for students in grades 3-5 and their family members.
Technology enriches students' learning experiences at Shorecrest; the experiences are integrated into all curriculum areas. The focus of technology in the Lower School is to integrate technology into students' curriculum and to instruct on the best practices of educational technology for students and teachers. Proficiency in many technology tools, coupled with twenty-first century skills - collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creativity - are essential elements for students' future success in academics, the workplace, and lifelong learning. Shorecrest is committed to promoting the use of technology as a tool used to shape and construct classrooms that encourage students to think and reflect on their learning.
Kindergarten through fourth grade students enjoy a wide range of lessons built upon cognitive, affective, and psychomotor learning objectives that nurture skill development, outstanding sportsmanship, and a positive attitude towards lifelong fitness. Students participate in the physical education program four times per week.