Stamford American Elementary School Curriculum Guide - page 16

inquiry. As inquirers, learners need to be able to identify, synthesize and apply useful and
relevant information from text.
Children learn to read by reading. In order to develop lifelong reading habits, learners
need to have extended periods of time to read for pleasure, interest and information,
experiencing an extensive range of quality fiction and non-fiction texts. As learners
engage with interesting and appealing texts, appropriate to their experiences and
developmental phase, they acquire the skills, strategies and conceptual understanding
necessary to become competent, motivated, independent readers.
Written Communication: Writing
Writing is a way of expressing ourselves. It is a personal act that grows and develops
with the individual and allows us to organize and communicate thoughts, ideas
and information in a visible and tangible way. Writing is primarily concerned with
communicating meaning and intention. The quality of expression lies in the authenticity
of the message and the desire to communicate. If the writer has shared his or her
message in such a way that others can appreciate it, the writer’s intention has been
achieved. Over time, writing involves developing a variety of structures, strategies and
literary techniques (spelling, grammar, plot, character, punctuation, voice) and applying
them with increasing skill and effectiveness. Accuracy and skills grow out of the process
of producing meaningful communication. Children learn to write by writing. It is only in
the process of sharing their ideas in written form that skills are developed, applied and
refined to produce increasingly effective written communication.
Visual Communication: Viewing and Presenting
Viewing and presenting are fundamental processes that are powerful and significant in
developing literacy. The receptive process (viewing) and expressive process (presenting)
are connected and allow for reciprocal growth in understanding; neither process has
meaning except in relation to the other. These processes allow students to understand
the ways in which images and language interact to convey ideas, values and beliefs.
Visual texts may be paper, electronic or live, observable forms of communication that are
consciously constructed to convey meaning and immediately engage viewers, allowing
them instant access to data. Learning to interpret this data and to understand and use
different media is invaluable in expanding the expressive abilities of students.
Learners acquire mathematical understanding by constructing their own meaning
through ever-increasing levels of abstraction, starting with exploring their own
personal experiences, understandings and knowledge. It is fundamental to Stamford’s
philosophy that Mathematics be taught in relevant, realistic contexts to align with
real-life use, rather than by attempting to impart a fixed body of knowledge directly
to students.
Constructing Meaning about Mathematics
– Learners construct meaning based
on their previous experiences, understanding and by reflecting upon their
interactions with objects and ideas.
Transferring Meaning into Symbols
– Symbolic notation can take the form of
pictures, diagrams or modeling with concrete objects and mathematical notation.
Learners should be given the opportunity to describe their understanding by
using their own method of symbolic notation, then learning to transfer it into
conventional mathematical notation.
Applying with Understanding
– Students demonstrate learning through authentic
activities and act on their understanding. In this way, learners are able to apply
their understanding of mathematical concepts as well as utilize mathematical skills
and knowledge.
Course Descriptions: Early Years Program - Pre-Kindergarten and
Kindergarten 1 continued
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