HOMEROOM AND PERSONAL-SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
The center for pedagogical work is the child. We pursue his/her integral development, for which we offer diverse experiences in the emotional, cognitive, artistic, sports and social areas, in activities developed throughout the year.
At this level, and especially in pre-kinder and kinder, playing has a special value that contributes to the children interacting with and understanding their surroundings. Playing also helps them to develop language, think and build concepts and notions in a natural and meaningful way. It allows them to experience the feeling of success and pleasure that will help them build self-esteem, cognitive skills and relate to school and learning with pleasure and confidence.
Homeroom teaching (or tutoring) is conducted as a group, and also considers the requirements of the individual, identifying the characteristics of each, in order to attend their specific wants and needs. Projects and group activities such as singing, dancing and handicraft are designed according the students’ age, development and collective experiences.
Every area is responsible for developing certain competencies; however, all of them include activities that promote the personal growth of the students. Thus, the work centers around values, autonomy and organization which takes on special importance at this level.
ABILITIES AND CONTENTS
Priority is given to the development of abilities without neglecting the acquisition of knowledge and contents. For example, while reading a text, students apply strategies to understand, extract important information, analyze, compare, and elaborate a concept that in this case could be “Proper nouns are written with a capital letter”. Thus, instead of receiving a definition and memorizing it, the students acquire a concept and at the same time develop the ability to independently discover new concepts in subsequent work.
At this level, the areas work in an integrated way through projects. These are organized based on problems, needs or goals, which motivate students to plan activities that they will develop in each of the different areas. For example, in the project “Organizing and Decorating Our Classroom”, the children carry out Psychomotor and Art activities when they cover boxes, decorate folders and make signs. They do Personal and Social Development activities when they establish the norms and assume responsibilities in the classroom. They engage in activities of the Social Studies Area when they interact with their immediate surroundings and become involved in recycling activities. Additionally, they carry out reading and writing activities according to their grade (listing their agreements, analyzing and identifying the structures of the texts that they read, and extracting the necessary information); and they develop logical-mathematical competencies when they distribute material, discover the shapes of the boxes and learn how to tell the time.
In each grade, the emphasis on each competency is different. For example, in Pre-kinder and Kinder, we are primarily interested in having children express themselves, represent situations, discover their capacities, and gradually face challenges to strengthen their autonomy. In the next two grades, there is a special emphasis on functional reading and writing activities: in First Grade because they discover that they can be part of the literate world and they are enthusiastic about producing texts and reading; in Second Grade because they consolidate and systematize what they have learned.
The organization of the pedagogical activities by projects places the boy and girl in real situations of organization and production. Projects are motivating because they carry a clear sense for them and mainly because they allow the children to discover and assert their productive capacity and develop social abilities. In the case of the areas that cannot be articulated in the project, there are parallel activities programmed that comply with the competencies and contents.
We look for the children achieving the same efficiency to communicate in English as in their mother tongue, with time. The English course develops abilities in children for them to express themselves, read, write and reflect on this language and optimize its command. For this, they carry out meaningful and functional activities throughout the year.
At the same time, the use of English is fostered in daily activities and in the class and school organization. For example the names of the offices are in English, and the teachers promote the use of English in greetings and every day instructions.
From Pre-kinder to Second Grade the taste for reading is fostered through pleasant activities. This way the children listen to stories, poetry, rhymes, read written material about their daily life and visit the school library. They also have a classroom library, where they find texts they like.
They discover that through books, they can answer their inquiries and find information to develop their projects. This allows them to recognize that reading is a means of recreation and also a way to get information and communicate with other people.