expanding our world in beta
As our youngest students begin their journey in the Beta class, their world expands, and they quickly learn there is more to our planet than just school and their backyard. The Beta world is broadened as teachers and students launch into thematic studies using the five senses to explore their natural world. This exploration includes imaginative visits to farms, the rainforest, the ocean, and more. Learning through interactions with people and materials, imaginative play is the means by which our students practice in and explore the world. With a focus on pre-literacy skills and play, the Beta day overflows with rich vocabulary, detailed observations, endless counting, storytelling, dramatization, and social negotiations.
An important element of the Beta curriculum is the School's partnership with Rice University's Classroom Storytelling Project. In this program, teachers use children’s stories to advance their student’s literacy potential. Students act out adult-authored stories in addition to dictating and dramatizing their own. Student stories highlight things that are on their minds, things they enjoy, things that worry or frighten them, as well as things that delight them. Through story dictation and dramatization, a teacher is able to assess a student’s literacy development, understanding of a story, print awareness, reading and writing behaviors, and social competency.
The Beta’s world expands as each student develops his or her oral language, mathematical awareness, and social skills. Their worldview also grows as they learn responsibility for themselves and the world around them.