Beginning with the Early Preschool Program, students start to attend Specialty Classes each day. These classes are taught by our Specialty Teachers who create and implement their own curriculum lesson plans.
No one can deny that computers and other technology are central to our daily lives. The internet has brought information to our fingertips and united our global community in ways we never imagined. Classrooms throughout our world are using computers every day to bring new life to learning.
With this in mind, BeanTree students begin going to the Tech Hub on a daily basis in Early Preschool. They learn the parts of the computer, how to use a mouse, and also how to play educational games. By the time they are in Kindergarten, they are able to keyboard with the appropriate fingers, write text using Microsoft Word, begin a PowerPoint project, and use KidPix, a child-friendly graphic design program.
In the Art Program, students learn during hands-on—and yes, messy—activities. We go beyond finger-painting and explore materials like charcoal, liquids, and clay. The most important skills that our art teachers focus on are fine motor skills. These skills allow children to be successful in holding their pencil correctly and learning to tie their shoes.
Older students create projects that take several days to complete, as we focus more on the process than the product. During “Bug Week”, for example, we made our own dough, molded our own insects, and then painted them. We also discuss Art History with our children. We present the work of famous artists and our children create similar artwork. This year, we studied artists such as Picasso, Kandinsky, and Jasper Johns.
We have an Art Gallery where we feature different children’s art creations throughout the year. When a child’s work is on display, a special note goes home to families so they can come by and admire their young, budding artist’s work!
One of the liveliest rooms around the Global Courtyard, the Music Hall, provides children hands-on play with both those instruments that are a part of our daily life and those that are culturally unique. Whether it’s playing the bongos, maracas, or xylophone, children are cheerfully exposed to the beauty and wonder of music each day.
Creativity through musical expression is abundant. This year, the Music teacher and students wrote a song based on phrases and thoughts from the children about their fathers. They worked hard to write the lyrics, learn the melody, and then recorded the song on a CD which they presented to their special dads on Father’s Day!
In the Literacy Loft, students are surrounded by books and immersed in Spanish. Beginning in Early Preschool, students rotate through specialty classes like Spanish each day. In this class, basic directions and daily routines are all presented by a native speaking Spanish Teacher. Before long, the “niños” are able to respond to the “maestra” in “español!
Learning Spanish is exciting! So are the activities that happen in the Literacy Loft. The children sing, dance, use drama, and play with toys, all while assimilating the knowledge they need to speak Spanish. Before long, students can complete basic sentence structures and older students are even able to share facts about themselves and converse in Spanish! We also study the rich culture of Spanish-speaking countries, including musicians and painters.
Recently during Circus Week, we set up a circus tent in the gym and pretended to be animals. We learned the Spanish names for the animals and improved our gross motor skills in the process!
Lorena, our Spanish teacher who was raised in Argentina, eagerly tells:
"I’ve been at BeanTree for almost 6 years and there’s a reason. I feel at home when I’m here and working with the children. Children’s brains are so ready to start learning a language. Their brains are like sponges. They easily develop beautiful accents and pronunciation."