Teaching Methods

Our teachers bring this unique approach to life with:

STORYTELLING – the power of stories is used to bring each subject area to life.  Subject matter is chosen to meet the emotional needs of each age with each grade having a theme for the year.  Stories illustrate the lessons and are allowed to live and deepen within the class across a three-day cycle of listening, recalling and recording.

HANDS-ON ACTIVITIES – each lesson offers opportunities for students to feel and experience the subject themselves.  In this way the lesson is connected on a deeper level – living inside the child.  Instead of learning math facts at the desk, students may go to the garden to calculate how many rows of seeds may be planted.  When learning how early civilizations first made cloth, students visit a sheep ranch and learn to spin yarn themselves.  These experiences are unforgettable and they carry with them the desired curriculum objectives.

MOVEMENT & CIRCLE ACTIVITIES – A child’s physical development can not be ignoring as a key factor for academic success.  To strengthen a child’s coordination, movement and ability to integrate their senses, each day includes a number of opportunities for physical and rhythmic exercises.  Verses recited in circle with accompanying movements, jumping rope to times tables, and rhythm stick activities emphasizing mid-line crossing are just a few examples of ways that a child’s physical development is encouraged along with academic lessons.  These activities allow one more opportunity for the child to connect to the lesson through a different medium.  Participation in these activities also provides the teacher with valuable insights related challenges the child may be experiencing in the classroom.

ART – Artistic expression is a part of each day.  Music, drawing, painting, sculpting, handwork and more engage children in their work and allow a sense of creativity and beauty to develop.  Attention is paid to appreciating a sense of completion and uniqueness of each person’s creation.  Every subject is reflected through art and music – from math to history.

BLOCK ROTATION – The curriculum of each school year is divided into a block schedule consisting of two to four week periods allowing for intense focus into the subject matter.  Each morning lesson is dedicated to the designated curriculum area (language arts, math, science, etc.) for the duration of the block and then left to deepen.  When it is time for the next block of the curriculum area, prior blocks are refreshed and reinforced and taken one step further.  This type of schedule allows the teacher and the students to truly dive deeply into the subject matter.

MAIN LESSON RECORDING – the students at Shining Rivers create their own textbooks, called Main Lesson books.  In these books, students record their work in their own hand, with their own illustration.  This is the final step of cycle, recording and reaffirming what has been taken in through the classroom experience.  These books serve as a cumulative record of each child’s progress and can be cherished keepsakes of a beautiful school experience.