All of the GPS programs are enriched with Music, Art and Spanish. STEAM is also creatively integrated into daily lessons. Parents can extend their child’s day at school with Lunch Bunch, a structured lunch and play time that gives children a chance to enhance their social skills outside of the classroom. Soccer is offered as an optional activity with 30-minute group sessions in the Fall and Spring led by Happy Feet.
Golden Pond School provides each child with an introduction to music in a developmentally appropriate manner. We correlate our music and movement program with our monthly themes to encourage learning through musical play and song. Children create sound by experimenting with a wide variety of hand-held instruments while developing both motor and social skills. Hearing the subtle differences in sound and pitch also increases phonemic awareness.
Through this program we learned that when combined with printed words and verses, music and movement also greatly improves early reading skills. In fact, we’ve seen such amazing results that several of our teachers have been invited to present our strategies at the Virginia State Reading Association (VSRA) conferences every year since 2012.
The art program at Golden Pond encourages every child to stretch their creativity and imagination and to have fun. Children work with a variety of media and get to experiment with abstract art, self-portraits, painting, and three-dimensional work.
As part of introducing children to a broader world, Golden Pond offers a fun and educational introduction to Spanish on a daily basis in our Threes, Explorers, Fours, Junior Kindergarten, and Kindergarten classes. Our focus is on making students comfortable with the Spanish language while playing kinetic games, singing silly songs, and exploring interactive books. The exposure to another language at an early age lays an excellent foundation that can help children succeed in later grades.
As it is widely acknowledged that literacy is the cornerstone of all learning, the manner in which we teachers approach literacy is essential. A school’s approach to literacy sends all kinds of messages to students. For instance, we could tell them that print is all about phonemes and decoding as we sit them in front of a workbook. Or we could announce to them that unlocking the secrets of print is an exciting journey that will simultaneously unlock the secrets of the vibrant world around them as we delve into interesting projects. We prefer the latter – wouldn’t you?!
At Golden Pond School, we have chosen to link our students first steps into literacy with the exploration of the world around them, as reflected through children’s literature. Our hands-on, science-based activities are built upon the theme-related books that our children are enjoying. On any given day, after reading stimulating and thought provoking classic children’s literature, our students can be found:
- discovering how chicks hatch
- taking rain walks
- painting with ice cubes
- mixing red and yellow to make the perfect orange
- planting pumpkins
- constructing weathervanes
- exploring the metamorphosis of ladybugs
- taking spider walks
- going on worm hunts
Come see the fun and ask the kids “why?” – you’ll be surprised by their scientific responses!
This supplementary program gives children extra time to solidify friendships with both children and adults in a warm, atmosphere while enjoying lunch. Children also participate in creative art projects, science experiments, and other group activities. Hot lunch is served daily in lunch bunch or students may bring a nut-free, home-packed lunch.
The soccer program is offered seasonally and gives children a chance to experience teamwork and develop foot skills, agility, confidence, and physical fitness alongside other Golden Pond students.