Putting Students First
What would school be like if highly trained teachers could focus on classes with 10 or fewer students? It would be a class where your child is truly known by his or her teacher, and parent-teacher partnerships are the norm.
This is Eton Academy's Lower School.
At Eton, our lower school teachers assess where a student is in each academic subject, and teach from that point. We move the student forward at the right pace, with the goal of making the most academic progress possible without causing stress or anxiety. If a student doesn't master a concept, we re-teach it -- we don't move on.
Homework Success = Teachers Do the Teaching
Eton believes that teachers should do the teaching. We don't expect parents to be teachers. That means parents should not be spending hours and hours on homework assignments.
At Eton, we ask parents to set up a routine and structure that allows for good homework time, such as a quiet place to study and support from the family.
From there, Eton teachers ensure that students are prepared--in school--to handle their own homework. We make homework assignments appropriate, considering age and level. Homework is used to reinforce concepts that the student understands in class.
So, students can do their own homework, and then close the books ... and have some time-off to just be a child, as well.
Every Student Can Learn
Too often, when students experience difficulty in the primary and elementary grades, the assumption is made that he or she will eventually grow out of it or catch up. This can lead to frustration or anxiety.
Not at Eton Academy. Here, the only assumption made is that every child can learn. Never is it assumed that the child will "pick it up" on his or her own.
Through explicit instruction, when a teacher specifically instructs the child what to do, Eton teachers specifically instruct students, and ensure they understand every concept taught.
At Eton Academy, explicit instruction is all we do. Whether it's lining up for the lunchroom, learning the sound the letter x makes, learning why to use "a" instead of "an," or the skills needed to be ready for 7th grade algebra -- lower school students are taught explicitly.
With this kind of structure and clearly articulated expectations, students feel secure. They display less anxiety. In addition, Eton's lower school emphasizes teaching organizational skills so students learn how to manage in school.
Breaking the Code to Reading
For many students the key in learning to read, and become skilled and capable readers, lies in the code--the specific rules and technical aspects of reading.
While some students can generalize reading, and seem to pick-up the skills needed to read, many students do not. At Eton's lower school, we teach literacy using an explicit, systematic, research-based curriculum.
We explain the code to students, teaching them how reading happens, while teaching them to read. This balances what students are ready for cognitively with what they need to learn to develop and grow as readers.
Tailored to meet the needs of students, Eton's lower school classrooms are equipped to encourage the best learning environment possible. A few examples include:
- Teachers wear microphones. The teacher's voice is amplified by speakers positioned in each corner of the room.
- A SmartBoardTM touch screen whiteboard that's connected to a computer.
- A "fidget" basket filled with items to help those students who need it, to focus and pay attention to what's being taught.
- Chair balls, resembling exercise balls with legs, allow for more movement, helping some students pay better attention to instruction and the task at hand.
- Many more "small" things that add up to an enhanced environment that's built for learning.
Placing Students Based on Their Needs
Eton Academy's Lower School is comprised of students in grades 1-5. The division is subdivided into two distinct programs, Primary and Elementary.
The Primary Program is led by a homeroom teacher and a teacher assistant. The program is designed for students in grades 1-3 and provides for intense early intervention instruction.
The Elementary Program is designed for students in grades 2-5, with a traditional elementary school classroom structure.
Students are placed in classrooms based on their strengths, challenges and specific learning needs.
In both the Primary and Elementary Programs, daily instruction begins with a Literacy Block, followed by instruction in mathematics, social studies, science and social skills. Students also attend physical education daily and art class once per week. In addition, teachers in the Lower School allow time within the daily routine to address the organizational and emotional developmental needs of students.