At Stratford Friends, many of our students struggle with learning to read and with reading comprehension. As pioneers in educating students with learning differences, we understand the importance of laying a solid foundation in phonics and building upon that foundation with comprehension skills, reading fluency, and vocabulary development. Our program is delivered through a daily two-hour literacy block.
Our students are taught to read using the Orton-Gillingham Approach to Language Instruction. We use Take Flight®, an Orton-Gillingham research-based curriculum, to provide phonics instruction using multisensory techniques. Visual, auditory, and tactile-kinesthetic learning modalities are reinforced through systematic, explicit, diagnostic and prescriptive instruction. This method develops the language abilities of each child by teaching foundational reading skills and concepts through the involvement of all the student’s senses.
As students progress in their reading ability, comprehension skills are explicitly taught using a variety of rich literature and informational texts. Students learn to activate prior knowledge, make connections, predict outcomes, build vocabulary, make inferences, identify the main idea, ask questions, visualize, evaluate, summarize, and synthesize. Teachers help students develop independent strategies for learning, creating an atmosphere of curiosity, and enthusiasm for reading.
Mastering the usage of our language is essential to success in school and beyond. The curriculum is a blend of writing, reading, and literature. Students read engaging books to promote fluency and comprehension. Decoding strategies, spelling patterns, and word study enable students to learn to read and spell more complicated words. Students refine their grammar skills in the context of crafting written responses to literature, blogging, and essay writing. An emphasis is placed on self-evaluations and peer evaluations with an eye toward effective revision strategies. Vocabulary development is emphasized throughout.
Making Math Real®
This is an innovative, research-based program that integrates key cognitive development such as symbol imaging, detail analysis, and sequence processing within every lesson. Instruction is delivered through three processing modalities: visual, auditory, and kinesthetic-motoric.
Saxon Math is a comprehensive researched-based program that teaches concepts incrementally in a systematic and sequential approach allowing for “continual practice and review, and cumulative assessment.” Complex concepts are broken down into smaller chunks making it easier for students to learn. Each increment builds on earlier increments, leading students to a deeper understanding of mathematical concepts. Problem-solving is heavily embedded throughout the program with strategies and tools taught for success.
In Middle School, 7th-grade students build on their understanding of numbers and focus on decimals, fractions, and integers. The students work with algebraic symbols and begin formulating generalizations and representing mathematical situations. Geometric shapes are investigated, measured, compared and classified. Students collect, evaluate and make inferences based on real data.
The 8th-grade program develops the student’s ability to examine and communicate situations in mathematical terms and make reasonable predictions. Students expand their understanding of rational and real numbers, represent and analyze linear functions, use spatial reasoning, and apply geometric ideas. Students learn to analyze, consolidate, and communicate their thinking through explanation or mathematical argument.
In Middle School, students study American History from its earliest peoples through modern times. Exploring how America has developed and changed, students collaborate on projects, presentations, and reenactments to gain a deeper understanding of significant events, individuals, and documents that have shaped our nation. Students learn to read and interpret primary sources in addition to textbooks and narratives. Teachers help students develop academic writing skills necessary for success in the content areas in high school.
In 7th grade, students learn about Native American life, colonization, the birth of the nation, establishing a government, westward expansion, and the Civil War. Eighth-grade topics include the Industrial Revolution, World War I, the Great Depression, World War II, the Cold War, civil rights, Vietnam, space exploration, the internet age, and 9/11.
Science / STEAM
The Middle School Science curriculum is inquiry-based. Students learn scientific concepts and skills, using technology, engineering, visual and performing arts, and math (STEAM). There is a strong emphasis on hands-on investigations and students engage in collaborative projects and design activities to provide an understanding of the applications of science in the modern world.
Music at Stratford supports the growth and development of the whole child, while building a life-long love of music. In accordance with National Association for Musical Education and Pennsylvania Standards for Arts & Humanities, students sing, act, and perform on instruments, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music and theatre. In addition to weekly general music class, all students participate in our winter concert and spring musical. Students grade 5 – 9 are invited to participate in band, and grades 6 – 9 in chorus.
Our art program focuses on developing the student’s unique creativity and self-expression through the exploration of art materials and themes. Students draw, paint, sculpt, and work with ceramics, collage, and a variety of digital arts. Art class is a place where students explore and develop their own creative expression while beginning to explore the many different roles art takes in our everyday lives.