About Our Curriculum
Strong literacy skills are the foundation of success in the classroom and beyond. Our curriculum provides direct, multi-sensory, research-based instruction in decoding, comprehension and written expression.
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 extended literacy block.
Our students are taught to read using the Orton-Gillingham Approach to Language Instruction. Our teachers are trained on site using the researched-based Orton-Gillingham curriculum, to provide daily 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, ask questions, visualize, evaluate, summarize, and synthesize. Teachers help students develop independent strategies for learning, creating an atmosphere of curiosity, and enthusiasm for reading.
The Writing Revolution®
The writing process can be overwhelming for students with learning differences, placing many demands on executive functions. Students must generate and organize ideas and information, understand the role of grammar and syntax, engage in the physical process of handwriting or typing, and sustain their effort and attention. The Writing Revolution eases the burden on executive functions by breaking the writing process into manageable chunks, then having students practice the chunks repeatedly while also learning content.
JUMP Math’s distinctive, agile approach focuses not only on what students learn, but how they learn it. It has been developed through extensive research and experience working with children. Unlike teaching methods that rely on text books, rote learning or memorization, our approach helps children overcome “math anxiety” by building their confidence and resilience through tackling incrementally more challenging concepts at each stage of learning. This leads to success at understanding math – not just memorizing concepts.
History / Social Studies
Student’s explore the world around them in Social Studies and History classes. Along with rich content students are given the opportunity to authentically practice their literacy skills as they read and respond to informational text and historical documents.
Science / STEAM
Our Science curriculum is inquiry-based using the FOSS science program. 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 the National Association for Musical Education and Pennsylvania Standards for Arts & Humanities, students are taught the elements and structure of music, encounter and analyze music that spans across time, place, and cultures. Students sing and perform on instruments, alone and with others. In addition to weekly general music class, students participate in concerts, musicals, plays and outreach events. Students grades 5–9 are invited to participate in band, and grades 6–9 in chorus/theatre.
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.