6:1 ratio in all classes, allowing for personalized and enriched learning opportunities.
At least 2hrs every day is spent learning outside in our community and natural surroundings.
Hands-on learning and site-based learning.
Enhanced learning through the Arts, including daily dance, music, movement, art and creative expression.
Personalized instruction to support all learners, including Gifted, LD an Mental Health needs.
Integrated learning through Science, Technology, Engineer, Arts and Math.
Oak Learners offers progressive, interdisciplinary, inquiry-based programming in a student-driven, teacher-facilitated, alternative learning environment.
Each learner goes through a cyclical process of identifying their unique strengths, needs, goals, and interests. Through collaboration with teachers, peers, parents and members of their community, they design inquiry-based projects to guide their learning over the course of a term.
Each day at Oak Learners brings new learning opportunities through an integrated and immersive approach to elementary education. Ontario Curriculum content and skill achievement guidelines are covered and enriched through a holistic approach to learning in a project-based inquiry model, leading to a much deeper and richer learning experience for the students.
*S.T.E.A.M = Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math
Reading and Writing form the building block for communication and learning. At Oak Learners, we approach literacy through an integrated approach, which means that reading and writing skills are taught within other subject areas, such as science or social studies. Children develop strong literacy habits and communication skills through meaningful experiences with text.
Students in Upper Elementary at Oak Learners will:
* Develop a life-long love for reading, which will be used as a basis for reading instruction
* Engage in a variety of meaningful discussions and written activities to improve reading comprehension
* Enhance reading comprehension strategies and vocabulary development through explicit instruction
* Use cooperative learning to promote reading development and positive peer relations
The Upper Elementary program at Oak Learners is delivered by experienced teachers who have a passion for instilling the love of reading and writing in adolescents. Through many years of experience, the teachers recognize that the middle school grades are often the time that a love of reading truly develops and needs to be fostered in a way that inspires curiosity and confidence, as well as a way to navigate the world around them.
At Oak Learners, we feel that all students have the capability to thrive in Mathematics through research-based teaching practices, a positive classroom environment, and opportunities to develop and communicate strategies. In Mathematics at Oak Leaners, students value math, develop a deep understanding of the connections among concepts and the real world and, are confident using mathematics as a way to solve problems.
Students in the Upper Elementary program at Oak Learners will:
* Compare and order integers, decimals and fractions in a variety of contexts
* Develop a deep understanding of equivalent fractions and decimals and utilize the knowledge to investigate community issues
* Understand the relationships between operations to solve problems involving whole numbers, decimals, fractions, and percentages
* Identify, create, extend, and predict patterns in natural environments
* Analyze and use data to make informed decisions and convincing arguments (e.g., bar graphs showing more litter in certain areas as an argument for having another garbage can)
* Read and utilize coordinates on a Cartean plane to locate objects and complete challenges
* Determine, compare, and estimate measurements in various contexts (e.g., estimating the height of a tree to determine ground cover)
* Use a variety of coding languages to build and solve problems
* Identify financial goals and work toward achieving them
* Maintain positive motivation and perserverence, while effectively coping with challenges related to Mathematics
Each Mathematics class in the Upper Elementary program will follow a three-part lesson: 1) Minds On (i.e., activating prior knowledge); 2) Action (i.e., students have the opportunity to work in small groups to solve a problem and share their strategies, via “conference style”, with teachers and peers); 3) Consolidation (i.e., independent practice with teacher support). Many Math classes will take place within the community so students can witness the subject in real-world contexts.
S.T.E.M *Science, Technology, Engineering, Math
At Oak Learners, we believe that STEM Education plays a very important role in providing young leaders with 21st Century learning, problem-solving, collaboration and critical thinking skills. The more students can observe, explore, question and design the world around themselves, the more they have the opportunity to construct true understanding of new concepts.
Technology is the future and although it cannot fully predicted what the employment opportunities or challenges that our students will face in the years to come, we can certainly prepare them to ask questions, engage in design challenges and think like innovators through an integrated approach. The most important skills that students will learn through engaging in STEM activities at Oak Learners are problem-solving, communication, creativity, collaboration and critical thinking. Through hands-on skills such as website and app development and design, coding, building and engineering, students will feel confident in bringing their STEM skills to life.
Oak Learners takes a hands-on, experiential, project-based approach when teaching STEM so that students can be fully immersed in each step from start to finish. Each design challenge begins with a question and students, as innovators and creative thinkers, devise ways to solve the problem (e.g. Is there a way to design an app that will help ensure clean drinking water to remote Indigenous communities?).
We believe that Arts Education plays a very important role in educating young learners. We make sure to integrate Art, Music, Drama and Dance throughout our days, throughout every subject area. The Arts brings learning to life and provides a context for deep emotional and social learning.
In Visual Arts, students will gain skills in each of the five elements of art: line, colour, shape, form and texture and use these skills to create beautiful and functional art pieces that express creativity and individuality. In the Upper Elemetary program at Oak Learners, Eco Art and digital art are also important components, where students will learn skills in photography, such as lighting, framing and compositon, while exploring a variety of editing software programs. In Drama, students will work collaboratively to learn skills in performance and improvisation, with the incorporation of dance routines and techniques. In Music, students will learn theory and composition through the playing of a recorder.
In the Upper Elementary program, the Arts are taught in a variety of ways- sometimes involving explicit instruction, whereas other times allowing for collaboration and experimentation. Students will learn a variety of art forms and techniques and use these to create expressive pieces of art.
Outdoor Education is the centre of everything we do at Oak Leaners. Research has demonstrated that interacting with nature on a consistent basis is highly beneficial for the mental health and well-being of children and teenagers. In particular, the World Health Organization has found that children raised with exposure to green spaces are 55% less likely to develop mental health concerns, such as stress-related illnesses. Also, children have demonstrated improved concentration, increased productivity, better behaviour and more positive relationships amongst their peer group when frequently learning in an outdoor environment.
Utilizing the outdoor classroom as the “third teacher”, students at Oak Learners have the opportunity develop skills in stewardship, navigation, observation and stewardship. Skills in other subject areas are not learned in isolation; rather, students see how they are used in the community to ask questions and devise plans to solve real-world problems.
All subject areas can be taught in an outdoor environment; however, the learning involves interaction with the outdoors and using our natural world as an opportunity for deeper understading. Through Literacy, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies and the Arts, students gain knowledge about their role as stewards and take responsibility for their role in preserving their environment. In particular, students are given many opportunities to see ‘treasures’ and ‘troubles’ in their community and work towards devising solutions.
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