Why are Elementary Schools Embracing the IB® Curriculum?

Using inquiry skills to build a functioning paper airplane in STEAMinist Monday club.

Have you heard of the IB®  program? 

If you live in or near Virginia Beach and have children approaching elementary school age, you might have encountered this term in your research. The IB®, or International Baccalaureate curriculum, is gaining popularity in schools across the US for good reason.

Consider the statistics: between 2018 and 2022, the number of IB®  programs worldwide increased by 34.2%. Now, there are over 8,000 programs offered in more than 5,700 schools across 160 countries. The IB®  curriculum is rapidly becoming a global phenomenon, with the USA seeing a significant rise in new IB®  programs, reflecting a growing interest in this holistic and future-oriented approach to education.

Let’s explore why International Baccalaureate elementary schools are trending and how they can benefit your child’s education. Remember, Strelitz is the only IB®  elementary school in our area, Virginia Beach, Hampton Roads. 

What is the IB®  Curriculum?

The IB®  program is an internationally recognized educational framework that fosters well-rounded, globally-minded learners. Beyond just a curriculum, IB®  is a philosophy emphasizing critical thinking, inquiry-based learning, and strong interpersonal skills. The IB®  program is offered at various levels, from the Primary Years Programme (PYP) for elementary school to the Diploma Programme (DP) for high school.
     

Benefits of the IB®  PYP for Elementary School Students

Here’s a closer look at how the curriculum in an International Baccalaureate elementary school can benefit your child:

Who We Are- Evening of the Arts

Who We Are- Evening of the Arts

Science with oreos!

Science with oreos!

SIA's caring students!

SIA’s caring students!

 

Developing Strong Academic Skills

The rigorous PYP curriculum covers all core subjects, including math, language arts, science, and social studies. However, it goes beyond rote memorization, encouraging students to apply their knowledge and develop critical thinking skills. Studies by the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO®) show that students in IB®  programs consistently score higher on standardized tests than their non-IB®  counterparts.

Fostering Global Awareness

The PYP curriculum emphasizes understanding different cultures and perspectives. Students learn about the world around them, fostering empathy and a sense of global citizenship. In today’s increasingly interconnected world, these skills are essential for success.

Building Strong Communication Skills

The PYP program encourages effective communication through writing, speech, and active listening. Students learn to express themselves clearly and confidently. According to a Stanford Graduate School of Education study, strong communication skills are among the top predictors of success in college and beyond.

Encouraging Creativity and Problem-Solving

Inquiry-based learning fosters creativity as students explore topics and find solutions. The PYP program provides opportunities for students to express themselves through various creative outlets. The World Economic Forum identifies creativity as one of the most important skills for the future workforce.

Developing Social and Emotional Skills

The PYP program recognizes the importance of social and emotional learning. Students develop collaboration skills, learn conflict-resolution strategies, and cultivate empathy for others. The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) reports that social and emotional learning programs can improve academic achievement, social skills, and emotional well-being.

Investing in Your Child’s Future

The rise of IB®  private schools is a powerful trend with far-reaching implications. It reflects a growing shift toward education that prioritizes critical thinking, global awareness, and lifelong learning skills—essential for success in the 21st century. As parents and educators, understanding the benefits of the IB®  program can help you make a confident choice for your child’s education.

Ready to give your child a head start? Visit Strelitz International Academy, the only IB®  curriculum elementary school in Virginia Beach. Schedule a tour today and discover how a world-class IB®  education can prepare your child for success in a globalized world.

The Early Years Benefits of Sandbox Play

Two girls are playing sandbox paly

Sandbox play is more than just a childhood pastime—it’s a catalyst for multifaceted growth in young learners. At Strelitz International Academy, we’ve witnessed the strong impact of this timeless activity on our Early Years students. In our new sandbox, children engage in collaborative play that fosters essential social skills. They negotiate, communicate, and cooperate as they build together, laying the groundwork for future interactions and relationships both in and out of the classroom.

Moreover, the sandbox serves as a place for imagination to flourish. Within its confines, children become architects of their own worlds, shaping landscapes and narratives with boundless creativity. This unstructured play environment encourages experimentation and problem-solving, nurturing cognitive development in a way that structured activities cannot. As they explore the possibilities of the sandbox, our Early Years students expand their imaginative horizons and develop the resilience to overcome challenges—an essential skill for navigating the complexities of the world around them.

Beyond its cognitive and social benefits, sandbox play offers a sensory-rich experience that is integral to holistic development. The tactile sensation of sand under their fingers, the warmth of the sun on their skin, and the sounds of laughter fill their sensory landscape, enhancing their sensory processing skills and overall sensory awareness. Through the simple act of playing in the sandbox, children profoundly engage with the world, cultivating empathy, self-expression, and a deeper understanding of themselves and others. Contact SIA today and schedule a visit.  Call us at 757-424-4327 or email at astpierre@strelitzacademy.org for a learning journey unlike any other.

IB® PYP Schools in the Virginia Beach Area: What Sets Them Apart

Teacher teaching the computer to students are in the

Remember that wide-eyed wonder your child had when they were little? The constant stream of “why” questions, the insatiable curiosity about the world around them? As parents, we cherish those moments, knowing that natural curiosity is the spark that ignites a lifelong love of learning.

Fast forward a few years. Is that spark still burning brightly? Or has the traditional school system, with its emphasis on rote memorization and standardized tests, unintentionally dampened that flame?

If you’re looking for an IB® elementary school near you that will nurture your child’s natural curiosity and help them blossom into a confident, lifelong learner, then look no further than Strelitz International Academy, the only IB® elementary school in Virginia Beach.

As a parent, we understand that you want the best education for your child. Virginia Beach offers a wealth of choices — but when it comes to igniting a passion for learning and empowering your child to become an independent thinker and problem-solver, SIA stands out as a leader.

What truly sets us apart, though? It all boils down to our exceptional International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (PYP) curriculum

Inquiry-Based Learning Approach

IB® PYP program framework goes beyond traditional methods to ignite a passion for learning that lasts a lifetime. It focuses on five key Approaches to Learning (ATL):

  • Thinking Skills: Critical analysis, problem-solving, and decision-making become second nature.
  • Communication Skills: Students confidently express themselves and collaborate effectively.
  • Social Skills: Building strong relationships and fostering empathy are at the core.
  • Self-Management Skills: Developing organization, time management, and a strong work ethic.
  • Research Skills: Knowing how to find, analyze, and use information effectively.

Why is this approach so powerful? 

Unlike rote memorization, inquiry-based learning allows students to take ownership of their education. They become active participants, asking questions, conducting research, and collaborating with peers. This fosters a deep understanding of concepts and a love of learning that goes far beyond the classroom.

Developing the Child Beyond Grades

At SIA, one of the only IB® PYP schools in Virginia Beach, we believe in nurturing the whole child. The IB® PYP program provides the framework to:

Promote Student Agency

Imagine a classroom where your child isn’t simply lectured to but actively participates in shaping their learning journey. This is the essence of student agency. At SIA, we encourage students to:

  • Ask questions: Curiosity is the cornerstone of learning. We create a safe space for students to ask questions, explore different ideas, and develop their own unique voices.
  • Set learning goals: Working with teachers, students set achievable learning goals relevant to their interests and aspirations. This fosters a sense of ownership and responsibility for their education.
  • Choose learning activities: Students have choices in how they approach their learning. Whether through research projects, group discussions, or creative presentations, they can explore topics that resonate with them.

Mold Lifelong Learners

The knowledge, skills, and attitudes your child acquires in elementary school will serve them for years to come. The IB® PYP program equips students from first grade through fifth grade with a strong foundation for continued success through the five Approaches to Learning (ATL) and an undying passion for learning about the world around them.

Connect Learning to the Real World

Learning shouldn’t be confined to textbooks. At SIA, we go beyond traditional subjects and incorporate globally significant themes that connect learning to real-world issues. These themes, such as who we are, where we are in place and time, how we express ourselves, how the world works, and how we can make a difference, encourage students to think critically about the world and develop a sense of global citizenship. We also integrate technology and cultural learning opportunities to inspire our students to celebrate diversity and thrive in a globalized world.

Cultivate Passionate Educators

Our teachers are the heart and soul of SIA and among the very best in Virginia Beach, VA, elementary schools. We understand that passionate and dedicated educators are key to unlocking a child’s full potential. That’s why we invest heavily in professional development, ensuring our teachers are:

  • Experts in the IB® PYP framework: Our teachers receive ongoing training in the IB® PYP philosophy and best practices.
  • Lifelong learners: Our faculty is committed to continuous learning and staying ahead of the latest educational research and best practices.
  • Passionate about fostering a love of learning: Our teachers are not just educators; they’re facilitators and mentors who create a stimulating and supportive learning environment where children can thrive.

Haven’t We All Dreamed of a School Like This?

Looking for a faith-based IB® elementary school near you

SIA is proud to be a Jewish day school, offering a warm, welcoming environment that integrates Jewish values with a world-class education.

At SIA, we believe in nurturing the whole child, fostering a love of learning, and empowering them to become well-rounded individuals. Isn’t that what we all dream of for our children?

Contact SIA today and schedule a visit to see how SIA can ignite a passion for learning in your child. Call us at 757-424-4327 or email at astpierre@strelitzacademy.org for a learning journey unlike any other.

Three Reasons Why Strelitz International Academy Is the Best Choice for Your First Grader

A girl is writing on a paper in school

Picking the right school for your little one is a massive step. It’s not just about the building or the books; it’s about setting the tone for their whole learning adventure. If you’re in Virginia Beach, near Norfolk or Chesapeake, and thinking about where to start that adventure, Strelitz International Academy (SIA) is your answer. Here’s why it’s a top pick for families with first graders:

1. We are the only International Baccalaureate® (IB®) school in the area.

A girl showing her writing on the paper

A common question we hear from parents is, “What age should you start in 1st grade?” At SIA, we traditionally see children entering first grade around six or seven, ensuring they are developmentally ready to engage with the challenging and enriching International Baccalaureate® Primary Years Programme (IB® PYP). As the only IB® World School in the area, SIA offers a charming beginning to your child’s education right from infancy. We provide a nurturing, safe environment focusing on sensory activities, storytime, and interactive play, blending care with early learning perfectly.

As part of the IB® Way, our certified teachers prioritize each child’s natural curiosity, guiding them through hands-on activities that make learning exciting and meaningful. From the start, SIA children are engaged in a curriculum that includes language arts, science, math, and more, all while being infused with Jewish cultural values and Hebrew language learning. But it doesn’t stop there – music, art, and P.E. contribute to a well-rounded development.

Our program in Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, and Norfolk encourages children to see themselves as competent learners and valuable members of a caring community. Enrollment is open to families of all faiths, and our graduates are known for smoothly transitioning into either top independent schools or continuing their IB® education, fully prepared for the challenges of a fast-paced world. SIA is the sole provider of this internationally recognized framework for first graders in the Primary Years Program (PYP), making us a unique and forward-thinking choice for your child’s education.

2. We use renowned curriculums like the Suzuki Method.

Just as parents guide their child’s first words, they actively participate in their musical journey as part of their 1st-grade learning objectives at Strelitz International Academy. Attending lessons together and acting as “home teachers” during the week creates a supportive environment. You might even learn to play alongside your child, understanding their progress firsthand.

The early years in our Suzuki Violin Program are like fertile soil for growing skills. While formal training can start around age three or four, listening to music should begin at birth. Familiarity with pieces from the Suzuki repertoire ensures that your child recognizes them instantly. Like learning new words, constant repetition is key. Children don’t discard words—they incorporate them into their vocabulary. Similarly, our PYP Suzuki students build their musical repertoire gradually, mastering each step.

Just as sincere praise motivates language development, it fuels musical progress. Each child learns at their own pace, celebrating small achievements. Encouraging a supportive atmosphere among peers fosters generosity and cooperation. Beyond private lessons, group sessions allow children to learn from and inspire each other. These shared experiences enhance their musical journey.

Suzuki’s pieces present technical challenges within the context of music itself. It’s like using language for communication rather than dry grammar exercises. And just as children learn to talk before reading, Suzuki students develop basic technical competence before diving into sheet music. Hear more about the Suzuki method and other topics on education, student advocacy, and parental challenges with S.I.A.: The Podcast!

3. Our classrooms set first graders up for growth.

Strelitz International Academy is designed to enrich and inspire first graders at every corner.  That’s why our classrooms are designed to feel like a second home, filled with natural light and equipped with child-friendly amenities like bathrooms and sinks. Our indoor and outdoor play areas offer safe spaces for children to engage in physical activities and socialize, both essential for motor skill development and forging friendships.

Learning goes beyond the basics as part of SIA’s goals for first graders. With a curriculum that includes music, library visits, and physical education, we ensure our students receive a holistic education. Additional facilities like the Cooking Center & Outdoor Learning Garden and a state-of-the-art technology program with Chromebooks, ActiveBoards, and coding and robotics clubs ignite creativity and promote critical thinking.

From the advanced science program starting in kindergarten to global learning opportunities through field trips, virtual experiences, and community service, we prepare our first graders to grow into curious, confident, and compassionate learners.

Call us and Schedule a visit today and discover why SIA is the best choice for your child’s growth and success.

SIA- The IB® Way

students in the classroom

In a world that demands creativity, critical thinking, and empathy, the International Baccalaureate (IB)® program at Strelitz International Academy (SIA) offers a holistic education. For parents seeking to foster academic excellence, character development, and global citizenship in their children, the IB® Primary Years Programme (PYP) at SIA is an excellent choice!

At the heart of IB® education is encouraging students to inquire and explore their natural curiosity. Rather than simply absorbing information, SIA IB® students are empowered to question, investigate, and seek answers. This fosters a love for learning that extends beyond the classroom and into all aspects of life. In SIA’s nurturing, collaborative environment, creativity flourishes, with students encouraged to think outside the box and explore innovative solutions to real-world problems.

In the IB® PYP at SIA, students learn academic subjects and develop essential communication skills. They are taught to express themselves effectively, including through multiple languages. At SIA, our students learn Hebrew starting in Kindergarten. This emphasis on communication enhances academic achievement and equips students with the ability to connect with people from diverse backgrounds, fostering understanding and empathy.

IB® education goes beyond rote learning; it cultivates critical thinking and a global mindset. SIA students are encouraged to consider multiple perspectives, challenging their assumptions and broadening their worldviews. By engaging in rigorous inquiry and exploration, IB® students develop a deeper understanding of complex issues and learn to approach problems creatively and open-mindedly.

One of the hallmarks of IB® education is the emphasis on action. At the end of each unit of inquiry, students are challenged to apply their learning to real-life situations and take action to positively impact their community. Through action projects, SIA IB® students learn that they have the power to effect change and contribute meaningfully to society, instilling in them a sense of agency and responsibility.

IB® education involves the entire Strelitz school community in a shared mission of fostering compassion, kindness, and empathy. By celebrating our common humanity and embracing diversity, SIA creates an inclusive environment where everyone feels valued and supported. This is rooted in the belief that education can build a better and more peaceful world—a principle embodied in the concept of “tikkun olam,” repairing the world. 

Central to IB® education is developing the ten learner profile traits, encompassing attributes such as being principled, reflective, and caring. Through intentional teaching and modeling of these traits, SIA instills in students the values and virtues essential for success in both academic and personal endeavors. By nurturing character alongside intellect, the IB® PYP at SIA prepares our students for academic achievement and a life of purpose and fulfillment.

Discover the unique benefits of the IB® Primary Years Programme for your child by booking a free tour with Strelitz International Academy. Contact at 757.424.4327 or email at csimon@strelitzacademy.org.

 

Strelitz International Academy and the Suzuki Method

Music Insrtments

​In the exciting world of music education, the Suzuki Method is a revolutionary approach that has transformed how young learners engage with violin mastery. Developed by Japanese violinist Shinichi Suzuki in the mid-20th century, this method is a unique teaching technique and philosophy that believes every child can excel in music through nurturing, repetition, and a supportive environment. At Strelitz International Academy (SIA), all our students learn how to play the violin in Kindergarten using the Suzuki Method. 

​The benefits of the Suzuki Method include developing a keen sense of pitch, rhythm, and musical expression. Learning through listening, as students do with their native languages, is central to the Suzuki Method. Before our IB® students learn to read the music, they internalize the musical language. 

Parental involvement is a massive part of the Suzuki Method, as parents act as the “home teacher” for their children. Lastly, repetition is vital to achieving mastery. Instead of moving quickly from one piece to another, students focus on a small set of pieces, revisiting them regularly. This deliberate practice fosters a deep understanding of the music and enables students to master fundamental techniques before progressing to more complex compositions.

Due to the Suzuki Method at Strelitz International Academy, our PYP students have enhanced cognitive development, discipline, and focus, as well as confidence and self-expression.

​The Suzuki Method has proven to be a powerful and effective approach to introducing SIA IB® scholars to the enchanting world of music. By embracing the principles of early exposure, active listening, parental involvement, and deliberate repetition, the Suzuki Method not only teaches the violin but also instills valuable life skills, starting with our youngest PYP students. As we witness the harmonious melodies produced by these young musicians, it becomes evident that the Suzuki Method is not just a method—it’s a transformative journey of musical discovery. Contact us or Schedule a visit!

Innovative Learning Through Technology in IB® Education

A girl is watching tablet

Technology is not just a tool, but a catalyst for transforming education. In IB® schools, technology is integrated into the curriculum to enhance learning, foster creativity, and develop global citizenship. In this blog post, we at Strelitz International Academy (SIA) will share some examples of how technology is used in IB® education to create innovative learning experiences for students that are fun, engaging, and meaningful.

Technology as a Medium of Inquiry and Expression

One of the key features of IB® education is the inquiry-based approach, which encourages students to ask questions, explore topics, and construct their own understanding. Technology in schools provides a medium for students to access information, communicate their ideas, and collaborate with others.

For example, in the SIA Primary Years Program (PYP), students use digital tools such as Activboards, Smartboards, or Epson BrightLink projectors to research, create, and present their projects. Beyond technology in the classroom, students can access computers in our library and dedicated computer lab. Our learners attend weekly computer classes to learn digital citizenship, keyboarding, documentation, and design. With digital projects that break down topics like the lifecycle of a butterfly, they can express themselves creatively and artistically.

Technology as a Means of Connecting and Collaborating

Another big feature of IB® education is the emphasis on global awareness and intercultural understanding. Technology fosters a sense of community and belonging among students, teachers, and parents. For example, the EY4 Program has a cherished tradition known as the “Family of the Week” project.

In this post-pandemic era, when some families physically can’t be in the classroom, this initiative has become even more significant. With the help of technology, parents, siblings, and extended family members have joined virtually on Google Meets, becoming part of our classroom community. These moments of connection have allowed students to learn about different careers, family traditions, hobbies, and much more directly from their classmates’ families. Watch this video to learn more about the Early Years Program!

Technology as a Source of Inspiration and Innovation

The ultimate goal of IB® education is to inspire and empower students to become lifelong learners and positive contributors to society. Technology provides a source of inspiration and innovation for students to pursue their passions, interests, and goals. For example, our school celebrated SIA STEM Day on February 27th, 2023, a day dedicated to expanding the horizons of our students from kindergarten through fifth grade through hands-on activities in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.

Explored through the lens of sports, students engaged in various activities, such as bobsledding and basketball, with each event teaching scientific and technological principles. They built models, learned about the impact of potential and kinetic energy on motion, and effectively applied the IB® Approaches to Learning in Thinking, Communication, Self-Management, and Research.

Call us at 7574244327 , email csimon@strelitzacademy.org, or Schedule a visit with Strelitz International Academy today to learn more about how we celebrate IB® technology in education!

Friendsgiving: Building a Community

A girl with eatables

By Elyssa Brinn, Early Years Director
“What does it mean to be thankful?” is a common question heard throughout the Early Years hallway as the school year begins. This is typically related to introducing the Modeh Ani prayer during morning Tefillah. The Modeh Ani prayer truly resonates through cultures and age levels because of its widely shared message of being thankful for a new day each morning.

Developmentally, preschoolers and toddlers are hard-wired to think and feel egocentrically. Being self-focused is natural for them, making grasping high-level concepts such as gratitude more difficult. Fortunately for SIA, our curriculum is concept-driven, and our teachers work diligently to instill these values and ideas very early on.

A girl is drinking in acup

During the Thanksgiving season, we had the opportunity to learn about appreciating what we have and taking action for those less fortunate. After all, teaching our students (as young as infants) to share is one of the first values we convey. The Jewish value of giving tzedakah is deeply rooted in ensuring that resources are shared justly. Expanding on this concept, the EY program participated in their 3rd Annual Friendsgiving Feast, with an added action project this year.

Each of our 13 classrooms cooked a dish to be served at our feast, which was held on November 21. The hallways began to smell like Thanksgiving, with dishes including cornbread, challah stuffing, apple crisp, and baked in our newly renovated Early Years cooking center! Tables lined the hallway the morning of the feast, and the entire program enjoyed the celebration together. Overheard at the tables were things like “I like the pink stuff (cranberry sauce) so much!”, “Is this WHOLE plate for me?” and “The cornbread tastes yummy!”

We collaborated with Jody Labstain at JFS. Each classroom collected food items connected with their class’ recipe to donate to the food pantry. For example, the EY4 class who made fresh squeezed lemonade for our feast collected different kinds of juice for “people who don’t have enough money to buy juice for Thanksgiving,” one of our brilliant students stated. He continued by telling us, “It’s so sad that some people can’t have a feast like the one at our school, so we are sharing it with them.” The completed action project yielded over 30 Thanksgiving meals for people in need! Our EY4 classes packed all the items into wagons and carts and presented them to JFS, helping stock the shelves and see their impact firsthand.

This project was able to combine two of our core values seamlessly. Kehillah, building community, and Tikkun Olam, repairing the world, are two of the most important values we want to instill in our children. We love how these acts of community and kindness empowered our students and gave them a true sense of how to make a difference in today’s world. Email us at csimon@strelitzacademy.org or call us at 757.424.4327 and see where our future leaders are born. Schedule a visit today!

Third-Grade Scientists Take on Oil Spills

Allena Anglen and her third-grade class are attempting to clean up a simulated oil spill using disposable pipettes.

At Strelitz International Academy, our students become International Baccalaureate® learners as early as six weeks old. A huge part of an IB® education is the IB® Learner Profile Traits. These profile traits include being principled, open-minded, an inquirer, blanched, caring, a thinker, a communicator, a risk-taker, knowledgeable, and reflective. Our young scholars embrace the IB® Learner Profile traits in everything they do. On Tuesday, November 21, 2023, third-grade students in Mrs. Allena Anglen’s class put on their science hats, wore their safety goggles, and demonstrated the traits of being an inquirer, risk-taker, knowledgeable, thinker, and reflective in their oil spill-themed lab.

To start this engaging lesson, the third graders gathered around as Mrs. Anglen read two stories. The first story was a realistic fiction about the 1989 Prince William Sound spill titled Prince William by Gloria Rand, and the other book was a nonfiction text titled Deepwater Horizon by Nikole Brooks Bethea about the 2010 spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The students also looked at before and after images of bodies of water affected by oil spills, and this encouraged our students to reflect on how these spills affect not only the oceans but life both inside and outside of them.

Next, it was time for our thinkers to become scientists. Mrs. Anglen tasked the students to test different ways to clean up an oil spill. Using pipe cleaners to represent the animals in the oil-filled water, students tested different ways to clean up the oil. The materials they could use to get rid of the oil included a spoon, a fork, yarn, nylon stockings, cotton balls, and disposable pipettes. Unfortunately, our students realized that the pipe cleaner animals did not survive. The third graders also determined that preventing oil spills was the best way to clean the oceans.

Throughout this process, Strelitz students learned that scientists sometimes fail, but that is the best way to learn and grow from past experiences! To wrap up the lab, Mrs. Anglen asked her class, “How do we take this knowledge and move forward?” This question is not just relevant to the oil spill lab but also to any tasks her students may face in the future!

The Strelitz International Academy is the community’s Jewish Day School and International Baccalaureate® World School for infants through grade 5. For more information, contact Ally St. Pierre, Admissions and Marketing Manager, at 757-424-4327, ext. 4188, and Schedule a visit or astpierre@strelitzacademy.org.

Early Years 3 Goes on a Bear Hunt

bear hunt in school

Early Years 3 students at Strelitz International Academy gathered their binoculars and maps and went on their very own bear hunt! In Morah Lavette Ricks’ class, students were inspired by the story “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt” by Michael Rosen and expressed how they would like to go on a bear hunt at their school. On November 7, 2023, Ricks brought the story to life and created the experience for her students right in the Early Years hallway.

mud themed sensory table in school

Early Years 3 students and teacher Lavette Ricks explore a “mud” themed sensory table to find and count bears.

To start this engaging lesson, Ricks introduced the story to her students, as well as the adapted song version sung by The Kiboomers. Because the text is predictable and the rhythm is catchy, the students developed creative-thinking skills to dramatize the story over a few days. As a class, Ricks focused on the prepositions in the story, such as over, under, and through. Next, the students used critical thinking skills to list what they might need in each scenario. As a class, they analyzed the list and started preparing.  Each child designed their own binoculars and special map to navigate to the cave. The maps included the elements mentioned in the story, such as tall, wavy grass, a big river, mud, and their end location: a cave.

Outside of the classroom, Ricks set up each site. The first scene was tall, wavy grass. The students enjoyed a sensory experience of pushing through green streamers. Next, there was a big river, and with the help of blue streamers, students had to “swim” their way through. There were even some stuffed animal friends who joined them on their courageous journey! The third obstacle was mud. To create this scene, Ricks used a sensory table and brown paper, which hid colorful Baby Bear Counters. As students sorted through the “mud,” they counted and collected the bears they found, which tied in with their math skills. And finally, what is a bear hunt without a bear? Students made their way to a “dark cave,” and inside were two stuffed bears! Just like the story, the kids spotted the bears and ran all the way back to their classroom.

At Strelitz International Academy, our mentality is teaching students to go beyond the book. It starts in our Early Years program and will follow them throughout their educational journey. We hope our EY3 students inspire you to grab your map and binoculars and create a bear hunt of your own!  Schedule a visit!

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