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.

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