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!

Strelitz International Academy Back to School

Children in IB Classroom

Strelitz International Academy welcomed the new school year with open arms and smiling faces. The school’s entryway has been reimagined with a beautiful IBⓇ-themed mural, and new toddler classrooms, adding to the excitement of the new school year.

Students from all grades returned back to SIA on August 18, 2023, for the annual Meet and Greet. Students had the opportunity to meet their new teachers and classmates drop off supplies in their new classrooms and end the day with a sweet Kona Ice treat. Parents could ask questions about the upcoming school year and what they can expect. The morale was high, and everyone looked forward to the first day of school.

On Monday morning, August 21, 2023, a red carpet led to the front door of the building. Students were thrilled about what the day would bring. It was a wonderful day, filled with engaging lessons, reuniting friends, and bonding with new ones. The school’s faculty and staff received wonderful feedback from parents and students, as students left school with positive attitudes.

Jamie Baker during SIA’s annual school supplies for the new school year. Meet and Greet.

Toddler 4 student, Everett Booth, holding a lion he “rescued” from the hay.

Fifth-grade student Sylvie Lomogda with her Kindergarten student Alexa Kass with her new teacher.

SIA is excited about what the new school year will bring, as Heather Moore, Head of School, launched a new podcast called S.I.A.: The Podcast. This podcast focuses on thoughtful and inspiring topics around parenting and educational programming in IBⓇ PYP schools like ours. You can check out the podcast at www.strelitzinternationalacademy.org/podcast

Additionally, SIA is creating a quarterly magazine that will be available both in hard copy and digital format. The Strelitz magazine will feature articles about events happening at the school and what students are learning.

At Strelitz International Academy, there’s nothing more fulfilling than seeing our students thrive and succeed under our guidance. One of the most important aspects of teaching is fostering a learning environment that encourages academic and personal growth—that is why we lead Virginia as one of the top IBⓇ Program elementary schools. By providing students with the tools they need to succeed and supporting them every step of the way, we can help them reach their full potential. Let’s make this the best school year yet, filled with laughter, learning, and growth!

Looking for ‘Jewish schools near me?’ Schedule a visit with us and see why we make our next generation’s leaders brighter.

Understanding the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (PYP)

IB school

At Strelitz International Academy, we take great pride in being an International Baccalaureate (IB®) World School for the Primary Years Programme (PYP). As an IB® World School and one of the best affordable private schools in Norfolk VA, we are committed to providing a challenging and inclusive educational experience that empowers our diverse students to become lifelong learners. Read on to learn the key aspects of the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme and its significance in shaping well-rounded individuals.

Promoting Student Agency through Inquiry-Based Learning

At the heart of the IB® PYP is an inquiry-based approach to learning. We strongly believe that students learn best when actively engaged in the education process and are free to explore their curiosities. By nurturing student agency, we encourage our young learners to take ownership of their education and pursue knowledge both inside and outside the classroom. This approach allows learners to thrive, fostering critical thinking skills and a genuine passion for academia.

Developing the Whole Child

The IB® PYP is built upon a holistic framework that goes beyond academic excellence. It focuses on evolving the whole child—encompassing advanced knowledge, concepts, skills, attitudes, and actions. The ultimate goal is to instill in students the qualities that make them well-rounded individuals, like openmindedness, empathy, principled behavior, and strong values. By strengthening these attributes, we aim to shape responsible global citizens who contribute positively to society.

Transdisciplinary Themes for Deeper Learning

As a core focus, the IB® PYP incorporates globally significant transdisciplinary themes to guide deeper learning. These themes, such as “Who We Are,” “How the World Works,” and “Sharing the Planet,” enable students to connect different subjects with real-world issues. This interdisciplinary approach allows students to understand the interconnectedness of knowledge and develop a more comprehensive knowledge of the world around them.

Passionate and Dedicated Educators

Our educators are the key communicators in delivering the IB® PYP properly and effectively. They collaborate to provide an integrated learning model across all disciplines, creating a curriculum based on students’ experiences and interests. To ensure the highest quality of education, our faculty participates in professional development and extensive IB training, inspiring them to innovate new learning methods that ignite students’ curiosity and action.

Global Connections and Inspiring Engagement

The IB® PYP is synonymous with global connectedness—pushing us to translate the best practices in the classroom. We encourage students to engage with communities beyond their immediate surroundings, morphing a newfound sense of global awareness and empathy. This exposure enriches their learning experiences and prepares them to be active and kind citizens in an interconnected world.

Parent and Community Involvement

We can’t elevate our students without their parents’ help. The effects of the IB® PYP reach far past the classroom walls, fusing with our students’ everyday lives. We value parent support and welcome their active involvement in their child’s education. That way, students can further learn how their lessons reflect daily life.
Community experts are invited to share their knowledge and experiences with our students, building meaningful connections between the school and the broader community. With invaluable support from parents and the community, our students can be confident as they find their place in the world.

Empowering Students to Take Action

Our IB® primary school knows that there are only results with action. The IB® Programme empowers students to be active citizens within local and global communities by participating in various activities that make a positive impact. From community service initiatives to environmental conservation projects, our students’ experiences both enrich their education and ignite a sense of responsibility to be empathetic to others.
Looking for an “IB® elementary school near me?” Send your child to a school that sets them up for success. Tour Strelitz International Academy today.

How International Baccalaureate learning approach at SIA Makes a Difference in Grade 5 Students

Student writing in classroom

The International Baccalaureate (IB) approach to learning at SIA is a great way to create well-rounded individuals with problem-solving and creative thinking skills. At Strelitz International Academy we use the IB approach to learning in all of our classes to ensure that every student is able to visualize and think critically about the knowledge they learn. But how does this approach make a difference in grade 5 students? In this article, we will discuss what the IB approach to learning is, how it is beneficial, and how it makes a difference in grade 5 students.

What is the International Baccalaureate approach to learning?

There are many different methods that instructors can use when teaching. In addition, there are many different ways that children can learn. The IB approach is one of the methods that teachers can use to instruct students, and it is one of the best ways for students to fully grasp a topic.

With IB-style learning, children are given the opportunity to use the knowledge they have just learned in a real-world setting. The IB learning approach can be used in every subject that is taught. For example, students can use the information they have learned about division to solve a problem. Similarly, children can learn about a haiku (a poetic form) by writing one themselves. In addition, students can learn about human anatomy by dissecting a frog. These are all excellent examples of IB-style learning.

The Kinesthetic Learning Style

Each student is unique and has their own learning style. Some students do better when they learn auditorily. The auditory learning style is typical in higher education institutions where students listen to an instructor and take notes on the topic. For some students, this is an ideal way of learning. For other students, visual learning is ideal. Visual learners tend to use images and the written word to file away information. This can include the use of graphs, videos, textbooks, etc. The combination of these two styles is kinesthetic learning or IB-style learning. Kinesthetic learning uses a combination of auditory and visual learning styles to teach students.

Instead of just sitting in a classroom and having to write or read information, students are placed into situations where they have to apply the knowledge they learned. This helps them actively engage with the material and allows them to learn in a style that suits them.

What are the Benefits of IB style learning?

IB-style learning is one of the most effective ways that students can learn. There are many reasons for this, but some of them include:

  • Develop fine motor skills and challenge systems
  • An education that uses a variety of global learning research methods
  • Encourage students to be local and global citizens
  • Create multilingual students

As we mentioned earlier, IB-style learning is a great way for students to take the knowledge they learn in the classroom and apply it to real-life situations. Similarly, this experience shows the students that the knowledge they gain can be applied and used in the “real world.”

How does IB style learning make a difference in grade 5 students?

Students in grade 5 are right on the edge of going to middle school. The subjects they learn in this area are used as a foundation for the years to come. Creating an engaging and thought-provoking educational experience can help them be prepared. The grade 5 curriculum can be pretty rigorous and using an IB-style learning approach can help make the topics more understandable. Programs such as the International Baccalaureate program at Strelitz International Academy use IB-style learning to encourage well-rounded and inquisitive students.

IB Style Learning in the Grade 5 International Baccalaureate Program at Strelitz International Academy

At Strelitz International Academy, we understand that learning styles are different. That is why in our International Baccalaureate (IB) program, we use an IB-style approach to learning in every subject we teach.

Our IB students learn math through problem-solving—building their critical thinking skills. They challenge assumptions in science by conducting experiments and completing research projects. The IB program teaches children about global citizenship and intercultural understanding and respect, through social studies and languages classes. With an IB-style learning approach, our IB students learn language arts by writing their own books, poems, and speeches; and use technology in their everyday studies for robotics, coding, and computer classes.

Our goal at Strelitz International Academy is to provide our students with the experiences and knowledge for them to be successful and productive citizens. Ready to learn more about our International Baccalaureate program? We are currently enrolling for the 2022-2023 school year and would love to schedule a campus tour with you! Call our office at 757-424-4327. In the meantime, find out what other parents have to say about SIA here.

Values vs. Academics: Finding the Balance with Elementary Education

Filed trip

A well-rounded individual who excels in personal goals and external goals has to be nurtured into being at a young age. Just like we learn languages, math, history, etc. we also have to learn empathy, compassion, critical thinking, etc. It is only with values-based and academics-based education that we can mold our children into well-rounded individuals. At Strelitz International Academy, we believe that finding the right balance between academics and values is important to the development of your child’s elementary education.

Values-Based Elementary Education

A values-based education has the objective of creating good citizenship in individuals and society. Through the elementary education model, students develop personally, globally, and spiritually. At SIA, we teach a number of values in addition to traditional academics. The aim of our values-based elementary education is to create children who grow to be:

  • Inquirers
  • Knowledgeable
  • Risk-takers
  • Principled
  • Thinkers
  • Communicators
  • Caring
  • Balanced
  • Open-Minded
  • Reflective

These are all key values of well-rounded and productive members of society.

Academics-Based Elementary Education

Values-based education is a great way to create emotionally intelligent students, but they still need a traditional education if they want to excel in our society. That is why we incorporate values-based learning into standard academics-based learning. Academics are important, they teach us history, math, language, and give us outlets to express ourselves and explore our talents. However, strictly learning academics can leave holes in your child’s overall development.

In general, academics were left to be learned at school and values were learned in the home. However, children have a difficult time using and integrating the values they learned at home if they are not reinforced and taught at school as well.

Balancing Values and Academics

Both values-based and academic-based academics have their strengths and weaknesses. It is only by balancing these two learning models that we can create well-rounded and compassionate global citizens. By introducing and reinforcing these values in an academic setting, students learn to use these values in addition to their academics to solve problems. At Strelitz International Academy we do just that. Students will learn at an accelerated pace the typical academic subjects such as language arts, math, social studies, science, technology, P.E., etc. However, they will also learn values and learn how to be compassionate and proactive citizens.

Within each of these academic subjects, we make sure to include and teach the values that will help them become successful. Within our social studies program, we take the time to ensure they understand respect for democratic ideals and give them a sense of conviction that they can make a difference. Our math program works not only on numbers but on problem solving. Children are given the opportunity to work with others and use technology to solve problems. And in their language arts studies students learn fine motor skills.

Values and Academics at Strelitz International Academy

At SIA, we take the time to develop your child’s academic education and their personal development education. Our ultimate mission is to “promote a social and global consciousness that encompasses a profound respect for all humanity.” You can read more about our primary years (elementary education) program on our website.

Are you looking for a balanced values and academics elementary education for your child? We are currently enrolling for the 2022-2023 school year, and would love to welcome your child to SIA. To find out more and schedule a campus tour, please call 757-424-4327. Find out what other parents have to say about SIA here.

5 Fine Motor Skills Needed for Kindergarten Readiness in 2021

A kid practicing gardening activity

Even if your child has experienced pre-school, moving on to kindergarten is still an exciting step into the “big kid” world. Besides shopping for school supplies and new shoes, there are things you can do to make sure your little one is ready for the transition, including working on fine motor skills.

What Are Fine Motor Skills?

We’re so used to our bodies doing whatever we need them to do for daily tasks that it may seem like gross and fine motor skills are completely intuitive. This isn’t the case. Whereas gross motor skills refer to how well we use the large muscles in our body to run, jump and get out of bed, fine motor skills develop the small muscles in our wrists, hands, and fingers, allowing us to do everything from tying our shoes and buttoning our shirts to typing on a keyboard.

For small children, honing their fine motor abilities and hand-eye coordination are important steps toward independence. The ability to open doors, zip up a backpack, and wash their own hands lays the foundation for skills that come later, such as holding a pencil and playing a musical instrument.

For example, before children can learn to write or draw, their hands need to be strong enough to hold a pencil steady for extended amounts of time. Dexterity and coordination are also essential in order to take part in school sports and games.

Here are 5 skills to help your child master before entering kindergarten:
Use a pencil or crayon with some control
– Cut with scissors
– Copy basic shapes
– Form numbers and letters, especially the ones in their name
– Put together simple puzzles

What Are Some Fine Motor Activities for Kids?

1. Playing with Play Dough
If you don’t have any play clay on hand, it’s easy to make your own. To strengthen hand muscles, encourage your child to squeeze, stretch, pinch and roll “snakes”.
2. Playing with Sponges
Gather together a clean sponge, two bowls, and some water, and you’ll have another fine motor skills activity to strengthen hands and forearms. Fill one bowl with water and leave the other one empty, so your child can soak the sponge in the water and then squeeze it out into the other bowl.
3. Painting
Finger painting is a great way for kids to not only practice using their hands but also get really messy! You can also introduce painting with a brush, which helps children learn how to hold a brush correctly and use it as a tool. Try paint-by-number kits for this activity.
4. Practicing with tongs and tweezers
Moving different tiny objects (like Cheerios or beads) from one container to the other builds strength and coordination – and is also really fun.
5. Water play
Find an eyedropper, fill a cup about a quarter full of water and let your child try to transfer the water from one cup to the other by drawing the water into the dropper and squirting it into the empty cup. To make this even more exciting, have several cups and dye the water different colors with food coloring.
6. Gardening and planting
Digging and gardening might seem more like a way to build gross motor skills but certain enrichment activities, like transferring seedlings, require smaller muscle control and hand-eye coordination skills. Grasping a trowel also practices using a pincer grip.

Are You Looking for a Private Kindergarten School in Virginia Beach or near Chesapeake, VA?

Strelitz International Academy is one of the best private schools in southeastern Virginia. We take pride in our IB® Primary Years Programme (PYP), which is available to 3- to 12-year-old elementary school students. We believe your child will flourish in our environment, thanks to smaller class sizes, a unique curriculum, and exemplary teachers, staff, and administrators. Our goal is to put your child on the path to a lifelong love of learning and educational excellence.

We invite you to Schedule a visit and learn more about our curriculum. Click here to find out more, or please give us a call at 757-424-4327.

Helping Your Child Build Fine Motor Skills

IB Elementary School Students doing an Fine Motor Skills Activities at Strelitz International Academy

As adults, we probably take our fine motor skills for granted most of the time. Fine motor skills involve the coordination and synchronization of small muscles—usually in our fingers and hands or toes and feet—when performing complex levels of manual dexterity. This could be something simple such as catching a ball, or a task that’s a little more complicated, such as buttoning a shirt.

The reason we take these intricate movements for granted is because they are so well-ingrained in our minds that we can now do many of them without even thinking about it. However, there was a time in our development when someone helped hone those fine motor skills to give us the ability to write with a pen or type on a keyboard. These skills build over time. The idea is to practice them regularly to help establish better eye-hand coordination.

At Strelitz International Academy, we understand the importance of building fine motor skills, and regularly practice different tasks with our International Baccalaureate® (IB) Primary Years Programme (PYP) students, to help them build strength in the small muscles and program the central nervous system to coordinate the efforts. As an IB® elementary school serving Chesapeake, Virginia Beach, and Norfolk, this is just as important as academics, and well believe that providing this additional training helps to make us one of the best elementary schools.

Here are a few things you can do at home to help continue building fine motor skills in your child:
Setting the table: Manipulation of flatware such as knives, spoons, and forks requires the grasping of objects and placing them back down in a uniform manner.
Using scissors: Draw shapes on a piece of paper and let your child try to cut along the lines with child-safe scissors. Your child can then use a glue stick to paste those shapes back on to another piece of paper creating a lovely piece of art.
Puzzles: Putting puzzles together not only sharpens cognitive thinking, it helps to build fine motor skills by picking up individual puzzle pieces and successfully placing them where they need to go to complete the project.
Building blocks: Crafts such as Legos® are fantastic at building fine motor skills and they help to bring out the creative spirit in your child.
Eye droppers: This will require several glasses of water and food coloring. Next to each glass of water, write down a color and the number of drops that should go in the glass. This not only helps with fine motor skills, it’s a great way for younger kids to practice counting.
Rice: This one is a little more difficult and probably should only be used with more advanced children. You need two bowls of uncooked rice, two empty bowls, and a pair of tweezers. Two children can race each other, or they can go head-to-head with you, but the object is to take all of the grains of rice from the full bowl to the empty one using only the tweezers to pick up and transport the rice.

There are many different activities you can use at home to build fine motor skills in your child. Think up some great ideas yourself and put them into practice!

If you would like to enroll in the best IB elementary school serving Virginia Beach, Norfolk, and Chesapeake, give us a call at 757.424.4327 to learn more about us and to submit an application.

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