Our faculty understands that it is critical to intervene as early as possible when children have reading, writing, and math challenges. It is critical to identify the individual needs of each student and provide diagnostic and prescriptive lessons that ensure success. Providing proper instruction when a child is young reshapes learning pathways during a period of powerful brain “neuroplasticity,” when significant changes in brain structure are much easier to attain. Providing a strong foundation of learning necessary is critical when we are building a path for academic success in middle and high school. Dyslexia is a language-based learning disorder that is characterized by a difficulty learning both written and oral language. This will certainly affect a child’s progress in reading and written expression, but it may also affect learning in other content areas. Often, students who have dyslexia have difficulties with executive functioning, ADHD and have other challenges such as dyscalculia or dysgraphia. They may experience problems with auditory processing, working memory and general processing speed. These challenges can affect all aspects of a child’s school experience. The Laurel School of Princeton offers an integrative, engaging curriculum that enables our students to develop the confidence to learn and excel.
Reading Class is provided in homogeneous groups of no more than five students for one hour daily. Instruction is data-driven and assessment is frequent to ensure that students can achieve progress as quickly as they are able. Students are instructed in building decoding, reading fluency, vocabulary, reading comprehension, spelling, and proofreading skills. Multisensory structured language instruction is provided by certified teachers using programs including Wilson Reading System®, Orton Gillingham, Reading Success (David Kilpatrick), and a variety of other materials designed to support reading success.
Language Arts Class is provided daily and students are grouped by homeroom class to investigate and build knowledge that increases reading comprehension, vocabulary, and written expression. Students begin learning the structure of text, specifically narrative and expository text structures. Through close reading and other reading comprehension activities, students explore advanced literature that builds skill in identifying key information, elements of fiction and nonfiction. Teachers provide direct instruction using literature that is advanced and age-appropriate despite the fact that some students may not be able to independently decode the text. Students develop an understanding of advanced sentence structure, knowledge of advanced vocabulary, and learn to use text evidence in class discussions and written compositions about their reading.
Students build foundational skills in written expression during Language Arts class. Learning begins with an understanding of sentence structure. Students are taught basic grammar in a multisensory way. They progress to more complex paragraph structure and longer writing pieces, learning to use text evidence and more detail as they advance. Teachers instruct classes using programs including Project Read® Story Form® and Report Form®, Project Read Literature Connection®, Lindamood-Bell® Visualizing, and Verbalizing®, Developing Metacognitive Skills®, and other well-respected programs.
Math in Focus (Singapore Math), Reflex Math, i-Ready
STEM aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards (This approach focuses on crosscutting concepts, science and engineering practices, and disciplinary core ideas)
NoticeAbility is provided weekly, this STEAM/PBL Block (the acronym STEAM/PBL stands for Science Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics/ Project Based Learning) This course explores the fundamental tenets of entrepreneurship, architecture and the arts through a project-based, experiential lens. The ten-module course highlights the cognitive skills associated with dyslexia and provides students with practical exercises that help them recognize these attributes in themselves. Furthermore, students are provided scaffolding to enhance their social- emotional learning and executive functioning skills which serve as a framework for academic and personal empowerment.
Music is provided weekly and is an academic-based program which is integrated with other studies. Students in all grades receive instruction in general music depending on grade level. Through the years, students will learn basic note reading and counting. Singing and playing instruments such as recorders, boomwhackers and the ukulele are also studied. Classes will also focus on listening and the historical context of music, genres and important composers.
Theater is provided weekly and gives students have the opportunity for musical and theatrical expression and performance throughout the year. We seek to help our students reach their artistic potential with hands-on learning. Performances are given throughout the year, such as full Holiday performance and a performance at graduation. Each Spring, the entire school participates in a full musical. Every student is assigned a stage role or stage crew.
Health is provided weekly, the goal is to develop health literate individuals who have the knowledge, skills and confidence to enjoy a lifetime of good health. It is our goal that our students will know the benefits of making positive health choices especially in response to outside influences from their peers and the media and to encourage them to take responsibility for their own health.
Physical Education is offered weekly and is critical to the development and maintenance of good health. The goal of Physical Education is to develop physically educated individuals who have the knowledge, skills, and confidence to enjoy a lifetime of healthful physical activity. It is our goal that our students will know the benefits of their choice to be involved in physical activity and have a mindset that values physical activity and its benefits in sustaining healthy lifestyles.
Technology is provided twice a week, our students have access to Apple computers, Chromebooks, iPads, and other appropriate technologies. Each student has a laptop in order to take full advantage of assistive technology programs used in the classroom. The use of assistive technology programs, which are continually updated, allows students to have access to information that is cognitively appropriate but may not be easily decode. The students also have access to 3D printing.
Social Studies/Skills Class
We are simply AMAZED at the level of improvement we have seen in our child this year at Laurel School. For the first time, our child is using the strategies being taught to decode and spell words. He is beginning to see that he CAN learn to spell and sound out new words, and this has increased his level of confidence and his willingness to learn. We love that he isn’t getting pulled out of another class to receive OG instruction…every student gets one hour of OG based instruction every day here!