As we continue to nurture Red Oak Community School’s growth, our curriculum vision can best be described as a “Quilting Approach.” We are taking ideas and inspiration from a variety of sources and stitching them together into a beautiful, unique whole. Our influences include Reggio Emilia, Waldorf, and Vygotsky. We are building a framework from the Ohio Learning Standards* and the Excellence in Environmental Education Guidelines for Learning. Our focus is on the three domains of early childhood development: cognitive, physical, and social-emotional. We anticipate integrating life skills and practical knowledge, such as gardening and first aid. We envision a curriculum that is immersive, integrated, and emergent.
-Maureen Alley, MEd
Head Teacher, Red Oak Community School Curriculum Committee
*Red Oak Community School will meet the academic requirements set forth by the Ohio Department of Education in order to be registered as a Non-Chartered Non-Tax school.
Environmental Education (EE) is the central pillar in ROCS curriculum. Research on EE has linked it to increased environmental literacy, reduction in disciplinary issues, and an overall love of learning. Outdoor education provides emotional, physical, and cognitive benefits in a learning environment that encourages students to explore themselves in relation to their community and the natural world. At Red Oak, students enjoy both structured and unstructured learning time outdoors every day which affords them place-based opportunities to explore self-determined and teacher-initiated content.
Reading and Writing
At Red Oak Community School we approach language arts through balanced literacy instruction. We teach decoding skills and reading strategies through an integrated curriculum of songs, stories, and games, during read aloud, shared reading, guided reading, and individual conferencing. Students at Red Oak are immersed in literacy through a print-rich environment and given ample opportunities to engage with literature, nurturing a lifelong appreciation of reading. Red Oak students engage with fiction and nonfiction texts, following the subjects of group study and their individual interests. Students learn to make increasingly sophisticated connections between books, themselves, and the world.
Red Oak uses Writer’s Workshop model to take students through the stages of planning, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing their writing. Throughout this process students explore their voice as writers as they practice writing for different purposes and audiences with whom they share their writing.
Through our integrated language arts instruction, we help students understand that readers write and writers read. As their appreciation of language arts develops, students learn to identify and then use conventions of writing they see while reading, to communicate through their writing ideas about the full range of subjects under their investigation.
At Red Oak we use an inquiry-based project approach to science. Students are encouraged to articulate questions and wonderings while educators introduce and helps students explore ways to answer their questions using critical thinking, information-gathering, and the scientific method with an emphasis on hypothesis-testing. Our investigations bring us in contact with the three main branches of science: life, physical, and Earth sciences. The natural environment serves as both inspiration and testing ground. Our campus - the woods, creek, and farm - is our laboratory.
Our math program includes concepts of early numeracy such as one-to-one correspondence, numeral recognition, more and less, sorting, cardinality and number sense. As students grow in their math learning, we explore computation, algebraic thinking, geometry and measurement, and data analysis. Mathematics instruction at Red Oak is constructivist, with students creating their own meaning and methods, guided by teachers who are skilled at using lines of questioning to draw out concept comprehension. Math instruction at ROCS is engaging and hands-on, using real-life applications and a wide range of manipulatives to illustrate concepts.
We believe the best way to approach socials studies with young learners is to start with themselves and expand outwards. We explore history, heritage, economics, and geography through the study of stories, customs, languages, the arts, and innovation to help students gradually grasp the complex development of self, community, and world. We connect current events and the necessity for social justice to our studies of past events and instances of conflict and cooperation, both locally and globally. The social studies curriculum is project-based and utilizes primary and secondary sources, personal biographies, timelines, and maps.
ROCS students study Japanese language and learn about cultural practices and traditions alongside traditional core subjects. As environmental education prepares children to be stewards of the natural world, exploring foreign languages and cultures at an early age prepares them to be stewards of our global society. Spoken and written language are learned organically through art and music. Students are invited to compare and contrast new knowledge about Japanese society with their own experiences through fairy tales, folklore, and history. Building relationships with the Japanese community of Central Ohio and schoolchildren in Japan, students are gaining new understandings and forging new friendships through cultural exchange, inspiring them to see beyond the barriers of language, borders, as their social geography expands outward from self to community to world.
*Red Oak Community School meets the academic requirements set forth by the Ohio Department of Education in order to be registered as a Non-Chartered Non-Tax school. We are developing our own learning objectives which incorporate the CORE Curriculum concepts as well as social and emotional, environmental, and physical standards for learning.