Our Bible curriculum is designed to nurture each child's spirituality and to strengthen individual faith. We support what is learned in the classroom by encouraging a close relationship with Jesus and daily personal prayer and by providing frequent opportunities for formal worship and community service.
Worship is held every morning followed by activities to illustrate lessons from the Bible. For Foothill students, Bible classes focus on personal communication with God, gratitude for God's gifts to them and their families, and faith in God's love for them and for the entire world.
Once a week, we visit the church for Chapel to reinforce these values. Each class sponsors several Chapel programs during the year. Foothill hosts two Week of Prayer events each year, run by our pastor and guest speakers.
Lessons provide opportunities for creative self-expression, the development of perceptual awareness, including art appreciation, and recognizing beauty in both the natural world and the constructed environment.
Students learn to manipulate color and form using a wide variety of materials, tools, and techniques in drawing, painting, sculpture, collage, printing, and architecture. Information on the role of art in human history and the development of artistic styles and periods is integrated into every lesson.
Every classroom is equipped with several networked computers with Internet access and CD-ROM capability, as well as software that supports the core curriculum.
Kindergarten students begin to learn control of the mouse and navigation of computer menus through games which encourage them to practice phonics and language skills.
Students in Grades 1 and 2 learn keyboarding skills and basic word processing, graphics, and spreadsheet applications such as Microsoft Word, KidPix, and PowerPoint.
In Grades 3-4, students improve their keyboarding skills and increase their confidence using multiple software applications. They do research using appropriate search engines and design basic PowerPoint presentations.
In language arts, our students learn critical thinking, effective communication, and the skills necessary for proficiency in spelling, vocabulary, grammar, phonics, reading, and writing. Always building on what each child knows, we present individual students with materials that will offer a challenge yet permit success. We monitor each student's progress closely through monthly evaluations.
Our balanced reading program consists of four components that are used each day: reading aloud, shared reading, guided reading, and independent reading. We introduce new texts by reading aloud, inviting students to share the reading when they encounter words and phrases they know.
We move on to guided reading, in which the teacher helps a small group of students of similar ability to read a book. At each session, the children learn basic reading skills, including phonics and comprehension. The teacher helps them develop strategies to deal with increasingly difficult texts; these strategies include recognizing familiar words by sight and understanding the meaning of words from other clues in a sentence. The children also learn to correct themselves if a guess doesn't make sense.
Our goal is to help each child advance to fluency, capable of reading silently and independently and filled with enthusiasm for books.
We teach mathematics using a program that encourages discovery of mathematical concepts, emphasizes the traditional learning of basic arithmetic facts and gives a strong foundation in computational skills, particularly mental computation.
In Kindergarten, our goal is to nurture students' emerging abilities to count, match, sort, order, compare, see patterns, do simple addition and subtraction, and understand space and time. They learn to graph, measure, tell time, read a calendar and perform simple money exchanges.
In Grades 1-4, our students advance their knowledge of mathematical concepts in 13 topic areas: problem solving, communication, reasoning, connections, estimation, number sense and numeration, whole number operations, whole number computation, geometry and spatial sense, measurement, statistics and probability, fractions and decimals and patterns and relationships.
Each year, our students' grasp of mathematical concepts deepens with repeated exposure at increasingly higher levels to the same topic areas.
Our music instruction for students in Grades K-2 emphasizes singing and rhythmic movement. The children learn folk songs, dances, and movement games from the United States and around the world. They also explore rhythm with speech, rhymes and body percussion and advance to using basic percussion instruments.
In addition to these activities, students in Grades 3-4 begin to read music in several keys. They also study music theory and history.
At Foothill, we use the Saxon Phonics program in which new content is taught in small increments, then continually applied and reviewed to achieve mastery and retention.
The program focuses on phonemic awareness—recognizing letter and sound correspondence. However, the program is far more extensive than simply introducing letters and sounds. In addition to the basics, children also learn digraphs and combinations (e.g., ch, ck, ar, er), a portion of the coding system used throughout the program, one spelling rule, and simple syllabication.
Even while students are learning phonograms, they are also learning to blend the sounds into words, applying the necessary phonics rules. Some words will probably be learned even before children master blending as they learn to identify words that contain specific sounds. Although spelling tests are given, they involve a child recognizing individual sounds of letters rather than being able to spell entire words from memory.
The program goes on to cover more complex phonograms such as "tch", "dge", and "eigh"; prefixes and suffixes; compound words; and more complex syllabication. It covers vowels and consonants, then continues reviewing combinations, digraphs, sight words, and advanced prefixes and suffixes (e.g., mono, bi, tri, quad); additional final, stable syllables (e.g., sion, tion, tious); and more-challenging elements of phonics, spelling, and syllable division. Much of the program is a reinforcement of concepts already learned, but with the integration of more complex vocabulary—lengthier, and more-complex words.
At Foothill we believe that the love and ease of reading is the most important foundation for students to achieve optimum success in all subjects in their educational journey.
In Grades K-4, physical education is integrated into the daily schedule of classes. At every grade level, we help children develop and refine their movement and object control skills, stress the importance of physical fitness for a healthy life, emphasize safety and encourage self-discipline, cooperation, sportsmanship and respect for equipment and property.
Kindergarten students work on skills like skipping, jumping, galloping, and jogging. In Grades 1 and 2, students learn to play simple ball games and to pace themselves while jogging longer distances. Students in Grade 3 and 4 continue to increase their endurance in jogging and are able to play complete games. During these games they learn skills, including rules and scoring, that will prepare them to play soccer, volleyball, basketball and field games.
Our science curriculum combines life science, earth science, physical science and chemistry. Students at each grade level receive progressively more sophisticated instruction in the scientific method: They gather existing information, form hypotheses and predict expected outcomes, experiment and collect data, organize results, and draw conclusions based on their own work. Each year they become increasingly confident using the equipment and tools of science. Every student in the school is expected to enter the Science Fair.
Our instruction emphasizes age-appropriate activities using hands-on inquiry techniques and field experiences. Kindergarten students, for example, grow their own plants and watch live caterpillars turn into butterflies. Students in Grade 1 learn about the properties of solids and liquids and study the life cycles, structures, and behaviors of a variety of insects and animals. In Grade 2, students become aware of scientific laws as they study balance and motion and study weather and the propagation of plants.
Students in Grade 3 make a comprehensive study of their own skeletal and muscular systems and explore the properties of water. In Grade 4, studies in earth science focus on rocks and minerals, landforms, erosion and deposition of land and volcanoes and earthquakes. Students learn about lever and pulley systems in physical science and explore the history of scientific ideas and inventions.
In our social studies program, Kindergarten students start their exploration of culture and history by studying themselves, their families, and their communities. They begin to understand human diversity as they talk about how people are the same and how they are different. Classroom activities focus on developing leadership skills and good citizenship and on nurturing the children's sense of responsibility to improve the human condition.
As our students mature, we introduce at each grade level information that will help them understand human and environmental interaction, the movement of people, goods, and ideas and cultural development through science and mathematics, literature, art, music, dance, and language. Students also master specific skills, such as the reading of globes, maps, graphs, and diagrams and they learn to use the research tools and methods of historians.
In Grade 1, we help students understand the concept of "history" as it relates to themselves and to their families as well as to our country, focusing on Colonial America. Students in Grade 2 study individuals who have "made history" and learn the goals of government and democracy.
Our curriculum for Grade 3 focuses on human rights, minorities, and social classes; students develop an appreciation for our democratic, pluralistic, society as they study the American Constitution and American ideals. Students in Grade 4 make a yearlong study of the Regions of America by looking at the history, geography, and natural resources of each, as well as the communities present there today.
The Elementary Key Learnings were designed for Adventist elementary schools in North America and provide an overview of the content that students should know and be able to do in each subject area and elementary grade. The results will assist teachers in planning lessons and curriculum for the year. The Key Learnings for grades K-4 are available below: