"Education is a social process. Education is growth. Education is, not a preparation for life; education is life itself."
- John Dewey
English Language Arts: The reading framework VAIS follows is Daily 5. Daily 5 is a literacy structure that teaches independence and gives children the skills needed to create a lifetime love of reading and writing. It consists of ﬁve tasks that are introduced individually. The five tasks are:
- Read to self
- Read to someone
- Listen to reading
- Work on writing
- Word work
When introduced to each task, the children discuss what it looks like, sounds like, and feels like to engage in the task independently. Then, the children work on building their stamina until they are successful at being independent while doing that task. When all ﬁve tasks have been introduced and the children are fully engaged in reading and writing activities, our English teacher is able to work with small groups and confer with children one on one. This structure is effective, the results are amazing, and the children look forward to Daily Five time.
Although Daily 5 is how we schedule our language learning, CAFÉ is what children study during this time. CAFÉ is an acronym that stands for Comprehension, Accuracy, Fluency, and Expanding vocabulary. VAIS utilizes the CAFE™ Menu to help students understand and master different strategies used by successful readers. These strategies become tools for the children to use to help themselves become better readers and writers. At VAIS each child has reading goals and strategies speciﬁc to his/her individual needs and therefore will get the individual instruction needed to move forward and become a successful reader.
Social Studies: In grades K-2 Social Studies is taught in English and integrated into our study of English language arts. At VAIS students are engaged in a environment that promotes global learning under the umbrella of the five themes of geography, which are:
- Location: Position on the Earth's Surface (Absolute/Relative)
- Place: Physical and Human Characteristics
- Human/Environment Interactions: Shaping the Landscape
- Movement: Humans Interacting on the Earth
Regions: How They Form and Change
Our program encourages students to become international researchers, historians, and archaeologists—examining the world through increased levels of cultural literacy, relationships, knowledge, and innovation. Students learn to value the customs and traditions of other countries. Strands of focus this school year include: diversity (comparing families, homes, and clothing around the world), economics (banking basics, goods and services, interdependence among various community, and governmental groups), exploring how climate affects culture, basic research skills, and individual responsibility to our local, national, and global community.