FAQ: Curriculum and Learning

You talk about small class size. What are the ratios of students to teacher?

You will find that we are one of the few schools with such a competitive tuition that offers such small class sizes.

How important is small class size?

We believe it is one of our greatest assets. Our teachers are constantly communicating with other teachers, their students and their families, and the children benefit from one-on-one attention. We are able to go places and do things that larger schools simply aren’t able to do based on logistics, and we take advantage of this. We develop the whole child because we are able to get to know our students on every level.

In addition to the regular curriculum, what other enrichment activities are offered?

Infant/Toddler – Music and Movement

Preschool – Music/P.E./Chapel/Library/Art

Kindergarten through Fourth Grade – Music/P.E./Spanish/Chapel/Library/Art/Computer/Science Lab/Drama/Guidance Lessons

Fifth and Sixth Grade – Music/P.E./Spanish/Chapel/Library/Art/Theatre/Guidance Lessons/World Religions/Robotics

As a parent of several students, I know that children learn differently. What do you do to address this?

We recognize that students have varied learning styles and, through the use of integration of auditory, visual, and kinetic activities, learners have an opportunity to utilize the learning style that works best for them. Conceptual development is important to overall learning. Basic skills are extremely important elements for the foundation of learning, but coupled with conceptual development and critical thinking, our students will be able to transfer their learning into every core area.

Is there religious education in the classroom?

While we do not teach religion in the classrooms, we are a ministry of a church and promote a Christian environment. Blessings are said before snacks and meals and preschool students attend chapel every other week, and elementary students attend chapel daily.  We believe that character development is extremely important and support activities to make sure our children grow to be kind, responsible citizens.

Do you have computers in the classroom?

Kindergarten through 2nd grade classes have computers, iPads and ACTIVboards (see Classrooms), 3rd grade through 6th grade classes have computers and Mimio Boards, and we have a computer lab that the children visit regularly to support what they are working on in the classroom with technology. For instance, last year, one class designed a brochure for the Great Planet Travel Agency because they were learning about the solar system in class.

Each student in 5th and 6th grade uses laptops in the classroom for robotics, research and interactive educational websites.

I understand that you support integrated education. Why is this important?

We believe that it is important to develop the whole child, and to do this we must touch on every aspect of a child, academically, socially, mentally, physically and spiritually. A child learns best by seeing how every aspect is woven together, and we best accomplish this by integrating our subjects so that the child starts seeing the connections and how the world fits together. By making sure that each subject builds on another, we bring this learning to life in the most powerful way.

You talk about using project-based learning. What is that?

Project-based learning manifests itself day in and day out in our school in a variety of ways to bring learning to life. In our fourth grade class, for example, students read a novel about a family emigrating from Germany, studied immigration in their Texas History book, researched all facets of immigration in depth, and then wrote a travel diary from the perspective of an immigrant child moving to America and how she adapted to the environment on the ship and later in the new country. They took it one step further by simultaneously tracing their family histories and, as it was during the fall in November and December, they tied in holiday traditions, when each family shared a tradition from their country of origin.

Fourth graders also saw poetry come to life. After many strategy lessons on various forms of figurative language, each student wrote a series of poems. Their teacher assembled the poems into an anthology and invited the parents for a poetry reading in the “Cool Cat Café,” complete with black berets and shades, with Simon and Garfunkel music playing in the background.

What curriculum do you teach in Kindergarten and up?

The Wesley Prep curriculum is informed and enriched through a variety of well-researched curriculum and textbooks. We assemble the best programming available for the students’ needs, stay current on new programs, and pride ourselves on both the content and delivery of materials. Wesley Prep teachers are also committed to using multiple resources to design an individualized and personalized program of instruction for all our students.

Examples of the proven programs we use in our curriculum include:

  • Kindergarten
    • Math: Everyday Mathematics from the University of Chicago
    • Reading: MacMillan-McGraw-Hill
  • Primer and First
    • Phonics: SRA Open Court’s Phonemic Awareness & Phonics series
  • Second Grade
    • Reading: MacMillan-McGraw-Hill, regular literature circles, Accelerated Reader Program
    • Math: Everyday Mathematics from the University of Chicago
  • Third Grade
    • Math: Everyday Mathematics from the University of Chicago
    • Science: Harcourt
    • Reading: Macmillan/McGraw Hill
    • Social Studies: Harcourt Brace
    • Handwriting: Scott Foresman
  • Fourth Grade
    • Math: Everyday Mathematics from the University of Chicago
    • Science: Harcourt
    • Reading: Macmillan/McGraw Hill and novel studies
    • Writing Skills: The Six Traits of Writing
    • Social Studies: Harcourt Brace
  • Fifth Grade
    • Math: enVisionMATH – Scott Foresman and Addison Wesley
    • Science: Harcourt
    • Reading: Macmillan/McGraw Hill and novel studies
    • Writing Skills: The Six Traits of Writing
    • Social Studies: Harcourt Brace
  • Sixth Grade
    • Math: enVisionMATH – Scott Foresman and Addison Wesley
    • Science: Harcourt
    • Reading: Treasures, Macmillan/McGraw Hill
    • Literature: Award winning and classic novels, indepth studies of various American and British authors, playwrights, and poets – all correlating with the other subject areas
    • Social Studies: The World, Scott Foresman

Where do children go when they graduate from Wesley Prep?

Our focus is to ensure that all students leave Wesley Prep with appropriate academic skills, tools for handling what is placed before them by developing social and emotional growth, sense of confidence and joy for lifelong learning. Our graduates have a wonderful success rate for getting into larger private schools. Many educational consultants and principals at those schools will tell you that Wesley Prep has a strong reputation for developing academically prepared, confident children. Saying that the child is coming from Wesley Prep is a plus when entering other schools.

Do you have any sport teams at Wesley Prep?

When Wesley Prep students enter the 5th and 6th grades, they are encouraged to participate in the school’s Athletic Program. Wesley Prep’s Athletic Program is an integral and important part of the school’s educational program (see Athletics).  Many of our younger students opt to form teams for soccer and basketball, and play together by registering through the Town North YMCA.

In the elementary program, what testing do you do to make sure our children are advancing with those in other schools?

Formal and informal assessment of students’ achievement is critical to quality learning. Our teachers use rubrics, observation, quizzes, tests, performance, presentations, and individual conferences with students to ensure that learning is on a successful course relative to general school standards. Formative assessments are given to third, fourth, and fifth grade. These students take the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS), which is a standardized test that measures vocabulary, word analysis, reading comprehension, language, and mathematics. Third and fifth grade students are also give the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT), which is used to measure a student’s ability in reasoning and problem solving by using verbal, quantitative, and nonverbal (spatial) symbols.