The Brookstone Elementary School Programs support the whole child, focussing on the development of confident, capable and compassionate humans. Within a supportive, caring context, students learn the true meaning of citizenship, and can build the strong character, grit and resilience required for success in the world today. Our program is beautifully balanced as students have access to a mix of direct instruction, small group learning and individualized support and more open ended, hands-on, experiential, project and/or inquiry based learning that respects a students need for autonomy and allows students to further develop their higher-order critical thinking, problem solving and collaboration skills. Every child has a choice in how they access new learning and materials and how they demonstrate their learning. Learning differences are celebrated and viewed through a strength based lens.
From the first words uttered, letters read and marks made on a page, the effective use of language is of crucial importance to your child’s validation as a distinct person and for their learning. It is through language that we state who we are, give meaning to our thoughts and share our insights and new learnings. At Brookstone verbal language development is encouraged, throughout the grades, in daily opportunities to share with the whole group, small groups, with partners or teachers. Student voices are heard, honoured and celebrated as they find and build confidence in their ability to articulate meaningful thoughts, feelings and new learnings. In addition, throughout the years students are fully supported to use language effectively to support their social skills, self-regulation needs and confidently advocate for themselves.
In our Primary Division, Grades 1-3 students are supported to become fluent and confident readers and early writers. A number of evidence-based early literacy approaches are used depending on the individual needs and stage of development of each student. Some children pick up language in a more holistic way and benefit from the meaningful use of language within a carefully structured print rich environment. Other children benefit more with direct instruction of phonics and reading strategies. Whole group, shared, guided reading and writing in small groups, hands-on literacy centre activities with partners and one to one support are all important parts of our well rounded program. Once students reach a level of proficiency with their early literacy skills, we move on to focus on fluency, expression, developing their voice and give them opportunities to apply their literacy skills in a variety of meaningful contexts.
In our Junior Division, Grade 4-6 students are supported to transition from learning to read, to reading to learn. While there is continued direct instruction in increasingly complex language skills, reading fluency, grammar and spelling there is also an emphasis on the craft of writing, differing forms of writing and the use of writing skills to demonstrate their learning in other areas.
In the Intermediate Division, Grade 7-8, students are encouraged to read and write with increasing sophistication and complexity. In preparation for high school, in addition to continuing to practise and refine their literacy skills, students learn how to use computer programs and apps as tools, to assist them with research and reading and writing projects. They are also supported with how to organise their notes, study for tests, take tests successfully and take responsibility for completing and handing in projects within a timeline.
The teaching and learning of mathematics has gone through a major evolution in the last 20 years. While Mathematical study will always include applying formulas that lead to concrete answers, it is the creative and critical thinking processes behind the arrival at solutions that is far more important than the answers themselves. In keeping with the principles of Growth Mindset, at Brookstone students develop their mathematical skills within a learning community in which they feel safe to explore, take intellectual risks and make mistakes (which are really just opportunities for learning!). They also have opportunities to connect their knowledge to the real world in a way that brings Math to life and makes it exciting! They are invited to stretch their thinking skills, develop their mathematical thinking processes and build what is now being called “Mathematical Literacy”.
“Mathematical literacy involves more than executing procedures. It implies a knowledge base and the competence and confidence to apply this knowledge in the practical world. A mathematically literate person can estimate; interpret data; solve day-to-day problems; reason in numerical, graphical, and geometric situations; and communicate using mathematics. As knowledge expands and the economy evolves, more people are working with technologies or working in settings where mathematics is a cornerstone. Problem solving, the processing of information, and communication are becoming routine job requirements. Outside the workplace, mathematics arises in many everyday situations. Mathematical literacy is necessary both at work and in daily life.”
From: THE ONTARIO CURRICULUM GRADES 1-8 Mathematics 2020
With the individualized nature of our programming and ample hands-on experiential opportunities, Brookstone students are able to develop their Mathematical Literacy in a comprehensive and meaningful way. Our teachers utilize a combination of small group direct instruction, Math centres, Math journaling, Number talks, Guided and Independent practice and one to one conferencing to ensure our students are prepared for deeper, more complex mathematical critical thinking and problem solving applications with requisite foundational mathematical skills. In keeping with the Ontario curriculum our students engage in learning about financial literacy and entrepreneurship in a real world way as we make and sell projects at local markets! Coding is also taught and learned through interaction with our robots and the creation of actual games.
By definition Science is, “The systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation, experimentation, and the testing of theories against the evidence obtained” (Oxford Languages) and at Brookstone this is exactly what we do! Familiarising students with the principles of the Scientific Method, students have opportunities to plan, experiment, observe, discover and create within every Science concept explored. As such the Sciences are rich with opportunities to continue to develop a student’s critical thinking and problem solving skills. Every concept explored is done so through a mix of teacher led instruction and student led experiential hands-on activities and access to equipment not usually available to students until high school or beyond. While Science topics in the Ontario Science curriculum are covered, expanded on and enriched in a student's grade based small group, the Brookstone science program is also complemented by whole school special projects and experiments days, STEM learning and collaborative building and engineering challenges which include the learning and use of the research and design process, and Rube Goldberg inspired challenges. The depth and breadth with which a student can study a particular area is indeed unlimited!
Character development and what it means to be a good citizen are of crucial importance in the Brookstone community. These are concepts that are touched on throughout our study of Social Studies, History and Geography. While students learn the requisite knowledge about their world, its history and how it relates to them, they are also regularly invited to question and broaden their perspectives. Teachers expose students to learning in these areas through careful selection of engaging materials that include multimedia, followed by meaningful and thoughtful discussions and sometimes respectful debates. In this way students are able to develop the qualities of compassionate leaders, learning to see things from multiple perspectives and consider the merits of differing perspectives.
In addition, our program includes opportunities for social justice projects in which students learn how they can (and do) make a difference in our local communities, larger communities and even the world, thereby further developing their collaborative problem solving and leadership skills.
With professional artists on staff, Brookstone’s Arts classes provide opportunities for use of the Creative Process during meaningful exploration and skill development in all modalities including Music, Drama and Dance and Visual Arts. With pianos, guitar, ukuleles and recorders, as well as percussion and Orff instruments, music is taught through the option of learning an instrument, singing or theory or a combination of all three. Drama and Dance live and breathe through the study and application of various techniques on our large stage that students have regular access to. And in the Visual Arts, students are supported to acquire a range of skills and techniques during meaningful, open-ended art activities that enable them to express personal feelings, experiences, and ideas. In addition to development of skill in the Arts, our program allows students to use the Critical Analysis Process, while learning to observe, react to and critically analyse works of Art and reflect on how their lived experiences may impact their experience of a particular artistic style. In addition, students have opportunities to use modern software, aps and audio-visual equipment to support their explorations and creations.
French & Other Languages
The use of the French language is alive and well at Brookstone! With a dedicated French teacher with expertise in his field, our students have the privilege of learning the French language in a lively and engaging way. In small groups our French teacher delivers lessons that are rooted in French culture and history and therefore meaningfully captures the interest of our students. They are learning and using French before they even realise they are in French “class!” In addition to French, through the use of a variety of resources and apps students also have the opportunity to study any other language they have an interest in learning.
Health and Physical Education
The Health and Physical Education program at Brookstone encompasses learning the basic movement skills and techniques required for the successful participation in various sports, as well as the development of self-regulation skills, caring for our emotional well-being and mental health, and the impact of healthy eating on maintaining optimal physical health. In addition to gym classes in which students learn specific techniques, the students have regular access to sensory equipment, a movement zone with youth sized exercise equipment and a variety of indoor sporting options during breaks such as ping-pong, air hockey, ball hockey and mini sticks. When weather conditions allow, we also spend as much time as we can outside for gross motor activities that include hiking, running, soccer, basketball and volleyball. Whenever possible we take part in sporting competitions for those that are interested. Students are also exposed to techniques on a daily basis that help them to calm and regulate themselves such as guided breathing, guided imagery meditations, yoga and gentle stretching and thereby learn how to maintain an optimal state for learning.
Skill Building and Inquiry Projects
In addition to enriching learning experiences in all subject areas, Brookstone students also have the option to take part in inquiry or research projects about anything of interest to them and skill building classes in something they wish to learn how to do. With a kitchen on site students have had the option to take part in everything from cooking and baking classes, to knitting, crocheting, macrame and sewing, to cosmetology, to photography, to podcasting! Whatever our students want to learn it is our pleasure to find the resources to teach them. We are grateful to volunteers in our community and surrounding communities for their support with teaching their particular area of expertise.
Contact us today for more information or to get the registration process started!