Programmes in Lacasa
The curriculum supports the development of the whole child by addressing the academic, social, and emotional growth of each individual. It is intended to be delivered through the selection of research-based programs and specialized instructional techniques that support students having learning differences. This curriculum is based on our belief in the importance of providing students with developmentally appropriate content and skill development in each subject area, with the understanding that many skills and concepts aretaught over a period of time using progressively more challenging materials and having increased expectations for student performance. Each teacherís curriculum guide provides a well-articulated map for instruction. Our curriculum philosophy directly supports the schoolís mission in supporting students with learning differences in becoming competent learners and resilient individuals. Through a curriculum that provides a structured scope and sequence of skills that are continually reinforced and assessed,students are supported in learning how to learn, how to problem solve,and how to think critically.
The social skills equip La Casa School students with the basic life skills necessary to enable them to become people who treat themselves and others with respect. The social skills curriculum although flexibly based on the needs of any individual class is well defined and includes a wide scope of issues in three basic areas of emphasis.
First, in the area of social interaction, topics such as manners, body language,reinforcement of behaviors, regulation of humor, collaboration, and healthy friendships are covered. Second, in the area of resolving intra-personal and interpersonal conflicts, students learn how to avoid unnecessary disagreements, and how to fairly and respectfully handle lifeís difficulties. Self-image, resiliency, decision-making, tolerance, forgiveness, and peer pressure are examples of the subjects covered. Finally, in the area of character development, La Casa School students are challenged to grow in compassion, courage, fairness, generosity, honesty, integrity, leadership, loyalty, patience, pride, respect, responsibility, self-control, and trustworthiness.
All of these topics relate directly to the La Casa School mission and philosophy, as they are essential to the development of the whole child within a nurturing environment. The social skills program puts the values of the school community into action. Students grow emotionally and socially as they learn to problem solve, to face adversity with resilience, and to hold the dignity of each individual in highest regard. Although the basic areas of study remain unchanged in grades one through six, the way in which the subject matter is presented varies greatly. Instructional methodologies differ based upon both student age and ability. Story-telling, role playing, projects, and poetry are all used to spark student interest and encourage student involvement. In addition, the social skills curriculum works hand in hand with the entire school communityís focus on the PeaceBuilders program. Its principles reinforce the idea that all students should strive to be at peace within themselves and with others. The integration of these two curriculums help reinforce the basic concepts of both.
Music as a Therapy
The curriculum in music includes emphasis on musical content knowledge, aesthetic analysis and appreciation, and creative and technical skills. The scope and sequence of the instructional program has been correlated in all music areas and a specific curriculum is being developed for grades 1-12.
Knowledge and understanding of music are essential components of music education. Music education has been proven to enhance problem-solving skills and improve and cultivate social development.
The fundamental purpose of the study of music in the schools is to develop:
1) Artistic skills and knowledge i.e.- creating, performing, and producing,
2) Critical analysis and aesthetic understanding,
3) Interdisciplinary connections and
4) Awareness of historical and cultural content.
Students in the early stages of music education learn by doing. Singing, listening, playing instruments, moving, performing, and creating enable students to develop artistic skills and knowledge. Learning about form and structure of music helps develop creativity. Broad experiences with a variety of music assist the student in making informed judgments. Experience in music further enables students to understand the music connection to other disciplines. It is important that students are exposed to and understand their own historical and cultural heritage as well as that of others. Instructional time consists of 45 minutes per week for each class of students in grades 1-12.
The Content are:
1) Singing, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music
2) Performing on instruments, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music
3) Improvising melodies, variations, and accompaniments
4) Reading and notating music
5) Understanding relationships between music, the other arts, and disciplines outside the arts.
The Art Program at La Casa School provides instruction to all students in grades 1-12. Students attend art class in the afternoon for 45 minutes weekly. The art teacher, along with an instructional assistant who is also knowledgeable in art, teaches each lesson.
The art curriculum is vital to all students at La Casa School and serves as a tool for enhancing creativity and imagination through the introduction of various art mediums, concepts, and elements of design. Integration of the arts within the general curriculum is strongly encouraged and students can apply their newly developed skills with classroom activities, projects, and demonstrations.
Artistic expression offers a vehicle for enhancing self-esteem and developing self- confidence, while students explore personal creativity and expand cognitive development and personality.
The art program strives to give students the tools to express themselves artistically and to observe the world around them from an artistic point of view. The use and manipulation of various mediums is woven into the art curriculum. By exposing students to a variety of materials, and art concepts such as harmony, color, line, texture, shape, and form, their innate interests and potentials are explored. Several different concepts are explored through each medium.
The artistic expression of each student becomes fulfilled at a personal level during art class. It is a tremendous benefit for our students to incorporate artistic expression into their school experience as well as their lives after La Casa.