Engaging young elementary students to prepare for higher learning
Our experienced, caring teachers nurture every child in K-5 with the love of God, ensuring the Bible is a fundamental element of the learning experience. Through a specialized curriculum designed to engage the whole child in mind, body and spirit, every child is prepared for higher learning.
Our smaller class sizes provide an intimate learning environment to allow teachers to assess and understand what makes each child unique in their learning. Instruction is differentiated so that all students grow academically regardless of level.
Caring and Nurturing
Our learning environment is a caring and nurturing space where students are valued for the unique individuals God created them to be. Teachers truly do care for and love their students!
Smaller class sizes allow teachers to get to know the unique learning styles of each student. Because each child learns differently, we make every effort to differentiate our lessons so that each child may succeed.
Elementary Students at New Life Academy have a well-rounded education rich with hands-on learning experiences.
Minds in Motion – In 2010 Mrs. Louise Erickson attended an ACSI professional development training led by Candace Meier, founder of Minds in Motion (MiM). Candace Meier is a reading specialist who developed MiM after making the connection between physical coordination and learning. She gathered a variety of research results and developed the Minds in Motion Maze. She has generously shared her maze with anyone who wants to help children use their bodies efficiently. That same year, Mrs. Erickson brought MiM to NLA. MiM is a series of fifteen exercises that are simple yet help to connect both sides of the brain, the inner ear, the eyes and the muscles for integrated learning. At New Life we have simple equipment and we use our hallways for our maze. You will see children skipping, crawling, rolling, pushing, jumping, tossing, and wobbling as you walk through our building
At the elementary level, students are exposed to iPads, SMART Boards, desktop PCs, and other technology tools. Students learn technology basics, internet navigation and safety skills, word processing and presentation skills, research skills and digital citizenship. Students learn not only how to use technology, but also how to handle personal technology choices in ways that honor the Lord.
Each grade in elementary school attends specialists classes each week. Specials include Art class, Music Class, Physical education, STEAM class and Media class.
At New Life we are focused on more than just memorizing facts. Project-based learning (PBL) is one way that students shift their learning from facts, rules and memory to asking questions in order to solve a problem. Each student is exposed to PBL in makerspace time. Additionally, we have a Project-based Learning program to challenge more advanced students.
Block E Award is the highest award a student may earn in the elementary level. The Block “E” award is available to 3-5 grade students and reflect a broad, yet fair, base of participation, achievement and service. The purpose of this award is to recognize well-rounded students who exemplify the qualities outlined in our Portrait of a New Life Academy Graduate.
Christian Character Awards are the recognition of students who display notable Christian character traits through a monthly award presentation during Chapel.
Students in all grades have opportunities to display leadership through Star Student, Class helpers and line leaders, Class officers, Classroom jobs, Buddy learners, Chapel leaders and Student Council. Service is performed in and out of the school through participation in Toys for Tots, Operation Christmas Child, Feed my Starving Children, Hope Christmas store and visiting local Senior Centers.
Discover the learning, development and exploration that happens in each grade.
Child-directed play is a vital component of our Kindergarten program. There is so much power in play! Child-directed play lends towards healthy learning and development for all children. Through play, children learn important social skills such as negotiating, problem solving, inventing and creating. Each day, kindergarteners are able to engage in creative play both inside and outside the classroom.
In kindergarten, we use a balanced literacy program that is research based and strikes a balance between both whole language and phonics. The strongest elements of each are incorporated into a literacy program that aims to guide students toward proficient and lifelong reading. Reader’s Workshop and Writer’s workshop includes the following elements:
- Modeled reading (read alouds)
- Guided reading (small flexible groups)
- Shared reading (working collaboratively through the use of reading strategies)
- Independent reading (read at their own level)
- Word study (sight words)
- Modeled writing (verbalizing thoughts while demonstrating process of writing)
- Shared writing (interactive writing)
- Guided writing (mini lessons and small groups)
- Independent writing
Daily 3 math is used alongside large group instruction. Daily 3 is a framework that allows students to develop deep conceptual understanding and mathematical proficiency. Small group stations are use to allow for differentiation where teachers are able to work in smaller groups on specific topics. Students visit 3 math stations:
- Math writing (practicing number writing and math sentences)
- Math by yourself (working independently on a specific skill)
- Math with a buddy (partner work, games, manipulatives and shared activities)
Bible is integrated throughout the day in all topics. Additionally, there is specific Bible instruction, Bible stories, mini lessons on character, weekly memorization of Bible verses and weekly chapel.
Social studies focuses on civics, governmental institutions and economic reasoning. We teach on important concepts such as why rules exist, why we have authority figures, what it means to be a good friend and citizen and many other social and emotional concepts. Bible is integrated closely with social studies as these concepts are taught through a Biblical perspective.
Kindergarteners have hands-on science activities to explore various topics. Additionally, students have a weekly STEAM class where they work in the makerspace center.
First grade is a year of growth and discovery. Children become independent learners as they build the foundation for future studies.
Reading and Language Arts
Children develop skills in reading comprehension, accuracy, fluency and vocabulary. Each day they have an opportunity to write original stories as well as be instructed in the conventions of good grammar and mechanics. The goal is to develop independent, fluent readers and writers who love to read and write.
Throughout the year students learn numbers to 120, understand place value in the ones, tens and hundreds place and add and subtract to and from 20. The basics of geometry, fractions, telling time, using money and graphing are part of our math program. We teach concepts and then provide manipulatives and activities to deepen comprehension. Children learn to solve word problems and learn to read and use math vocabulary.
History, Geography, Cultures, Economics and Citizenship are covered in Social Studies. History begins with creation as recorded in Genesis. Early North American history begins with the Native Americans and through events and people who led to the Separatists who came to Plymouth in 1620. An awareness of world cultures, continents and oceans in introduced in map work. Children are introduced to saving money and American symbols in Economics and Citizenship.
Science is an inquiry-based hands-on program that engages students in the study of the concepts and practices of science. Three main units of investigation are covered: Pebbles, sand and silt; Balance and Motion; Plants and animals. First graders are required to write up each investigation in a science notebook that reinforces scientific methods and data reporting. As part of our STEAM program, students also have STEAM classes once a week where they work exploratively in the makerspace center.
The principles of God’s Word are part of our whole day in first grade as well as a complete Bible curriculum. Our goal during Bible time is to recognize the character and work of God in our lives and throughout history. We develop Bible study skill by looking up verses in the Bible and by reviewing the Bible stories in our workbook as we read and write vocabulary from the Bible. Students will also learn and recite a weekly Bible verse.
Second graders have a developing sense of independence and ownership of learning. Ideas comes alive and the enthusiasm for learning that we see in the classroom is absolutely contagious. Students are encouraged to explore their creativity through our hands-on activities and projects.
Students develop an understanding of how God tells His great story in the Bible and that His Word is truth. We examine the lives of different heroes found in the Old and New Testament and how they responded in faith and obedience to God’s leading. We become familiar with the books of the Bible by memorizing them and also practicing how to locate verses in the Bible. Students will also memorize weekly Bible verses.
Students develop an interest in history, geography, citizenship, economics, and culture. This is highlighted through their study of the events and circumstances that shaped the formation of a new nation, the United States of America. Throughout History, we look at early explorers, Native Americans and their resourcefulness, the Pilgrims, the Thirteen Original Colonies, the Revolutionary War, the Constitution, and the birth of a new nation.
Reading really becomes exciting for our Second Graders. While foundational skills are still being reinforced at this age, students amaze themselves with their own reading ability and once this has clicked, they develop a voracious appetite for reading, which quickly spreads to others! We use the Daily 5 framework to set up our students for success with this balanced literacy approach.
During their year as a Second Grader, students learn different addition and subtraction strategies so that they can solve problems with greater ease and ultimately begin to memorize these basic addition and subtraction facts until they have become fluent. We also work through finding the place value of numbers to 1,000, as well as adding and subtracting two-digit and three-digit numbers. Time, money, shapes, fractions and probability are all explored.
Our FOSS Curriculum takes a hands-on, exploration approach to learning. Throughout the year, we focus on three main units: Air and Weather, Solids and Liquids, and Plants and Animals. In addition to the numerous projects students work on in these three main units, they also have STEAM class once a week where they work in the makerspace center.
Third Grade classrooms are filled with joyful, high energy, curious learners. We believe that these students learn best through modeled instruction and active, concrete experiences, and our lessons are designed with student needs in mind.
While every New Life classroom raises Jesus to a place of highest honor, 3rd grade has the special privilege of focusing all of our formal Bible instruction on the life of Christ. Weekly memorization of verses are directly related to the Biblical account being studied that week so that a richer and deeper understanding can be obtained.
Third graders at New Life grow in their understanding of traditional elements of Social Studies, including geography, government/citizenship, and economics, but special emphasis is placed on US History during the late 18th and 19th centuries. The year concludes with our “Town Builder” unit, where students work in democratic communities to build and name their very own town.
We want our students to be avid readers and prolific writers who can communicate clearly with the world around them. We use Words Their Way for differentiated spelling instruction that focuses on learning phonics/phoneme patterns instead of simply memorizing words. For Reading instruction we use the Daily Five as an instructional framework, blended with a more traditional reading curriculum (Treasures).
Our goal is that students are fluent in foundational math skills and facts so that they are prepared for the rigor of upper elementary math and science coursework. Third graders will master all basic facts of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division by the end of the school year. Problem solving is also heavily emphasized.
The FOSS science program includes activities that are matched to the way students think at different times in their lives. Students learn science best from direct experiences in which they describe, sort, and organize observations about objects and organisms. Special hands-on investigation activities in the third grade include growing seeds, dissecting owl-pellets, and caring for and observing live crayfish. Students also have weekly STEAM class where they work in makerspaces.
Fourth grade classrooms are filled with critical thinkers and more independent, enthusiastic learners. We believe students work best through the gradual release model of “I do”, “we do”, “you do”. Since our classroom is made up of various learning styles, we create differentiated lessons to help all students grow. We focus on creating a community of learners. It is not uncommon to see our students working together on projects, skits, book clubs, and participating in group discussions.
In 4th grade, students learn about the attributes of God. Each week students study a specific character trait of the Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Since Scripture is the Word of God, students memorize Bible verses that coincide with the weekly attributes of God. In addition to memorizing scripture, students reflect on what they learn throughout the week in a personal Bible journal. This gives them a safe place to express their thoughts and prayers to God.
students learn about the history of the United States, world geography, government, economics, and culture skills, as well as a knowledge of God and Christian character. Each chapter includes practical Biblical integration and helps students reflect on history through a Biblical perspective.
We strive to encourage students to become passionate readers through group discussions and independent reading. We use Daily Five which inspires students to take ownership of their reading by making the choosing Good Fit Books that strengthen and push the growth of their reading. In order to create a reading environment that challenges all students, they participate in individualized novel studies. Daily Five, Being a Writer and Words Their Way are used to strengthen writing, grammar and spelling.
In fourth grade, our goal is for students to use foundational math skills and apply them to more complex concepts. Students continue to work on specifically mastering basic multiplication and division math facts throughout the school year.
The FOSS program activities are matched to the way students think at different times in their lives. Students learn science best from direct experiences in which they describe, sort, and organize observations about objects and organisms. FOSS investigations are carefully crafted to guarantee that the cognitive demands placed on students are appropriate for their cognitive abilities. In addition to classroom science, students have a weekly STEAM class where they work in makerspaces.
Fifth Grade is a time of growth in student responsibility and skills to be successful as they move on to middle school. They learn to become better at making decisions, solving problems, and working in groups. They are developing crucial analytical and critical thinking skills that will become ever more important as they progress in their education.
The focus in fifth grade Bible is to help students make the connection between the stories they’ve learned from the Bible to the gospel message of Jesus Christ, and how this good news changes how they live. We challenge the fifth graders to shift their focus from themselves to God and to join in his kingdom work of redeeming creation. Students write reflective journals and memorize Bible verses to help internalize what they learn so it is not just head knowledge, but also to engage their hearts and apply it to their lives.
The goals of the social studies program are to strengthen students’ knowledge and understanding of God, develop good citizenship through the balanced use of history, geography, government, economics, and cultural skills, present a balanced overview of American and world history, and to promote an understanding and ability to discern connections between major historical events.
We use “Being a Writer” program which helps us create a classroom writing community where our students feel empowered, supported in taking risks, and responsible to themselves and the group. This program weaves cooperative learning, social skill instruction, and discussion of values throughout the writing lessons.
Scott-Foresman-Addison Wesley Envision Math is used to teach math skills and problem solving strategies. We pre-assess before each topic as a way to tailor instruction to each individual learner. Students interact with their teachers and classmates while engaging in problem-based activities. A strong emphasis in fifth grade is placed on operations with decimals, fractions, and algebraic thinking.
We use FOSS Science activities that use hands-on learning and investigating opportunities. Students construct advanced concepts by classifying, testing, experimenting, and determining cause and effect relationships among objects, organisms, and systems, and record and share all their findings in a notebook. We cover Earth Science (soils, rocks, minerals, and landforms), Physical Science (forces, motion and models) and Life Science (environments). In addition to classroom science, students have a weekly STEAM where they work in makerspaces exploring and creating.