Beginners

Our Beginners program is flexible and encourages independence, yet is structured around well-defined routines and expectations. Our goal is to develop positive social skills by helping each child to be resourceful so that s/he can work and play alone and with other children.

Learning experiences include dramatic play and creating with paints, clay, blocks, and other materials. The daily program includes the use of tools (scissors, paint brushes, crayons, pencils, shovels, etc.) and outdoor space and equipment. In most activities we place an emphasis on process rather than product. We encourage children to learn by developing questions and investigating their environment. The program helps children increase their understanding of themselves, others, and the world around them.
 



About Beginners

List of 8 items.

  • Beginners' Thematic Studies: Topics of Interest to Young Learners

    Our Beginners Program is flexible and encourages independence, yet is structured around well-defined routines and expectations. Our goal is to develop positive social skills by helping each child to be resourceful so that he/she can work or play alone and with other children.

    Learning experiences include dramatic play and creating with paints, clay, blocks, and other materials. The daily program includes the use of tools (scissors, paint brushes, crayons, pencils, shovels, etc.) and outdoor space and equipment. In most activities we place an emphasis on process rather than product. We encourage children to learn by developing questions and investigating their environment. The program helps children increase their understanding of themselves, others, and the world around them.
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  • Language Arts in Beginners

    The Beginners program strives to create a literacy-rich environment, which fosters curiosity and a love of reading and writing. This is done through constant exposure to books and environmental print and opportunities for informal and teacher-directed writing. Language activities are designed to lay the groundwork for developing skills in listening, following directions, reading readiness, communicating with others, and creative thinking.
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  • Mathematics in Beginners

    The goal of our mathematics program in Beginners, and across grade levels in the Lower School, is to help children construct their own mathematical knowledge. We do this through meaningful learning experiences in which they solve problems, reason about their mathematical thinking, communicate their thinking in written and oral forms, and explore multiple representations. We encourage children’s interest in mathematics while building their confidence and strengthening their skills. We see mathematics as an integral part of children’s daily learning experiences at school. There is a strong emphasis on helping children see connections between their work in mathematics and real-life situations.  
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  • Science in Beginners

    Science is a regular part of every Beginner’s day. Children are encouraged to actively explore and share their ideas about the natural and physical world around them. Activities are hands-on and project-based. They reinforce student interests and support and extend ideas being explored in the classroom.
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  • Library in Beginners

    (One 30-minute class per week)

    Beginners visit the library in half groups. The librarian reads (and sings!) a variety of stories on a single theme with a focus on use of language, including rhythm, writing style, and word play. An emphasis is also placed on understanding the relationship between illustrations and text. Throughout the year the librarian will choose an author to focus on, looking at common illustration style and elements among the books. Children have an opportunity to choose books from the shelves and share them with each other, or ask a librarian to read to them.
     
  • Music in Beginners

    (Two 30-minute classes per week)

    In the Beginners music curriculum, students are exposed to and immersed in a wide variety of musical experiences including singing, dancing, listening, and playing age-appropriate rhythm instruments.

    Students are introduced to the tremendous cultural diversity in music by learning songs in different languages and listening to selections from different cultures. As the year progresses they become familiar with basic musical concepts and terms such as fast/slow, high/low, soft/loud and, major/minor.

    As in the other grades, repertoire is prepared for weekly lower school assemblies, as well as holidays and special events, including Thanksgiving, Winter Holiday, Black History, May Day, and Closing Day.
     
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  • Movement Education in Beginners

    (Two 30-minute classes per week.)

    Movement Education in Beginners helps children to develop personally, socially, and cognitively through a variety of movement activities. Students are presented with various locomotor, non-locomotor, and manipulative skills, and are introduced to movement concepts that incorporate spatial awareness, levels, and patterns. 
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  • The Larger School Community

    Beginner classes take walks around campus to collect leaves, look for shapes, and make special deliveries. Through our Fifth Grade Partners program and whole-school community gatherings, relationships are established with other students throughout the school. By the end of the year, the children feel very much a part of the whole school.

Beginners Faculty

List of 9 members.

  • Maggie Beasley 

    B Gradehead
    Providence College - B.A.
    Lesley University - M.Ed.
  • Caitlin Jackson 

    B Gradehead
    Connecticut College - B.A.
    Lesley University - M.Ed.
    TTC '14
  • Rico Marino 

    Physical Education Teacher
    Keene State University - Bachelor's
    Keene State University - M.Ed.
  • Pam Maryanski 

    B Gradehead
    Smith College
    Pace University - M.S.
  • Heidi McCune 

    Physical Education Teacher
    California University of Pennsylvania - M.S.
    Loyola Marymount University - B.A.
  • Brendan Murphy 

    PE Teacher
    University of New Hampshire - B.S.
  • Laura Ryan 

    B Gradehead
    Wesleyan University - B.A.
    Lesley University - M.Ed.
  • Victoria Solomon 

    Librarian
    Brandeis University - B.A.
    Simmons College - M.L.S.
  • Heather Stewart 

    Music Teacher
    University of Colorado - BA in Music
    Harvard University - Ed.M.
This is more than a school — it's a beginning.
If Shady Hill is the right place for your child, there's no better place to start.
617.520.5260        178 Coolidge Hill    Cambridge MA 02138