The Little Oaks program is the Neumann School term for kindergarten. The Little Oaks program is important in preparing our students for the rigorous classical curriculum of our Lower School. It provides an intellectual and moral foundation for the classical education they receive in later years but uses teaching methods particularly suited to small children. We work to help our little scholars develop appropriate work habits while fostering their delight and joy in learning.
The primary grades (Little Oaks through grade 3) use the Horizons math series, an accelerated mathematics program. Horizons introduces and reinforces concepts, leading to the mastery of mathematical content.
Reading instruction begins in the Little Oaks program. Students study phonics and develop their sight word vocabulary to learn how to become fluent readers. Spelling and handwriting instruction begin in earnest at this stage. Children also memorize psalms and poetry to cultivate their ear for language. Finally, we have an extensive read-aloud collection to foster the habit of reading and lifelong love of the written word.
- First Start Reading: Phonics, Reading, & Printing, Books A, B, C, & D (Memoria Press)
- Primary Phonics Readers, Sets 1, 2, & 3 (Educators Publishing Service)
- Faith and Freedom Basic Readers, pre-primer, primer, & first grade reader (Ginn and Company, reprinted by Seton Press)
The students of the Little Oaks program engage in nature study using a Charlotte Mason approach. Aspects of this approach include keeping nature journals and recording their observations from nature walks and field trips. They also bring specimens back into the classroom for further study. The children observe and explore God’s creation through the use of their senses. A library of children’s science books supplements the teacher-guided exploration of the natural world.
History & Geography
The Little Oaks are exposed to historical and geographical concepts. They study timelines to understand the ordering of basic historical events such as birth of Christ. Students learn through fictionalized accounts of past cultures and through biographies. They are exposed to the major civilizations (e.g., Roman, Greek, Aztec, Chinese). They work with maps and globes and learn the names of oceans and continents.
Art & Art History
The children learn about important artists (e.g., Fra Angelico and Michelangelo) and their works. We teach them about the life of a major artist and allow them to study several of his paintings or sculptures. We also introduce the children to select works by other artists as appropriate to the time of year using Memoria Press art cards.
Beginning in Little Oaks, children receive music instruction according to the Ward Method developed by Justine Ward in the 1920s. Children will learn to hear music intelligently and to sight read. Children learn musical notation, pitch matching, and good vocal technique. By singing sacred music, including Gregorian chant, we expose students to the beauty of the Catholic Church’s liturgy.
In addition to singing in our Ward music program, the children learn about important Western classical composers (e.g., Bach and Mozart). We read biographical books and listen to their musical works. The children discuss the music and begin to form their appreciation for these great compositions.
Little Oaks children participate in a class introducing them to French language three days per week, which incorporates music, games, and interactive learning.
Catechesis and Religion
Children participate weekly in the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program, an instructional method well-suited to young minds. They learn to about salvation history and the life of Christ through daily readings from the Golden Press Bible for children. The children also study the lives of the saints through read-aloud books. Children say prayers in Latin and English on a daily basis.