Curriculum and Learning
At HPDS, we strive to build a meaningful learning experience that meets the needs of a wide variety of learning styles and interests. All programs are based in sound research and reflect the best practices from a range of curricula and methodologies. The core skills of Reading, Writing and Math, are taught through individualized programs with 1-to-1 instruction. Our Interdisciplinary Units are built using Ontario Curriculum expectations, the principles of 21st Century Skills development, Project Based Learning methodologies, and the integrated concepts of STEM learning. Working collaboratively, our team builds inquiry units for each of our three age groups. As an additional element, to round out the program and teach to the whole child, we include explicit lessons and activities based around character development and mindfulness. Students regularly engage in conversations and projects centred on friendship, empathy and respect (to name a few).
Academics: Reading and Writing
A strong foundation in the core language subjects are essential for success in school, and in life. We support Reading and Writing skill development with individualized programs that develop areas in need of remediation and enrich areas of strength. Students work with a diverse selection of resources that have been carefully chosen for them, ensuring that the work is always challenging enough to make continuous progress. Reading programs may consist of vocabulary development, spelling, phonics, reading comprehension and oral fluency. Tailored writing programs include grammar, composition and hand writing. Students practice and apply the learned language skills during project work at their specific level, always striving to achieve their potential. Support and instruction in language is given on a 1-to-1 basis.
We proudly use the Jump Math program that was developed here in Toronto and follows the Ontario Curriculum. Students work through an individualized program at their own level; students can slow down to ensure they develop deep understanding of concepts, or they can move ahead to make sure they are adequately challenged. The Jump Math approach combines guided discovery, explicit instruction, practice and assessment and it's efficacy is supported by research. What we like most about the Jump Math program is that all students experience success which leads to greater confidence and engagement. Our students truly love math!
Project Based Learning (PBL)
Project Based Learning (PBL) is an exciting instructional model that engages students in meaningful projects with real-life applications. Theme units of student begin with a proposed problem, challenge or project that students work towards. Deep understanding of curricular content becomes a necessity for students to solve the problem or complete the project successfully, while the emphasis remains on development of cognitive skills. Students are invested in their projects and rigour remains high as they work to the deadline to deliver the solution or product to an authentic audience.
Project Based Learning implicitly develops 21st Century Skills through meaningful interdisciplinary project work. Knowledge is applied and skills are developed through inquiry that has context and purpose. Project Based Learning allows our teachers to engage all students, addressing both their preferred learning styles and natural academic abilities. Students have the opportunity to work outside the classroom with members of our community and with industry experts to come up with real solutions. Through Project Based Learning students develop a love of learning as they see purpose in all of the work they do.
21st Century Skills
International leaders and think-tanks agree: In order to keep pace and be successful in today's modern, digital world, students need to develop "21st Century Skills".
At High Park Day School we provide a rich and cohesive curriculum that builds these essential skills while students develop deep and meaningful understanding of content knowledge.
Our 21st Century classrooms foster:
- Critical Thinking
- Creativity and Innovation
- Technology Literacy
Social and Emotional Education
We believe that the social and emotional needs of a child are just as important as intellectual needs and require consideration and support to help students achieve success. Character Education and mindfulness therefore have both explicit and implicit roles in our curriculum. Programs incorporate themes of friendship, respect, open-mindedness and community. We also take time throughout our day to practice mindfulness activities to help remain calm and focussed. Students who require additional help to work through social and emotional challenges find support through understanding and caring teachers who assist students in developing the skills they need.
Media and Technology Literacy
Technology is integrated into all aspects of our program predominantly through the use of iPads. Students develop the skills needed to become ethical digital citizens in a technology-based society. Our students learn how to use technology as a tool for creation, research and to connect meaningfully and responsibly with others.
Amazing things happen when students are given the right tools and the opportunity to create and innovate with limitless imagination. The ‘Maker Movement’ is an important addition to 21st Century education and will have an important impact on our future as students learn the importance of creating versus consuming. At HPDS, student have regular ‘Maker’ classes as part of our STEM program and have access to 3D Printers, computers and electronics, hand tools, and a variety of other materials that allow them to become creative innovators. Students are also provided opportunities to learn to code – an important new literacy for digital natives.
Education in the Arts is essential to fostering 21st Century Skills. At HPDS we value the importance that the Arts plays in developing critical thinking and problem solving skills, and the association with academic gains in Math, language and verbal skills. Drama, music, dance and visual arts allow our students to connect more deeply with their world as they learn to see it in a new way, and discover new ways to communicate through artistic expression.