Fostering a Love for Learning & the Lord in Young Minds

At Baptist Prep, a distinctively Christian and academically excellent education begins early with our young students. This month, we highlight some of the unique, engaging learning that happens in first and second grade.

“We use differentiated instruction to reach every student," shared Grace Gorman, Baptist Prep First Grade Teacher. "I love teaching first grade at Baptist Prep because I enjoy helping students transition from Kindergarten to first grade and watching them grow into who God has created them to be. Coming alongside parents and students to help them achieve their goals is a rewarding experience. Also, getting a front-row seat in seeing students figure out who God made them to be is a joy. They gain independence in faith and learning throughout first grade, as we have the amazing job of planting seeds in their hearts and watching them grow.”

At Baptist Prep, teachers are certified in Orton Gillingham, which views the student as an individual and implements a multi-sensory approach to phonics to achieve comprehension. Through daily rotations, one-on-one instruction, and small groups, students learn to blend phonemes, strengthen phonics skills, and grow in vocabulary and spelling. Also, penmanship and writing skills are emphasized.

“First grade is the starting point to who a child is going to be, and I enjoy being a part of that and watching their determination,” shared Laney Kelley, Baptist Prep First Grade Teacher. “I also love that first grade introduces writing independence and freedom. I love watching their writing grow as their ideas come to life. A huge foundation in first grade is formed, both academically and spiritually, and I love watching them grow in both.”

Language is further strengthened through oral presentations, including scripture memorization/recitation and writing projects, such as the year-end creative writing project when first-grade students will share

First Grade: Lewis and his dad Kirk, a C130 Instructor Pilot, pose during the first grade Career Day as students learned about different jobs.

with Kindergarteners.

First-grade students learn concepts for math and reinforce fact fluency through interactive, hands-on activities and games. Classrooms rich in technology help support learning for each student. In science, plant life cycles are explored through planting seeds and making discoveries as they grow. All of this and more prepare first-grade students to move into second grade confidently.

“Newly implemented this year, second grade is departmentalized, allowing each teacher to dive deeper with students in their content areas,” shared Amy Somers, Baptist Prep Lower School Principal. “Students benefit from working in smaller specialized groups that allow for more thorough, differentiated instruction which accelerates individual academic

Second Grade: Key projects that reinforce learning throughout the year for second grade include the Community Building project in Heritage Studies where students worked in groups to design and construct an open-concept diorama.

growth. Teachers work together to create cross-curricular lessons that help meet standards for different subjects.”

One of the goals for second-grade students is to foster a love for reading. The Reading Bucket List is a constructed system that allows students to have more variety in their reading, opportunities to discuss texts, and be introduced to a wide range of types of reading that they otherwise may not have been exposed to. This encourages students to build a greater interest in reading and allows teachers to have meaningful and personal conversations about literature. Each quarter, students are given an opportunity to respond creatively to what they’ve been reading.

“I enjoy fostering a love for reading in my students,” shared Taylor Kestner, Baptist Prep Second Grade Teacher. “What an honor it is not only to continue building on foundational reading skills from Kindergarten and first grade but to encourage students to keep building their reading stamina and developing their comprehension skills. It is exciting to be a part of the beginning stages of teaching students to read, understand, rightly interpret, and apply God’s written Word.”

Key grade-level projects that reinforce learning throughout the year include Community Building in Heritage Studies, where students worked in groups to design and construct an open concept diorama. For Veteran’s Day, second-grade students

Second grade readers!

will explore how God gave us natural resources, and they will use what they learn to create pop-up landforms, postcards, and travel brochures. For science, students are creating an interactive lab notebook that centers around science process skills and the steps of the scientific method. For the fall writing project, second-grade students studied Isaiah 40:8 then created a Fall tree with colored pumpkin seeds.

These projects and many more like them continue to build into and grow our first and second-grade students at Baptist Prep and further our mission to glorify God by assisting families in the Christ-centered, biblically-directed education of their children.