The elementary grades at GCS are when our commitment to 21st-century teaching methods truly come to the fore. While many people may associate that term with cutting-edge technology, it is really quite a bit more. Twenty-first-century teaching is an approach that aims to enhance the classic lecture-and-test model of education. While that model places an emphasis on memorization of facts and dates and equations, 21st-century learning gives students the tools to find answers themselves in an effort to more effectively retain the information.
Several techniques help make this possible: First, teachers employ project-based learning (PBL) where appropriate. The Buck Institute for Education defines PBL as students gaining knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to an authentic, engaging and complex question, problem, or challenge.
Similarly, inquiry plays a key role in instruction at GCS. For example, rather than the teacher lecturing on a specific topic, students are given an activity in which they discover the intended subject matter or concept. By coming to the conclusion themselves, students are more likely to retain the desired concept or idea.
Readers workshops, writers workshops, and daily personalized learning centers in math and science also play a role in the elementary experience. In addition, teachers employ an activity called student voice-and-choice, in which students are encouraged to ask questions to advance learning beyond the material covered in the classroom. For example, a classroom lecture may discuss the origins of World War II, but voice-and-choice gives student an opportunity express what's on their mind and deepen their understanding of key ideas and facts.
Granger Christian School operates one class for each grade level, with two classes in kindergarten and fifth grade. The average class size is approximately 20 students. Elementary students also take part in fine arts and music courses, which culminate each semester with a drama/musical presentation.