Clapham’s Explorers classes correspond to traditional pre-school and kindergarten-age classes. These youngest students are introduced to the habits of learning as well as the building blocks of reading, writing and arithmetic. The habit of attention begins to grow here as students learn to listen well and follow instruction. They learn to attend to the little things, like pushing in their chair, cleaning up their workspace, holding the door for another student. Students are encouraged to raise their hands to speak and to listen respectfully to their teacher and fellow students.
Disciplinary subject are begun with enthusiasm, and math is approached with an eye to the basics of addition and subtraction, shapes and money. Students in Explorers I develop in the area of writing, so oral mental math lessons begin here. Reading begins as students encounter the 70 phonemes of the English language and begin to put them together as words. Even at these young ages, fluency is encouraged, as is reading with good expression. Penmanship skills increase in Explorers II, and a multi-sensory approach is used that includes sky-writing to get large motor skills involved. The habits of careful and beautiful work are encouraged.
At every opportunity, teachers inspire their students with beauty. In keeping with our Charlotte Mason philosophy, these students are exposed to lovely books with living ideas and rich vocabulary. They participate in Nature Study, Picture Study and Composer Study, as well as the study of classic children’s poetry. On any given day, you might find these students reciting a Christina Rossetti poem, dancing to a ballet of Tchaikovsky, imitating a Degas piece or painting a coneflower. Their eagerness to first listen and then discuss The Magician’s Nephew is contagious.
Even as young Explorers, these Clapham students come to know a bit of the true, good and beautiful. In addition, teachers who know and love Christ shepherd these young ones to see who is the True truth, goodness and beauty.