Cheyenne was established in response to community desire to have a "back to basics" or traditional school. The core philosophy is academics and less pull out from class time. At Cheyenne, learning and maximum class time go hand in hand. Cheyenne administrators researched other traditional schools in the valley and modeled Cheyenne's curriculum from the schools. At the forefront of the traditional school curriculum are the Spalding Language Arts and Saxon Mathematics programs. Spalding provides students with a total language approach with its integrates instruction in listening, speaking, spelling, writing, and reading. The Saxon philosophy believes that the most effective way for students to learn is through gentle development of concepts and the practice of those concepts extended over a considerable period of time. These two programs are essential building blocks for the foundation of teaching language arts and mathematics through a traditional model.
Each class is teacher directed, yet student focused. Cheyenne stresses participation and support for the school's philosophy from each family. Parents enrolling their children at Cheyenne sign an Informed Statement of Support for the programs offered at Cheyenne.
The Saxon Mathematics program is designed with two learning methods at its core: incremental development and continual review. Incremental development is the introduction of topics in easily understandable pieces (increments), permitting the assimilation of one facet of a concept before the next facet is introduced. Continual review is simply that; all previously learned material is reviewed in every lesson for the entire year. Topics are never dropped, but are instead increased in complexity and practiced every day. Continual review provides the time required for concepts to become totally familiar.
The Saxon philosophy believes that the most effective way for students to learn is through gentle development of concepts and the practice of those concepts extended over a considerable period of time. As concepts become familiar and the requisite skills become automated, learning becomes a game at which students can succeed and through which they find satisfaction and self-worth. More importantly, the automation of fundamental skills frees students' minds to consider the concepts on a more abstract level.
(Visit the Saxon Publishers website for examples and information at: www.saxonpub.com)
Spalding Language Arts
The Spalding Method is the center of the language arts program at Cheyenne. Spalding provides students with a total language approach because it integrates instruction in listening, speaking, spelling, writing, and reading.
Listening and speaking instruction begin immediately as phonograms are introduced. Children are seeing, hearing, repeating and writing the sounds they are taught. Spelling instruction is given by using the phonograms to sound out each word. Children hear the phonograms and repeat their sounds as they write them to form words. The Spalding Method for learning to spell is both visual and auditory and shows the students how phonograms are represented in each word. Handwriting instruction is also integrated into the multi-sensory process of learning how to spell. Students are taught precisely how to form each letter.
Another component of the Spalding Method is writing instruction. Writing instruction is critical because it reinforces word meanings, applies knowledge of English rules, teaches higher-level thinking and enhances analytical reading. Learning to revise and critically analyze their own writing provides students with skills that increase their understanding. Creativity improves during the writing process because students are free to concentrate on the message rather than handwriting and spelling that are taught at another time. Instruction begins with learning the critical attributes of sentence construction and the application of spelling and language rules. Students are provided with direct instruction and time to practice the elements of narrative and informative paragraphs.
Teacher directed instruction in reading comprehension is also a component of the Spalding Method. Students learn to enjoy quality literature and analyze the characteristics that make a piece of writing exemplary. During reading comprehension instruction, students learn that authors have different purposes for writing and ways of organizing their ideas. The importance of direct instruction in reading comprehension is that it fosters a love of reading and teaches the mental actions needed for organizing the content being read. Fundamental comprehension skills include the student's ability to make connections, predict, summarize and reformat information.
The philosophy of the Spalding Method focuses on the whole child. The visual, auditory, and kinesthetic activities in each lesson provide students with the opportunity to learn through many different channels. This multi-sensory approach is designed specifically to enhance retention of information learned.
(Visit the Spalding website for more information at: www.spalding.org)