SUMMARY

K4-3rd Grade

Explorations is a page-turning adventure through the wonderful world of children’s literature. Explorations books are specially selected to capture imagination, teach deep truths, excite innovation, and explore God’s wonderful world. Our goal is to create delight-filled, hands-on unit studies using the best in childrenʼs literature.

In our unit-study model, each academic activity and hands-on experience is connected to our beautifully illustrated children’s books. Our book list is organized into themed units with specific books for each grade. In 2017-18, we’ll explore stories about tall tale heroes, famous folks, historical events, world geography, special holidays, Black history, whimsical poetry, and funny animals – to name a few.

“Childhood is the time and children’s books are the place for powerful emotions, powerful language, powerful art.” – Betsy Hearne, children’s book reviewer and scholar

DETAILS

Are you looking for a program that:

  • explores the world through beautifully illustrated children’s books?
  • strengthens your child’s written and spoken communication skills?
  • launches learning in the classroom that extends at home?
  • provides self-contained classrooms with gentle structure and academic standards led by trained educators, who create a richly layered learning environment?
  • models how to create discussion-based, hands-on unit studies at home?
  • enables you to teach multiple children using the same curriculum and resources?
  • builds your family legacy as well as your family library?

Exploration Details

Subjects we cover in the classroom and home:

Subjects you add to complete curriculum:

Classroom teachers:

Parents:

Students:

This program is great for:

  • Reading Comprehension
  • Writing Composition
  • Science
  • Social Studies
  • Bible
  • Art
  • Math
  • Phonics/Reading Instruction
  • Handwriting
  • Spelling
  • Grammar
  • Create hands-on learning environments and experiences based on beautifulbooks
  • Inspire imagination through captivating story times
  • Lead lively book discussions
  • Teach writing composition
  • Introduce scientific inquiry
  • Guide social studies discovery
  • Plan assignments to be completed at home and shared in class
  • Craft a classroom community in which students are nurtured and encouraged
  • Receive grade-specific Home Lesson Plans (HLPs) that provide subject-by-subject, hyper-linked unit studies for each book
  • Learn how to use beautiful books to teach and inspire their students in multiple subject areas
  • Create delight-filled learning environments at home
  • Lead discussion-based, activity-focused home lessons
  • Have fun with their children
  • Enjoy the best of children’s literature
  • Participate in a self-contained classroom with an art class
  • Develop teacher and peer relationships based on discovery and delight
  • Strengthen communication skills, love of reading, and understanding of God’s wonderful world
  • Participate in quarterly Explorations Presents! programs
  • Benefit from connected lessons in class and at home
  • Have a lot of fun!
  • Students who love to create and explore
  • Students who need to move, ask questions, and share experiences in order to learn best
  • Parents who want to foster delight-filled learning
  • Parents who want to use beautifully illustrated children’s books as the jumping off point into deeper academic and life lessons
  • Families who want to take weekly adventures by learning together!

OVERVIEW

CLASSROOM-HOME INTEGRATION

We aim to launch learning in the classroom so that it can be connected and expanded at home in the areas of language arts, science, social studies, Bible, and art as inspired by our books. Our grade-specific Home Lesson Plans (HLPs) provide a learning guide for each book, including project ideas, discussion questions, resource hyperlinks, and assignments from classroom teachers.

In the classroom, Explorations students experience group learning activities, themed unit studies, and hands-on action! Our excellent teachers create engaging learning environments and take students on weekly book adventures. Through the HLP, classroom teachers also provide assignments to complete at home and opportunities for students to present what they are learning in class. Each grade level enjoys the delights of learning in a self-contained classroom with a dedicated teacher. We offer Pre-K, Kindergarten, 1st grade, 2nd grade, or 3rd grade classes. [Note: Grade-level divisions may vary depending on student enrollment.]

At home, we invite parents to use our Explorations resources to guide the early elementary years of their children. For each book, parents receive custom-designed, grade-level Home Lesson Plans, which provide subject-by-subject, hyperlinked lessons for each grade. See grade overviews for specific information about what the Explorations program covers (and what it does not).

Through this close connection between classroom and home learning environments, we give students the opportunity to develop communication skills, sharpen critical thinking, and make connections to the world around them.

ART ENRICHMENT

Explorations books are hand-picked for their story content as well as their beautiful illustrations. Visual art and art appreciation are an integral part of our program. At school, 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade rotate into 50-minute art classes, which dive into creative technique and artistic expression. Preschool and Kindergarten enjoy creating art in their classroom setting.

COMMUNICATION SKILLS FOCUS

Our quarterly program – Explorations Presents! – gives students the opportunity to practice their growing communication skills in front of a big audience of parents, grandparents, siblings, and friends. Through Explorations Presents!, we provide all students with the opportunity to practice the communication process in front of an audience. We celebrate each child’s growth and budding confidence!

K4 EXPLORERS PROGRAM

We love offering grade-level classes to Explorations families. However, our class availability is always based on enrollment numbers. Therefore, due to low preschool registration numbers, we will be combining our K4 and Kindergarten Explorations classes this year. One of our most experienced teachers, Mrs. Amy Smith, will be teaching our combined K4-K class. There will also be a dedicated classroom assistant. Our K4-K class will enjoy learning centers, science discovery, literacy and writing readiness activities, art projects, and dramatic play. Home Lesson Plans (HLPs) will include appropriate learning activities and assignments. At home, you are invited to enjoy our K4-K books and select HLP activities for your student. However, since four year olds are welcomed into Circle Christian School as provisional students, there are no required assignments, grades, or record keeping. Note: All K4-K students must be 4 years old by September 1, 2017 and completely toilet trained.

K-3RD GRADE ACADEMIC OPTIONS

Parents may select Explorations as a core academic program or for enrichment only.

If selected for core academics, parents agree to purchase the 2017-18 books and follow the grade-level Home Lesson Plans (HLPs), which cover the following subjects: reading comprehension, writing composition, vocabulary, science, social studies, Bible, and art. Parents wishing to use Explorations to cover core academic subjects select 2-3 assignments per subject area, per book. Depending on a student’s grade level, parents will need to round out language arts by selecting curriculum to teach phonics/reading instruction, handwriting, spelling and grammar. Also, parents are responsible for selecting and teaching a math curriculum. See grade overviews for specific information about what the Explorations program covers (and what it does not).

Families selecting Explorations as enrichment only are welcome to enjoy classes, use Home Lesson Plans ideas, and participate in school activities, but are not able to count Explorations for any core academic subject. Instead, they will need to select and use Circle-approved curriculum covering all areas of language arts, math, science, social studies, and Bible.

We invite you to join Explorations in 2017-18! Together, we will share a delight-filled journey through children’s literature.

CLASSROOM-HOME INTEGRATION

We aim to launch learning in the classroom so that it can be connected and expanded at home in the areas of language arts, science, social studies, Bible, and art as inspired by our books. Our grade-specific Home Lesson Plans (HLPs) provide a learning guide for each book, including project ideas, discussion questions, resource hyperlinks, and assignments from classroom teachers.

In the classroom, Explorations students experience group learning activities, themed unit studies, and hands-on action! Our excellent teachers create engaging learning environments and take students on weekly book adventures. Through the HLP, classroom teachers also provide assignments to complete at home and opportunities for students to present what they are learning in class. Each grade level enjoys the delights of learning in a self-contained classroom with a dedicated teacher. We offer Pre-K, Kindergarten, 1st grade, 2nd grade, or 3rd grade classes. [Note: Grade-level divisions may vary depending on student enrollment.]

At home, we invite parents to use our Explorations resources to guide the early elementary years of their children. For each book, parents receive custom-designed, grade-level Home Lesson Plans, which provide subject-by-subject, hyperlinked lessons for each grade. See grade overviews for specific information about what the Explorations program covers (and what it does not).

Through this close connection between classroom and home learning environments, we give students the opportunity to develop communication skills, sharpen critical thinking, and make connections to the world around them.


ART ENRICHMENT

Explorations books are hand-picked for their story content as well as their beautiful illustrations. Visual art and art appreciation are an integral part of our program. At school, 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade rotate into 50-minute art classes, which dive into creative technique and artistic expression. Preschool and Kindergarten enjoy creating art in their classroom setting.


COMMUNICATION SKILLS FOCUS

Our quarterly program – Explorations Presents! – gives students the opportunity to practice their growing communication skills in front of a big audience of parents, grandparents, siblings, and friends. Through Explorations Presents!, we provide all students with the opportunity to practice the communication process in front of an audience. We celebrate each child’s growth and budding confidence!


K4 EXPLORERS PROGRAM

Our preschoolers enjoy learning centers, science discovery, literacy & numeracy readiness, dramatic play, and art. Enrollment in our K4 Explorers program will result in a wonderful learning experience for your 4-year-old at school and at home. Our goal is for your child to approach Kindergarten with confidence and an enthusiastic love of learning. Note: Children must be 4 years old by September 1, 2017 and completely toilet trained. Class size is limited.


K-3RD GRADE ACADEMIC OPTIONS

Parents may select Explorations as a core academic program or for enrichment only.

If selected for core academics, parents agree to purchase the 2017-18 books and follow the grade-level Home Lesson Plans (HLPs), which cover the following subjects: reading comprehension, writing composition, vocabulary, science, social studies, Bible, and art. Parents wishing to use Explorations to cover core academic subjects select 2-3 assignments per subject area, per book. Depending on a student’s grade level, parents will need to round out language arts by selecting curriculum to teach phonics/reading instruction, handwriting, spelling and grammar. Also, parents are responsible for selecting and teaching a math curriculum. See grade overviews for specific information about what the Explorations program covers (and what it does not).

Families selecting Explorations as enrichment only are welcome to enjoy classes, use Home Lesson Plans ideas, and participate in school activities, but are not able to count Explorations for any core academic subject. Instead, they will need to select and use Circle-approved curriculum covering all areas of language arts, math, science, social studies, and Bible.

We invite you to join Explorations in 2017-18! Together, we will share a delight-filled journey through children’s literature.

EXPLORATIONS CLASSROOM TEACHERS & STAFF

Ruth Brown

Explorations Program Director

Ruth Brown guides the Explorations program by bringing teachers, classrooms, and families together around beautiful children’s literature. She helped create the Explorations program in 2012. Since then, Ruth has encouraged delight and connection as our parent liaison and home curriculum writer. Ruth holds a BA in Communication from Florida State University, minor in Journalism from Florida A&M University, and a MA in Marketing Communication from FSU.

Married for 25 years and mother of six kids ages 17 to 11, including two sets of twins, means there’s never a dull moment in the Brown home. Her children have attended Circle Christian School for seven years. Ruth agrees with Hans Christian Andersen, “Every person’s life is a fairy tale written by God’s fingers.” She is excited to see the stories God will write for us this year in Explorations.

Contact Ruth Brown

Amy Smith

K4-Kindergarten Teacher – Oviedo & Winter Park

Amy Smith has spent over 35 years working with children in early educational settings, enrichment programs, and ministries. She has served on Circle’s teaching staff since 2011, but her story with Circle began many years ago when she homeschooled her daughter. Amy designs her classroom instruction to fully engage students with a variety of hands-on, age- appropriate activities, such as teamwork exercises, making crafts, singing songs, creating games, and dramatic role playing. Amy believes that children’s literature provides vast opportunities to guide students in amazing adventures, heartfelt lessons, and beautiful Biblical truths. She is so thankful to be on this storybook journey with your children.

Contact Amy Smith

Amy Scruby

First Grade Teacher – Oviedo & Winter Park

A charter Explorations parent and a classroom assistant since the program began in 2012, Amy Scruby is now bringing her love of literature and joyful enthusiasm to our first grade classroom. She looks forward to sharing adventures with her students as they travel the world, meet interesting characters, navigate troubled waters, celebrate exploration, and triumph together through the pages of the stories they share. Amy and her husband, Scott, have been married for 19 years and have been homeschooling their two daughters, who attend Circle Christian School, for 5 years. Amy has studied the Orton Gillingham approach to reading, writing, and spelling and is currently using it to successfully remediate her daughter’s challenges with dyslexia. She is excited to partner with parents on their homeschool journey and recognize and encourage each child to discover their unique God-given gifts, strengths, and talents.

Contact Amy Scruby

Ruth Rouchard

Second Grade Teacher – Oviedo & Winter Park

Ruth Rouchard is excited to return to the Explorations classroom to share her love of literature. She looks forward to creating a fun and engaging environment where students feel the delight and joy of the stories they hear. She strongly believes in the power of story and in the value of spring-boarding all learning from that platform. Previously the state representative for a literature-based language arts curriculum, Ruth conducted workshops throughout Florida for homeschooling families, encouraging them in this style of teaching. Married for 24 years, Ruth has four children and has been homeschooling for over 15 years. She and her husband also work with Adventures in Missions, where they travel the world serving as spiritual formation coaches to World Race mission participants. Ruth’s desire is to use the power of story to leave a lasting imprint on the heart of every child.

Contact Ruth Rouchard

Stephanie Walker

Third Grade Teacher – Oviedo & Winter Park

Stephanie Walker’s goal is to delight her students as they read superb children’s literature accompanied by clever activities. She believes this is the best way to learn. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”

Stephanie has a BA in psychology from UCLA as well as a teaching certificate from the Florid Department of Education. For 10 years, she taught third grade at Trace Academy in Orlando. In her spare time, Stephanie enjoys reading mystery novels and biographies. Plus, she is always in training for a half- or full marathon.

Contact Stephanie Walker

Kimberly Jagen

Third Grade Teacher – Oviedo

Kimberly Jagen is excited for the opportunity to move up to third grade Explorations this year. She graduated from Texas Tech University with a degree in Early Childhood Education (Certification Pre-K-6th grade). She has enjoyed a variety of teaching assignments at public schools, private Christian schools, and a homeschool co-op. Kimberly joined the Explorations teaching team three years ago, after moving to Florida with her husband and children. She agrees with Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, who once said, “There are many ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all.”

Contact Kimberly Jagen

Kevin Bartle

Art Teacher – Oviedo & Winter Park

Kevin Bartle’s love of art and God’s amazing design of the world around us began at an early age. He believes that through visual communication children are given a medium to express themselves with freedom, confidence, and creativity. Kevin joined Circle’s teaching staff in 2013. Kevin currently attends Asbury Theological Seminary, where he is pursuing a Master’s of Divinity. Kevin believes that art always tells a story, from the comedic, thoughtful drawings of Charles Shultz to the picturesque paintings of Norman Rockwell. Because Explorations books are chosen for their richness in illustration, Kevin uses each book as inspiration to help his art students create their own masterpieces. His hope is that by the end of the year students have a gallery of art to proudly display and call their own.

Contact Kevin Bartle

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