BJAMS lower school (K-4th) is dedicated to providing opportunities for learning OUTSIDE the classroom, too.
The Four Winds Nature Program offers monthly natural-science workshops on a variety of topics such as bird nesting, life cycle of trees, migration, hibernation, and other age-appropriate topics. Parent volunteers and students learning and exploring together the nearby natural places is what the Four Winds Nature Program is all about. Each training session includes three components: 1) informational presentations, 2) indoor, and 3) outdoor activities. We try to take advantage of all 50+ acres of interpretive nature trails, woodlands, and fields that comprise the BJAMS campus. With over 40 lessons, the program is divided into sections throughout the school year emphasizing different key science standards. Volunteers work in teams of two or more to bring children outside each month to look, learn and discern. It is the dedication of volunteers – their time and energy – that makes this happen.
Our Community Service Program helps students develop a social conscience. It is intended to bring the values that are taught in class to life in a hands-on experience of learning about and responding to the needs of others.
Each Tuesday and Friday begins with a school-wide morning meeting held in the multipurpose room. This is an opportunity for the entire school community to come together to share upcoming events, news, and awards. Students give speeches about upcoming events in which they are participating, while the Head of School gives out “praise notes” for those who have exemplified the core tenets of our school: charity, kindness, and thoughtfulness. Parents are welcome and encouraged to come.
Our reading buddies program pairs the fifth-grade class with the kindergarten class. The reason behind these pairings is multifold: the kindergarteners benefit because they practice their reading; fostering a love of reading; and for the fifth-graders, it improves reading fluency and confidence. The fifth-grade class visits the kindergarten class where each kindergarten student and his or her fifth-grade buddy read together. The kindergarteners are encouraged to read as much as they can themselves, with the fifth-grader only assisting when they have an issue. This practice instills confidence in the kindergartners and allows the fifth-graders to connect with our younger students, enhancing special bonds and weaving the fibers of unity within our school community.
Our third grade and fourth grade students have the opportunity to further expand upon their music experience by participating in the elective of band. Under the instruction of our band teacher, students expand their exposure to composition music and instruments. Not only are performances are given at the Christmas and Spring Concerts but our band represents the school in local Memorial Day and Fourth of July Parades. Students are able to participate in band through the eighth grade.
Odyssey of the Mind®
Odyssey of the Mind® is an internationally recognized educational program that provides creative problem-solving opportunities for all types of students from kindergarten through college. Students develop team-building skills by working in groups of as many as seven students per team. While having fun, students learn to examine problems to identify the real challenge without limiting the possible solutions or their potential success. For more than twenty-five years, this unique program has helped teachers generate excitement in their students by tapping into creativity and encouraging imaginative paths to solve problems. The creative-thinking process is nurtured and developed as a problem-solving tool. The creative problem-solving process rewards thinking “outside of the box” and allows students to learn skills that will provide them with the ability to solve problems – both great and small – throughout a lifetime. While conventional thinking has an important place in a well-rounded education, students need to learn how to think creatively and productively. Visit http://www.odysseyofthemind.com/ for more information.
Pirates and Princesses Ball
Every February, our wonderful PTO sponsors a Pirates and Princesses Ball for the entire school. The entire school dresses up boys as pirates, girls as princesses, and parents join the festivities too! It’s a Friday night full of music, dancing, and good old-fashioned family fun.
In 2011 and 2012, the PTO was able to bring two residencies, the No String Marionettes and Circus Smirkus, to the school. These residencies allowed our students to be immersed in the creation of a performance from the concept design to thedevelopment of a story line and the eventual production and performance of a show.