Our goal at Shepherd of the Desert is to nurture children in a loving environment and to provide each child with a positive introduction to formal education in a Christian setting. We believe a positive first school experience is crucial for laying the foundation for all future educational success. Therefore, we provide an encouraging atmosphere which supports individual growth and development.
We believe that each child is a unique gift of God. Our approach to learning involves the whole child and recognizes that each one develops at his or her own pace. We take pride in providing an environment that is safe, loving and rich in opportunities for learning and growth through age-appropriate, hands-on activities.
Our student/teacher ratios are kept well below state licensing regulations in order to provide the best opportunity for academic and social success. Our teachers and other staff members model God's love as they teach, support and encourage the little ones who enter our classrooms each day.
We believe that play and learning go hand-in-hand and that they are not separate activities. Therefore, our classrooms are center-based with a curriculum that supports a balance of student-directed and teacher-directed activities. Our goal is to help students become life long learners who are competent socially, academically and emotionally.
In all of our classrooms we use research-based curriculum and have monthly curriculum themes as well. Daily lessons and concepts are augmented with children's literature, non-fiction books and online learning sites.
In addition, every day in our classrooms we have the privilege to read the Bible and share stories with the children during "Jesus Time." Each week a new story from the Bible is presented to the children along with crafts, songs and finger plays which make the story come alive. We are so blessed to be able to share Jesus with the little ones in our classrooms.
Two & Three Year Olds
Our two and three year old programs focus on social development, classroom skills and executive functions and inspire children to foster a curiosity for the world around them. The research-based curriculum used in our two's and three's classes is called HighReach Learning. HighReach is based on the belief that children learn best by building on the knowledge that they already have about a concept and then further developing their awareness by engaging with people and things in their environment. Using this curriculum, children are involved in hands-on experiences, real-life adventures, and assisted discovery as they explore concepts through play.
In addition, our monthly themes allow children the opportunity to explore their creativity and independence through art, music, and dramatic play. The center-based approach allows children the opportunity to grow at their own pace academically and socially in a classroom with strong christian role models.
Four Year Olds and K-Prep
Our four year old program and our K-Prep program are designed to prepare your child for Kindergarten. Our four year old program is for those students who have completed a three year old class. Our K-Prep program is open to children who have completed a four year old class and desire an additional year of learning before entering Kindergarten. Both classes focus on the various learning styles and promote growth through the joy of discovery. Children are both nurtured and challenged as they move toward greater independence.
In our four year old and K-Prep classrooms we use the research-based curriculum Saxon Early Learning. This program incorporates the eight key instructional elements; language development, literacy, mathematics, science, creative arts, approaches to learning, and physical health and development. It also emphasizes activities that cultivate children's social, personal, and emotional development. Saxon Early Learning provides instruction that moves children from an understanding of their personal experiences to an appreciation of the world around them to build strong links between the school, the family, and the community.
In addition, we incorporate monthly themes to allow children the opportunity to explore their creativity and independence through art, music, and dramatic play. Daily lessons and concepts are augmented with children's literature, non-fiction books and online learning sites.
Every week our students have the opportunity to experience learning outside of the normal classroom routine. Each week our students congregate in the church to sing songs and hear God's Word in a chapel service led by one of our pastors, a group of peers, a school administrator or special visitor.
In addition, two year old's through K-Prep have a special music teacher who comes to visit every-other week to teach songs, finger plays and allows the students to experiment with instruments and movement activities.
On weeks opposite of music, three year olds through K-Prep have the pleasure of experiencing books and concepts through movement taught by our movement teacher who teaches yoga and leads activities that require students to work with one another to complete a task -- fun and collaborative!
Lastly, we have a Spanish teacher who comes each week to work with our three-year old through K-Prep students. The progress that the students make throughout the year is amazing.