Academics

ACADEMICS

Our Program

At KGMS, we teach the way your child learns. We believe that every child is unique, and rather than requiring him or her to fit within a rigid, pre-determined program we create a learning environment that’s adaptive, producing the best possible circumstances for success.

Our students work in a dynamic classroom setting that includes whole class, small group and one-on-one tutoring. Instruction and activities are conducted with a student-teacher ratio of 5:1. Ministry of Education prescribed curriculum is addressed in all instructional areas from Grades 1 – 7.

what is orton-gillingham?

At KGMS our tutors and teaching staff are trained in the Orton-Gillingham Method. Orton-Gillingham is an instructional approach intended primarily for use with persons who have difficulty with reading, spelling, and writing. It is most properly understood and practiced as an approach, not a method, program, system or technique. In the hands of well-trained and experienced instructors such as we have at KGMS, it is a powerful tool of exceptional breadth, depth, and flexibility.

The essential curricular content and instructional practices that characterize the KGMS Approach are derived from two sources: first from the extensive research and practice surrounding both OG instruction and other effective methodology for working with students; and, secondly from our own specific experience of over forty years observing how children learn to read and write and why a significant number have difficulty in doing so. Our staff members have a clear understanding of how having dyslexia makes achieving literacy skills more difficult and which instructional practices are best suited for each individual child.

The Orton-Gillingham Approach is most often associated with a one-on-one tutor-student instructional model. However, its use in small group instruction is not uncommon. A successful adaptation of the approach has demonstrated its value for class-room instruction. Reading, spelling, and writing difficulties have traditionally been the dominant focus of the approach although it has been successfully adapted for use with students who exhibit difficulty with mathematics.

whole child development

Academic excellence is what our staff strive for all our students. Our students grow intellectually through our comprehensive programming in humanities and sciences. In language arts our students, through guided reading and writing strategies, learn to connect with the world through texts, to analyze, evaluate, synthesize ideas and draw conclusions. In mathematics and science, our students learn through problem solving to understand concepts and to become critical and divergent thinkers. Creativity grows as our staff guide students to investigate and explore the world around us.

At Kenneth Gordon Maplewood School we know that learning is not just about academics. In addition to the balanced approach we take through the arts, physical activity and community service, we place a major emphasis on Social-Emotional Learning.

Our students explore relationships with their peers, raise their self-confidence and improve their interpersonal skills. In addition, our professional counsellors help them to reflect on such issues as bullying, body image, and healthy living.

multi-sensory approach

With this multi-sensory method, students engage themselves as visual, auditory and kinesthetic learners. The learning sequence is systematic and takes the student step by step from basic concepts that progress to more complex language developments. Through recognizing phonemes and their sounds, students learn to transfer this knowledge to reading and writing activities.

Students internalize their learning and gain confidence in themselves as being capable learners. Students learn at their own pace and benefit from the frequent review and practice that is required. They build the confidence that will enable them to attempt a challenge and reach for higher heights as a learner.

Beyond Academics

Children with learning disabilities often excel in other avenues, including the creative arts and hands-on activities. Unfortunately, the public school system is not adequately equipped to recognize and encourage these talents. At KGMS, we develop the whole child. Part of this process includes a range of extracurricular activities that allow our students to experience success, often in ways they never knew they were capable of.

Artistically inclined

Upon your first visit to KGMS, you will be greeted by the student art work which lines our hallways. We operate a residency program in partnership with local artists and also with Emily Carr University(ECU). Professional artists work with our students in different media such as painting, drawing and sculpture, often with a particular theme or artist as inspiration. Senior students from ECU come and work with our students to co-create specific projects; our students contribute by giving their unique perspectives on the topics.

The children hone their skills as they work towards a classroom exhibition, which parents are invited to enjoy.

physical activity

Physical activity also plays a major role in whole-child development. In addition to regularly-scheduled PE classes, student teams play in sports tournaments throughout the year, including our annual student-teacher hockey game which draws a cheering crowd of friends and family.

We have a 3 day outdoor school where the children are able to experience community building.

The role of parents at kgms

Making the transition out of public school can be intimidating for parents, as well as students. We understand that this can be a difficult time and we make every effort to ensure that you’re not alone in your decision. KGMS provides a supportive network that guides parents through their child’s transfer. We help parents understand their child’s learning disability and develop skills to foster their growth.

At KGMS, our goal is to help the whole family. We hold monthly parent workshops with topics ranging from dyslexia to educational tax deductions. Many of our workshops are conducted by faculty members or other parents. We encourage all of our parents to have an active role in their child’s learning, and we create volunteer opportunities for parents to become involved in day-to-day school activities. The door is always open to our teachers and tutors, and parents receive regular updates on their child’s progress. They are even consulted during the development of their child’s Individualized Education Plan.

We find that many parents arrive at KGMS when nothing else has worked, when their child is still struggling at school and no tutors or teachers have been able to alleviate the tears and frustration that accompany nightly homework. We recognize how hard this can be on the whole family and we invite you to consider an alternative. One visit to KGMS and you will see why students and parents alike are enjoying school once again.

KGMS parent council

At KGMS we are blessed with a highly active and supportive parent council. In addition to organizing various events and fundraising initiatives, the PAC takes an active role in Parent Education; Home-School Communication; and, parent support.

The Council organises regular coffee mornings, guest speakers, evening lectures, and helps to ensure that the ideas and suggestions raised by members of the parent body are actively shared with the school.

They are valued partners in serving our students!