Primer & Alpha Learning Groups: Approximately 5-7 years old
We have designed our program so that families and teachers can work hand-in-hand in order to best meet the developmental needs of our youngest students. We strive to foster the gifts inherent in each child. We believe children are born curious learners, and our desire is to partner with parents, as the primary educator, to tap into that natural curiosity.
Our amazing Primer and Alpha teachers bring out each child’s love of learning by giving them a vast array of experiences in a hands-on environment. Students are immersed in literacy (language arts) and numeracy (math) education. Students explore letters and sounds and begin to make sense of written language with a strong phonics program. The goal for Primer students is to decode simple words on their own and read at a beginner level. In Alpha, the goal is for students to read at an advanced beginner level. Additionally, students begin growing comfortable with number concepts such as counting, ordering, and identifying number patterns. Through a variety of teaching methods such as the use of centers, one-on-one time, small groups, large group learning, and projects, students develop these important emerging reading and mathematical skills.
Using quality literature as a launching point, students explore various topics and concepts in science and social studies, through exploration, guided play, and hands-on activities. Art instruction, music, and sometimes even theater activities are also used to enhance student learning, and are often directly related to the lessons and topics that are being explored in their core classes.
As the weeks progress, your child’s teacher will get to know each student and their God-given gifts, interests, and talents. We work hard to ensure that your child will thrive in our joy-filled classrooms each week. Your child will be known, loved, cared for, encouraged, and challenged in their Primer and Alpha classrooms.
Frequently Asked Questions
What do Primer and Alpha mean? What are learning groups?
HighPoint uses unique learning group names to differentiate each learning level. Students in Primer are typically ages 5 or 6 and are HighPoint’s youngest participants. We require students to be at least 5 years old and ready to learn to read to enter Primer. Students in Alpha are typically 6 or 7 and are ready to master first-grade level work.
We recognize that all children do not learn at the same pace and because of this, we group students together by their readiness to learn and their social level rather than simply by age.
What is the average class size for the Primer and Alpha learning groups?
The Primer and Alpha classes are capped at 14 students with an average class size of 12 students.
What does an on-campus day look like for a student in early elementary?
The Primer and Alpha learning groups are self-contained, meaning that they have one main teacher who they are with for the majority of their day. The early elementary teacher covers all of the basic educational subjects – language arts, math, social studies, science, art, music, and other creative electives using many methods including hands-on activities, centers, direct instruction, and more. Because students have one main teacher throughout the day, the subjects will often be blended and taught with a theme that is based on a unit study or literature. So even in their art and play, students are learning.
What curricular resources does HighPoint use for Primer and Alpha?
Because our overall curriculum is focused on skills and concepts rather than being textbook-driven, our teachers use multiple educational resources. Our teachers spend a lot of time reviewing curriculum to find the best possible way to teach the concepts that our students need to learn. Besides helping create a solid foundation, it is a springboard for hands-on activities, projects, and experiments in class. This list is not exhaustive but gives a general idea of what we utilize:
Primer – Singapore Essential Kindergarten Math, All About Reading, Universal Handwriting, and for social studies and science, Five in a Row which utilizes quality children’s literature as a weekly starting point for social studies and science exploration.
Alpha – Math Mammoth 1, All About Reading, Spelling Workout A, Write Source 1, and Universal Handwriting, and for social studies and science, Five in a Row, which utilizes quality children’s literature as a weekly starting point for social studies and science exploration.
To help support parents as they teach at home, curricula resources will need to be purchased. Our goal is for our materials to be parent-friendly. Given the model of our program, this is a significant consideration, especially for early elementary where parents truly function as co-teachers. The exact list of required materials will be sent to parents after acceptance into our program.
How much time should I anticipate for at-home assignments?
The teachers at HighPoint develop the scope and sequence, teach the in-person classes two days a week, and communicate the at-home assignments to parents and students through our online communication system called FACTS. We consider parents or caregivers to be “co-teachers”. As such, they will be heavily involved in working with their young child at home on the lessons and activities that the teacher assigns. On average, we suggest planning 1 – 2 hours per weekday to work with your child on the at-home assignments. There is usually both required assignments and optional work if you want to take the lessons deeper. Math and language arts will always have required weekly work, while social studies and science will typically have optional suggestions. With the help and guidance of the teachers, parents are able to confidently teach what is needed at home with guidance and support from their child’s teacher.
Besides the at-home assignments, we encourage and recommend taking time for imaginative play, creative activities, outdoor exploration, reading aloud, and teaching your child to be responsible for simple household chores appropriate to their ability. We also recommend very tactile activities and skills such as playing with PlayDoh, learning to cut with scissors, and sand play, all of which help develop small motor skills.
How do teachers communicate and support parents with children in Primer and Alpha learning groups?
HighPoint Hybrid uses a Learning Management System called FACTS to help teachers and parents communicate. Parents are able to log into the secure system and see all of their child’s assignments and due dates.
Are there parent/teacher conferences?
Yes. Because parents and teachers are working so closely together, we schedule in-person and phone conferences during the semester. These conferences are a great way to continue to develop our partnership and ensure each child’s success. Parents and teachers can discuss the child’s strengths, opportunities for growth, and address any questions or concerns. Additionally, twice each semester parents are sent a progress report via email.
Does HighPoint provide report cards?
Yes. Twice a year report cards are sent to parents via email. Rather than simply grades, report cards give skill-based reports with the teacher’s evaluation of your child’s progress in mastering the skills for their learning level. Since our primary focus is on skills learned rather than grades, this gives the parents a true picture of what their child knows and an idea of which areas to focus on for growth.
What if my child isn’t working at grade level? What if my child has special needs?
We recognize that each child is unique and special. Students are placed in learning groups based on their learning needs, not solely on their chronological age. This means some students might be a year older or younger than others in their group. During class, children are expected to participate in the class along with the activities and group learning. At home, parents have the freedom to tailor lessons, activities, and home assignments to meet their child’s unique learning needs. If a student needs additional practice or reinforcement, our teachers and Academic Director are happy to suggest additional resources.
While HighPoint Hybrid has the desire to help educate all children, we recognize that HighPoint might not be the best fit for every child. We acknowledge that we are not equipped to help children with significant disabilities do not offer special assistance or paraprofessional support for students who have significant behavior or learning challenges. If HighPoint Hybrid is not a good fit for your child, we will do our best to refer you to programs that may offer more resources than we can provide.
Feedback from parents with early elementary students at HighPoint:
“I definitely want to give a shout out to Ms. Darlene. She is such an amazing blessing to my son and his classmates. She is so warm and welcoming. Her kindness and patience in a room of kindergartners is amazing – she’s incredible! Both of my children are loving HighPoint.” – Parent, Rochester
“My child loves being in the Primer class and I really like the amount of work sent home for homeschooling. The assignments she sends us are a good mixture of papers, books, and hands-on learning, as well as discussion topics.” – Parent, Wyandotte
“We really love HighPoint and feel that it is the perfect balance for us! We are so grateful as a family.” – Parent, Clarkston
Interested in Applying?
Learn more about our admissions process and optional funding.