Highly individualized Gr. 1 through Gr. 8 programs are implemented at The Dunblaine School based on Ontario Curriculum Guidelines and Direct Instruction Methodology. Carefully prepared and structured learning plans are used for specific academic skills in reading, writing and arithmetic.
The DISTAR Program
The DISTAR (Direct Instruction System for Teaching Arithmetic and Reading) program involves carefully structured learning goals, including Reading Mastery, Decoding (Corrective Reading), Reasoning and Writing, Spelling Mastery, and Connecting Math Concepts. This research-based approach to teaching was developed by Siegfried Englemann, a philosopher interested in promoting the theory of practice-through-instruction, and was introduced to Dunblaine by SickKid’s Child Development Program. Decoding and comprehension are consolidated by consistently providing practice in small, ability-based cohorts, instructed by a trained teacher at Dunblaine.
Jump Math was introduced to Dunblaine staff and students by founder and mathematician, John Mighton. This program promotes mathematical confidence, reinforces basic numeracy, and utilizes grade-specific materials and workbooks that enable students to learn skills and concepts through step-by-step instruction. With consistent practice and preparation in daily math activities, achievement and success is possible for all students.
Adaptive technology, which includes literacy-based computer software such as Word Q, Speak Q, Inspiration, and Draftbuilder, is also available to our students. The school rotates several iPads and each classroom has at least two laptops made available for students unable to bring devices from home. For successful use and promotion of computer technology, each student is assessed to determine appropriate programs, and trained on the devices accordingly to become independent learners. The features of our software help with gathering information, organization, completion of written output, and confidence.
Handwriting Without Tears
Handwriting Without Tears is a systematic, developmentally-based, multi-sensory approach for elementary children, created by Jan Olsen, an occupational therapist who specializes in handwriting. At Dunblaine, the consistency of learning productive and fluent skills for printing are developed through good work habits, specific terminology, consistent left-right and top-bottom formation, and proper pencil and paper position to produce optimal penmanship.
Each term, Dunblaine plans fun, exciting, and community-oriented activities that usually take place on Friday afternoons. Some examples include yoga, dance, gymnastics, and cooking. Also, to enhance the curriculum, the children are involved in regular field trips to such places as the Ontario Science Centre, Young People's Theatre, the Royal Ontario Museum, and various conservation centres.
The Dunblaine curriculum also incorporates visual and dramatic arts, music, French, speech and occupational therapy, computer skills, and social skills, all on a regular, weekly basis.
Overall, our individualized and enriched programs offer a complimentary balance to educational, social and emotional skills that prepare students for lifelong learning opportunities and success.