From the earliest grades, a love of reading is fostered. Students are encouraged to read widely, learning that literature bridges the richness of all cultures and ways of thinking. As early readers become more proficient, they begin to develop writing skills. They quickly regard themselves as young authors and their writing grows in sophistication each year. By the upper grades, writing is clear and confident.
Math instruction must move from the concrete to the abstract with every new concept. Students use hands-on activities to explore different areas of mathematical study, beginning with basic operations and progressing to logic, geometry and pre-algebra. Gradually, that learning is translated to the abstract symbols we use with paper, pencils, and calculators. Games, software, and homework solidify new problem solving processes.
Core concepts are gradually introduced and built upon from one year to the next. Students combine in-class learning with hands-on laboratory activities. Through observing, investigating, measuring, predicting, and comparing/contrasting data, students gain firsthand information about the natural world. They are encouraged to think independently, while gaining a respect for nature.
Beginning in kindergarten, children learn about societal relationships through the study of their own communities. In time, they see the interrelatedness of subjects such as art, music, math, science, and literature as they explore a wide range of ancient to modern cultures. The social studies curriculum encourages an appreciation of and respect for similarities and differences among the worlds’ peoples. Students learn to ask analytical questions, read maps, use a globe, take notes, do basic research, write reports, create and read tables and graphs, and give effective oral presentations.
All students in grades K-6 have the choice of studying either Korean or Spanish. Both programs meet five days a week, offering language instruction, as well as cultural enrichment. Academic classes are taught in English, but for students needing English language support, an ESL teacher provides assistance. As well, for ESL/ELL and international students, we provide an Intensive English Program designed to make those students comfortable in American English within three months. Most children quickly adjust to instruction in English.
Students progress from keyboarding to word processing, researching, illustrating, and using presentation tools. A well-equipped computer lab offers internet access, with possibilities for extending and exploring a wealth of curricular topics.
An outstanding music program provides opportunities to join a chorus, play hand chimes, study an instrument, be part of an orchestra and participate in musical theater. Classroom teachers use a variety of tools, techniques, and materials to explore the visual arts and dance/movement.
The entire school community joins together weekly to sing, brainstorm ideas, celebrate successes, discover ways to mediate conflicts, and enjoy mutual support and encouragement. Community Meetings offer a venue in which we gain an appreciation for our similarities and a respect for our differences. The Student Council is composed of representatives from each grade level. Meetings provide an arena for the exchange of ideas, the development of leadership skills and an understanding of representative government. Service learning is a way for students to experience the joy and necessity of giving back to their communities. Whether it’s through organizing a canned food drive, marching in the Korean Community Parade, or pooling resources to help those less fortunate, Wilshire students regularly participate to benefit others.
Lessons are designed to challenge each child while developing an appreciation and understanding of different ability levels. Students of all ages work on coordination, ball handling and agility, through the use of obstacle courses, tumbling exercises, relays and scrimmages. Gymnastics, hockey, volleyball and basketball form the core of sports instruction, with an emphasis on the value and importance of teamwork.