At Jacksonville Country Day School, our specialists play a crucial role in expanding the thinking, perspective, skills, and knowledge base of students. Specialist teachers use brain friendly strategies that tap multiple intelligences and a variety of learning styles. Students engage in problem solving, discovery, analysis, and self-expression when they learn to strum a guitar in music, create a collage in art, investigate soil types in the science lab, study an author in the library, tell a story in Spanish, design a slide show in computer, or run the obstacle course in physical education.
Except for physical education, which is taught every day, students visit each resource area once every six-day cycle or as appropriate to their grade level.
In our well-equipped art studio, students are exposed to a variety of artistic techniques and methods and are encouraged in personal expression, creativity, and skills development. Drawing, painting, collage, sculpture, and pottery are some of the areas that students explore. Artistic themes include nature studies, portraiture, still life, abstraction, desig,n and composition, and color theory. Art appreciation and history are integrated with classroom curriculum to help children better understand the inter-connectedness of all disciplines. (return to top)
The JCDS computer lab is equipped with Apple computers, media projectors, SmartBoards, and SchoolPads. Children in kindergarten through third grade attend regularly scheduled classes. The computer teacher introduces basic operations and concepts while teaching technology as a productivity, communication and research tool. Students in 4th and 5th grades use the computer lab for Internet research, PowerPoint presentations, and other teacher-directed activities and projects. Laptops are distributed to 6th grade students for personal and classroom use throughout the school year. (return to top)
The recently renovated library houses over 11,000 books, ranging from pre-readers to upper grade novels. The updated collection includes classic and modern fiction, picture books and non-fiction collections. There are also separate collections containing Spanish books, reference materials, award-winning literature, and parent and professional resources.
The library also houses a tiered seating area for storytelling as well as a classroom area for upper grade lessons. All JCDS parents are welcome to check out library materials, visit during story time, or volunteer to help with library shelving. (return to top)
The music program at JCDS is largely based upon the Orff approach and includes segments of the Kodaly System for ear training and reading music. The music specialist incorporates aspects of singing, speaking, movement, and instrument playing into each lesson.
The fundamentals of music reading are taught to students in grades one through six. The Curwin hand signs and solfege syllables are also taught beginning in grade one. In grades one through three, the students participate in grade level sing-a-long classes that emphasize learning literature and the mechanics of proper singing. Beginning in 4th grade, stronger emphasis is placed on learning to read music through the playing of the soprano recorder, as well as the use of the Orff xylophones, metallophones and glockenspiels. In addition, hand chimes and the guitar are also taught in grades 4 through 6.
All grade levels present a musical production during the year. Students grow in their awareness of the fine arts through visiting artists, school performances and curriculum-related field trips. Several performance ensembles meet before or after school: Junior J's (grade 3), Jazzy J's (grades 4-6), JCDS Band (grades 4-6) and the JCDS Chorus (grades 4-6). Individual lessons are available in piano, violin, guitar and voice, brass and woodwind instruments. (return to top)
The science lab program enriches, supports and reinforces the concepts of science taught in the classroom, including earth, life, and physical science. While in the science lab, students are encouraged to seek scientific explanations about the natural world using the inquiry method. Throughout their lab experience, students are provided with the strategies, methods, and materials necessary for scientific investigation. The science specialist guides them in developing and strengthening their powers of observation and helps them learn to communicate scientific ideas. As learning takes place in a hands-on laboratory environment, students acquire the skills that will enable them to function effectively in future lab environments. (return to top)
Students receive a continuous sequence of Spanish language instruction from pre-JK through sixth grade. This instruction heightens students' appreciation and respect for cultural diversity and sharpens their cross-cultural awareness and sensitivity.
The use of TPRA (Total Physical Response through Actions), based on the learning process of the "first language," helps students internalize Spanish through physical movement and active response to commands. TPRS (Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling), which uses short, interesting, and comprehensible stories, helps develop fluency in speaking and writing Spanish in the upper levels. Students enjoy and participate in a realistic and articulated program that builds developmentally through the different levels. This learning process is accomplished by exposing the children to a multitude of strategies and materials in the classroom. (return to top)
The Physical Education program at JCDS focuses on fitness, skill acquisition, team building, social development, and character education. Physical Education activities are designed to motivate the students intrinsically, using positive and innately rewarding strategies that emphasize building strong community. To achieve success, students participate in the governing of the community, which in turn brings meaning and commitment to the program.
Physical Education instructors strive to create an environment that allows the students to feel valued, safe, and involved in activities that are meaningful to them, regardless of ability. Increasing the student’s knowledge in motor, social, and cognitive skills creates a foundation that leads to an increased awareness of physical fitness and a lifelong healthy lifestyle. (return to top)