At Apollo we serve students in grades Pre-K through Eighth. Child development and educational approaches at each grade level are huge topics in themselves, but here is a brief summary on how we tailor our activities to each general grade range.
Going to a big school for the first time can be scary… and boring. Adults keep asking you to sit still! Our activities for Pre-K students puts the focus on cooperative activities which allow the expression of their natural energy, while helping to explore social skills and making a big world less intimidating.
Kindergarten through Second Grade
A K-2 student’s world keeps getting bigger and bigger. They might be going to a bigger school for the first time, going to new areas in the school for the first time, expanding their social experiences by leaps and bounds each and every day. They are starting to see others’ perspectives on things and put themselves in their shoes (even though they may not be able to tie their own!). At this age, our curriculum activities aim to keep their worlds expanding by showing them as many of the amazing things in it as we can fit into a couple of hours each day.
Third through Fifth Grade
Third through fifth graders are often the most surprising students – they can in one moment strike you with how sophisticated their thinking and ability is in one subject, and then still walk around with their shoes untied, tripping over their own feet. In subjects they are interested in, they are developing deep, rational and concrete thinking, and it is our goal to provide them with the tools they need to take their intellectual interests to the next level. On the other hand, we are still introducing a number of topics outside their own personal sphere of experience to help make their world a much bigger place.
Sixth through Eighth Grade
Students in this age group are mentally very close to being young adults in their own right – they are practiced in thinking hypothetically, abstractly, and logically. Our curriculum at this age group is geared more towards student-led inquiries with our instructors acting more as mentors and guides than as leaders of the activities. Students at this age will have considerable intellectual resources at their disposal to tackle subjects they are interested in – our instructors are taught to harness, channel, and refine our students’ abilities into work they will be proud of.
Our Approach to Diverse Age Groups Within Our Program
A mingling of age groups for common activities is a great way for kids to make friends, mentors, and mentees outside of their immediate social circle. While many of activities in Apollo feature this dynamic, as much as we’d like to introduce calculus to our Kindergartners, it would probably be a tough class for everyone. Depending on the class size, it is typical for us to completely separate the age groups during enrichment activity time, pairing each group off with a separate instructor.
For smaller classes (usually 20 students or less) our instructors will use their discretion in creating groups for the enrichment project. It is important to note that we will often do the same general activity, but at different levels of sophistication. This gives our older students practice at mentoring younger students, and our younger students a chance to learn from older students. We also have group activities where different age groups are responsible for different aspects of a project, which each age group taking on a task that both contributes to the group and is appropriate to their grade levels.