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About Greek-4-Kids
 

 

Inspiring Students to Excel

 

MISSION

Ø      To help families of Greek and non Greek ancestry and backgrounds raise bilingual children, starting at an early age, by offering a challenging, high quality, and developmentally appropriate curriculum.

Ø      To provide a learning environment enriched by the teaching of the Greek Language, History, Culture, Faith where each student develops his or her own talents and potential to the fullest.

Ø      To reinforce cultural awareness and to instill a sense of pride in younger generations by promoting Greek language and culture.

Ø      To encourage the preservation of the Greek ethnic heritage in the diverse and multicultural American society.

To create a school community of people who value Greek Paideia and create a partnership with the School so the above mission statements are met.

 

TEACHING PHILOSOPHY & METHODOLOGY

 

Greek through language arts, creative arts, music and play.

Children are naturals at language learning: their lack of inhibition and adaptability makes it easier for them to pick up sounds and words. During the earliest years of a child’s life the most significant brain development takes place.  The plasticity of a child’s brain is at its maximum.  The interest of children to know the world is also the motive for learning. When children feel safe in a stimulating environment, they want to explore it with their senses, develop ideas and structure knowledge.


As a parent, you are offering your child a life-long advantage by exposing him/her to a foreign language at an early age. Besides providing a head start for their future language learning and building their self-confidence, they benefit from a proven boost to scholastic performance in other subject areas by developing their learning skills.

Language is to be taught hand in hand with culture. Our curriculum draws from the Modern Greek culture, rich Hellenic and Greek Orthodox heritage and traditions to compliment the home by promoting optimal cognitive, physical, social, and emotional development.  Greek 4 Kids operates on the philosophy that young children learn best through direct sensory experiences that encourage self-expression. The School provides experiences to meet children's needs and stimulate learning in all developmental areas - physical, social, emotional, and intellectual. Its philosophy draws upon the best practices of the child-development tradition in early childhood education.  Play is a major component of the program, combined with activities such as: storytelling, reading stories, arts and crafts, music and creative movement, singing, puppetry, games.

v                             Greek 4 Kids takes into consideration the individuality of each child, interests and needs.  The School places special emphasis on social and language development in two languages and sets as objectives the intellectual and emotional development of children with classroom experiences that will help them realize their full potential in learning another language.

v                             Emphasis is given on communication - that is, students are encouraged to express themselves in Greek. Grammar is a tool, but not a goal.

v                             Research shows that children have the mental flexibility to acquire a new language with a native or near-native accent, provided that they have native teachers as models. Greek 4 Kids’ teachers are native speakers of Greek.  Therefore, students are always in contact with authentic Greek and excellent pronunciation, presented in a participatory environment.

v                             The School uses authentic teaching materials developed for the teaching of Greek as a second or foreign language. Older children use age and level appropriate textbooks and worksheets targeting their interests and abilities. 

v                             Since young children have a rather short attention span and learn best when they are actively involved in physical activities the curriculum is structured to provide ample opportunities for movement and oral practice.  They are always encouraged to participate in simple conversations, both teacher-to-child and child-to-child.

v                             For children to become engaged, classes must be fun and fast moving.  Children need to be constantly stimulated and alert.  Activities are selected to appeal to different learning styles: listening to stories, coloring pictures, manipulating objects, mimicking and acting out songs, playing language games, identifying flash cards, and (for older children) learning to read and write.  Teachers use communicative games and primary school techniques for a practical and fun use of Greek.

v                             Criteria for class placement are age and competencies in all fields of communication.

v                              

CURRICULUM OVERVIEW

Greek 4 Kids is committed to working with family to help each child reach his/her potential. It offers a structured, yet fun teaching approach for young children, ranging from toddlers to 12 years, to learn Modern Greek in a stimulating classroom setting.  Instruction of Traditional Greek Folk Dances aims to supplement language instruction.

The Program also offers a unique opportunity to kids who do not practice Greek home to start learning a new language from an early age and to kids who speak Greek home to get the opportunity to use it in a social and “classroom” like context.

A variety of activities aim to tickle different senses (hearing, touch, vision) and expose children to Greek children’s folk culture in the form of games, songs, prayers, rhymes, music, hands-on activities.  Children practice listening and talking while socializing.  The class is conducted primarily in Greek to help them enhance their comprehension.  Kids learn naturally, not by translating.  First they hear, then they understand, and finally they speak.  Comprehension always exceeds fluency and speaking will eventually be spontaneous. The classroom themes and materials have been carefully chosen to intrigue the children's mind and encourage progress at their own pace.

The curriculum emphasizes fun and play.  Limits are made clear and defined.   Lesson plans are adapted to each age group and the developmental capacity of each child.  Material used in class is authentic.   A nurturing environment enhances children’s self-esteem and curiosity, promotes independence, creativity, desire to explore the world through imagination, while encouraging them to develop a strong sense of pride and achievement.

Learning is to take place in a natural, unpressured way by singing, inventing a wide range of games, hopping to an object, watching puppets do exaggerated gestures, drawing, scribbling, use of magnet boards, and so much more.  Every child can learn Greek when having fun.  It is no different than learning how to speak English, just a little extra stimulation is needed. 

 

Learning two languages is also learning two cultures.  It means learning how to ACT in two different cultures.  Through arts, drama, music, children become culturally diverse by ACTING Greek, imitating hand gestures, vocal intonations, facial expressions.

 

 BABY CLASS

6 months –2.5 years old

In the first 15 months of a baby’s life, the synapses of the brain begin to form at a tremendous rate.  They initially have neurons that are from all the languages in the world, but if these neurons aren’t used soon enough, they are lost.  Infants and young toddlers learn differently from older children.  Babies are becoming very social creatures, so engaging and delighting them by reading and singing or playing games.  They display a remarkably high receptivity to music. Texture and feel of objects are also important at this age of exploration. 

 

In this class babies and young toddlers

§         will familiarize themselves with the sounds of the Greek language (use of vocabulary building songs, nursery rhymes, musical rhythms, folklore songs, tactile materials).

§          will absorb the language by watching, listening and then when they are ready speaking their first words.  Children truly learn only when their emotions are engaged.

Emphasis will be given on

§         movement, visual aids, big picture books with bold illustrations in high-contrast colors.

§         the use of short descriptive phrases to introduce work-object association to build early language skills.  Babies begin to babble and progressively understand the meaning of words and that words are parts of sentences.

 

TOT CLASS

2-3.5 years old

Language is not learned in isolation from other activities.  It is physical work for the child and there is connection of new words and phrases to movement, emotions, even colors and rhythm to help a child retain language. Children will be encouraged through play to practice saying simple words and phrases (greetings, answering questions about themselves, etc.)

 

Children will familiarize themselves and be exposed to

 

§         the sounds of the Greek language, basic group words like animals, fruit, colors, numbers, toys, objects from their immediate environment.

§         Folklore songs, dramatic play, card games, educational, open-ended creative toys, finger plays, age appropriate arts & crafts, flash cards.

§         musical instruments to develop verbal rhythm while acquiring vocabulary.

 

Learning takes place with interaction with teacher and other children.  Students benefit because they learn a new language and build social skills.  Emphasis will be given on oral expression.   They will be given opportunities to use phrases and sentences.  They will be involved in matching colors, balancing and counting blocks, and recognizing letters of the Greek Alphabet.  This is the period when comprehension includes abstract ideas like shapes and grammar skills increase dramatically (i.e. they start using different articles for the different genders of objects in Greek).

Imaginative play helps strengthen all areas of development and it will have its place in class.  By recreating an altering real-life situations--- going to the store, giving shots to stuffed animals, or staging a puppet show, the child masters his/her emotions, gains confidence in his/her abilities, and develops an understanding of how the world works.

  

CHILDREN’S CLASSES

4 years old and over

 

 

Time to write first letters and syllables in Greek!  Children will be prepared now to acquire the basic reading and writing skills of the Greek language, learn basic group words like greetings, parts of the body, things and concepts related to the house and school, enrich vocabulary, etc.  They will also develop basic communication skills like introducing and talking about themselves and their friends, identifying objects, carrying out short dialogues, use complex sentence structure if able to, etc.

All the activities will be designed to relate to target vocabulary words and promote oral expression - Storytelling, popular fairy tales,  lively songs, music, dancing, drawing, arts and crafts, puppets, flash cards, learn how to count—mime, organized play, reading, acting out short stories, role-playing.

Children will participate in language-oriented games and activities to familiarize themselves with the Greek print.  Colorful and visually appealing big books help children get started with simple Greek reading and writing.  They are invited to narrate in their own words short stories or describe objects and situations.  Some stories and fairy tales will be repeated in every class during circle time.  This could be tiresome for a parent or teacher, but repeating a story is good for children.  They get more chances to learn the story and to develop long-term memory skills.

 

* * * * * * *

The linguistic needs of children aged 7-12 continue to revolve around its EGO and the relations of the EGO with the MICROCOSM which surrounds it and within which it moves.  Subjects such as the house, the school, places of entertainment, the town, the neighborhood, friends and schoolmates, parties and holidays constitute the starting points for the creation of language activities.

As language cannot be taught independently from the culture of the country in which it is spoken, the following subjects will be integrated into the curriculum:

Geography (Greece-The European Union), History (Greek War of Independence), Mythology (Aesop’s Fables, Greek  Heroes), Morals and Customs (Christmas, New Year’s, Carnival, Easter), Society (The everyday life of the Greek Family), Music-Songs-Dances (traditional songs, rhythmical songs, Games). 

As children grow older they are being introduced to more complex linguistic structures and the focus shifts to advancing reading and writing skills.  There will be using a variety of oral and written material.  Frequent assessment tests and reviews are offered.  Exercises will help them improve their oral fluency and grasp of key grammatical rules. Student portofolios will track a child’s  progress throughout the year.

 

 

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