Our extraordinary co-curricular program includes six specialist courses taught by expert, field-specific professionals. We make this commitment of resources because we know that education in these areas both enhances children’s self-awareness, language acquisition, cognitive development, critical thinking ability, and social skills, and also gives them a foundation to discover and pursue their personal passions.
The Discovery Center, or Disco as it is affectionately called (yes, there is a mirror ball on the ceiling!) is our makerspace and cutting-edge tech lab. The goals of the program are to promote creativity, exploration, collaborative learning and innovation using traditional and 21st century tools. The center integrates multiple disciplines with a focus on science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM). Our students plan, design and create authentic solutions to problems. They become designers and inventors using compassion, problem solving and critical thinking. The curriculum includes programing robots, building simple machines and structures, creating and editing video, photography and digital editing, coding, circuitry and repairing electronics, graphic design and publication, and 3-D modeling and printing. Learn more here.
Our 17,000 sq. ft Life Lab inspires a profound love and appreciation for the complexity of biology and the natural world in our students, and in doing so becomes a powerful tool for teaching about climate justice. With our 2019 move to the Natural Bridges campus, we took the opportunity to build our new Life Lab based on the best examples of professional and personal gardens we could find; this led us redesign and expand the number of garden boxes we have, install ADA-accessible pathways, and a host of other features. Life Lab is where our unique Environmental Science curriculum is taught to grades K-5, including a series of unique food feasts through the grades, such as the Salsa Party in 3rd grade and the Grand Friend’s Day squash lunch in 4th grade. Life Lab is also home to our One World Garden, which produces foods from around the world for the One World Salad that we create to celebrate our diverse community each spring. Learn more here.
Gateway’s music program is based upon the Orff-Schulwerk approach, an innovative approach to teaching and learning music based on the ways children naturally communicate. It weaves together speech and poetry, movement and dance, drama and song, and improvisation with playing musical instruments. Direct experience with sound and movement precedes theoretical study, and cooperative ensemble work is encouraged as students develop a passion for music. Using their voices to speak, chant and sing, and their bodies to move and dance, the children learn through involving and engaging their whole body. Using small percussion and melody instruments like xylophones and metallophones, the children move joyfully from musical imitation to improvisation and literacy.
Gateway’s P.E. program nurtures students’ love and appreciation for movement, promotes a lifelong passion for physical activity, and reinforces the many life lessons learned on the field and black top. Our emphasis is placed on doing one’s personal best, inclusiveness of all students and fair play. Students are taught about sportsmanship and how to play cooperatively, to prepare them for competitive play. Over the years, students participate in a wide range of individual and group activities designed to strengthen motor skills, manipulative skills and movement concepts. Students also participate in physical fitness activities to develop increased muscular strength, flexibility and cardiovascular health, and begin learning the basics of a variety of team sports.
Academic research has confirmed that knowledge of a second language strengthens first-language skills, and helps students to appreciate the power of words and the many different uses of language. When children hear and experience the sounds and feelings of a world language, they develop an ear for all language acquisition. The ability to speak two or more languages generally enhances problem-solving and reasoning skills, the capacity for creative thinking, and the ability to respect and understand other cultures. Second-language learning strengthens the ability to communicate and participate effectively in the workplace and in the global community.
Gateway’s Spanish instruction imparts an appreciation of the Spanish language and Hispanic/Latinx cultures. It is taught through songs, stories, art, drama, TPRS (Total Physical Response and Storytelling), conversation, and vocabulary building. In grades K-3, the focus is on speaking and listening, while in grades 4 & 5, grammar and the written word begin to be emphasized. Language skills introduced each year become more complex as children grow and develop, and second-language skills are practiced continuously. Integrating elements of Spanish with other curricular areas helps students to see connections and relationships among ideas, people and things and to relate their learning to the world outside the school. Lessons are designed to prepare students to use Spanish in a variety of contexts, including speaking, listening, reading, and writing.
In Gateway’s visual arts program, students learn how to perceive the world through an artistic lens by studying works of art, objects in nature, events, and environment. They begin to appreciate art, and to identify the elements and principles of design. Art projects are planned with classroom teachers and extend the themes to include artistic components. The growing skill and creative expression of Gateway students adorn the walls of the school throughout the year, and are the focal celebration of the school-wide Art Tour each spring.