We are proud to celebrate our 20 years of educating students! There are several key factors that have contributed to our success over two decades, and one of the most critical is having exceptional teachers in place. Our faculty is dedicated to our students and through their experience and within our small class sizes, they are able to provide individualized instruction to help each student. This environment enables students to work to their full potential, develop their love of learning and ultimately be successful.
Another key factor in our successful academic environment is our dedication to educate the whole child. We want our students to be well-rounded and be exposed to as many subjects as possible to help them develop all aspects of their interests and capabilities. Through an excellent curriculum, a broad offering of enrichment classes and an exceptional Fine Arts program, students are able to engage their minds and talents in all ways.
The foundation of the curriculum follows the E.D. Hirsch Core Knowledge Curriculum, not to be confused with Common Core. Core Knowledge is a project-based, integrated curriculum, which enables students to create connections from one subject to another. For instance in 1st grade, the students may learn about Modern Day and Ancient Mexico. This subject is clearly covered in History and Geography but is also woven into Science studying the Geographical Features of the Earth’s Surface, linking back to Maya, Inca and Aztec Civilizations. It is then covered in Language Arts, with Hispanic Folktale, and in Music, teaching the students traditional Mexican songs and in Art, creating pieces of Mayan and Inca art.* (Source: E.D. Hirsch Core Knowledge Foundation)
In addition, we follow Singapore Math, which focuses on students not just learning, but also mastering certain math concepts each year. This approach removes the practice of drills and places a greater emphasis on helping students understand the concept on a deeper level, not just memorization.
We also include STEAM as a component of the curriculum. Standing for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics, STEAM is the integrated approach to learning that allows and encourages students to think about real-world problems. The benefit of STEAM versus STEM is that "STEAM is a way to take the benefits of STEM and complete the package by integrating these principles in and through the arts. STEAM takes STEM to the next level: it allows students to connect their learning in these critical areas together with arts practices, elements, design principles, and standards to provide the whole pallet of learning at their disposal. STEAM removes limitations and replaces them with wonder, critique, inquiry, and innovation." (educationcloset.com)
The children also receive Christian teachings which are included as part of the core curriculum as well as attending Chapel on Monday and Friday mornings.
Throughout all of the classes, many concepts are taught through project-based learning. This philosophy is an excellent way for students to apply concepts that are being taught, work in teams, problem solve, trouble shoot, and draw conclusions. Project-based learning also allows for a more engaged learning environment, where students can bring together concepts from all of their subjects and disciplines, helping students make connections that will stay with them.
As part of their weekly schedule, students will participate in our extensive enrichment classes, which include:
One the most important things for students to understand, is the value the internet and technology plays a part in their everyday life. We help them realize this through creating projects using different types of computer media. We also focus on internet safety, teaching students how to navigate the internet and resources safely and responsibly. Additionally, we offer an introduction to computer science and computer programming using different coding lessons, which often support or are integrated to what students are learning in their Core Curriculum.
We focus on teaching students the fundamentals of Spanish. Here they will learn: Colors, days of the weeks, months of the year, food, time, weather, seasons, clothes, emotions, body parts, things in the classroom, things in the city, things on the farm, animals, etc.
Singing traditional Mexican folk song and newly composed learning songs
- Studying: the Hispanic culture and where Spanish is spoken in the world
- Conversation skills: carry on conversations with each other in Spanish
- Games: Traditional Mexican Folk Song Games
In the Art Classes at the Buckner Fanning School at Mission Springs, the students are given the opportunity to create art using a variety of materials. Students will learn about famous artists and art styles, the elements of art and how they apply to their art projects. The curriculum in Art is based on the Core Curriculum standards with emphasis in specific areas the students are studying in their classroom, therefore creating an opportunity to learn about their studies using a hands-on approach. Students have at least one project each year in which they create a clay work of art. Their clay art projects are also related to their classroom studies and/or basic elements as applied in a sculptural piece.
The students are given opportunities for individual exploration in creating art, also. As time allows, students may create a work of art using the “free art” materials that are available to them. Students are encouraged at all times to create from an individual perspective and value each person’s creation as a ‘one of a kind.’ They will leave the BFSMS art classes with an introductory knowledge of art materials and their use, famous artists and works of art in relation to a historical context, and have learned skills to enable them to approach any art project with a sense of familiarity.
Music & Drama
The methodology that structures the music curriculum is the Kodály Method (inspired by the Hungarian composer Zoltan Kodály). It is a sequential, literacy-driven curriculum using folk song material and age appropriate art music examples. Movement and instrument play are incorporated as it becomes developmentally appropriate beginning with simple circle games and classroom percussion instruments leading up to folk dance, barred instruments and more sophisticated examples of improvisation. As time allows, we also spend class time listening to and learning about both traditional and non-traditional music performance practices of the Western world and beyond.
We also encourage performance art with several school performances throughout the year, where all students have the opportunity to perform. This helps students develop their self-confidence and be comfortable with public speaking at a young age!
All of the grade level goals outlined above line up with, and often exceed those that are designated in the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills.
We also incorporate Drama, encouraging the students to explore, create, imagine, express, play-out, experiment, and dream through the study of pantomime, puppetry, monologues, dialogues, and acting. They write stories and perform on stage, sing, dance, and learn how to express and share inner most feelings. Theater is entertainment and can change the world. It has always been part of the world and now our students are a part of that history too.
Each class enjoys library time every week. During this visit, the children may enjoy a story read with animation and excitement by our librarian or learn about the functions of the library, how to locate books of their choice, and how to access information in the research area. During this time, students will also likely do a project that is connected to a concept they are learning about in Social Studies or Literary Arts. Children are always encouraged to check out books and read as much as possible. We strive to help the children develop a true love of reading, so they are encouraged to visit the library outside of their scheduled class to grab a new book!
We feel it is extremely important for students to learn about and practice physical fitness. We offer a developmentally appropriate course, which is specific to each school level. After 6th Grade, the students also take a Health Science class. Our goal is to help children understand the importance of good health, diet, and exercise.
Here at BFSMS, we want children to understand where food comes from and how to have a healthy diet. Over the course of the year, students plant seeds and nurture the plants as they grow into fruits and vegetables. They are then able to bring samples from the garden home for their family to eat. It is wonderful to see the students connect with nature, gain a greater respect for nature and understand the growing process. It is always special for them to be part of the process and to experience the result of their efforts.
The Buckner Fanning School at Mission Springs is a fully accredited K-8 school through AdvancED (please note the Pre-K and High School are not included in this accreditation)