Sonrise Christian School uses the Interact Curriculum framework developed in New Zealand. This incorporates the requirements of the New Zealand State curriculum while remaining God centred. Each term, a characteristic of God is taken as a focus, and school activities and modules follow from this.
Features of the Interact Curriculum:
- Developing a knowledge of God: His nature and character
- Developing a knowledge of man: understanding his nature and character
- Developing a knowledge of the world
- Developing character that is conformed to God's image
- Recognising the unity of knowledge and the interrelationship of subjects
- Working with a cycle of topics so that all age groups are studying the same topics at different levels
- Catering for individual learning styles
- Requiring a range of thinking skills
- Relating to real life with practical application
The curriculum has a four year cycle. Children at all stages study the same theme, the older children studying in much more detail.
As an example: The theme "God is Truthful".
Here the underlying understanding is that we can rely on and trust in God because we know He cannot lie.
In devotions the students study Isaiah's prophecies and how Jesus' life fulfilled them, looking at Jesus' parables as His means of teaching truth.
In science, light is studied because light exposes truth about things hidden and in health the eye and vision is studied including visits from the Blind Foundation.
Truth and untruth as it relates to advertising is covered in Social Studies, while in Art the students study accurate representations and in Language they practise learning to give an accurate oral report.
Reading is taught using a mixture of mainly phonic techniques, with the addition of contextual cues. Students participate in shared, guided and independent reading.
New approaches to learning are very important and the school uses several innovative approaches to thinking and learning:
Thinking Maps '
Thinking Maps that we use at Sonrise Christian School are based on Dr. David Hyerle's Model. Each of the eight Thinking Maps is based on a fundamental cognitive skill and is used as a common visual language for transferring thinking processes, integrating learning, and for continuously assessing progress.These visual tools are woven into all the curriculum areas and are equally effective for underachievers and advanced learners, as they organize the students thinking rather than just providing cycles of content learning.
Habits of Mind
"When we no longer know what to do we have come to our real work and when we no longer know which way to go we have begun our real journey. The mind that is not baffled is not employed. The impeded stream is the one that sings.' ...Wendell Berry
A great deal of educational outcomes focus on how many answers a student knows. When we teach Habits of Mind, developed by Dr Art Costa, we instil into our students how to behave intelligently when they don't know the answer.
e.g.:If a student displays or practices a Habit of Mind such as persistence, he/she is a person who will stick to a task and not give up easily. By using persistence and flexibility in thinking, the student will develop a repertoire of alternative strategies to solve the problem that he/she is facing. By using both of these innovative tools together with the curriculum we hope to develop people who think independently, and have a Christian world view. They are also compassionate, cooperative human beings who can live productively in an increasingly chaotic, complex and information-rich world.