Building community and social and emotional awareness frames every moment of the day as first graders learn and play together. Students are encouraged to ask questions, explore, and bring new ideas to the learning community through collaboration and meaningful discussion. Our first graders learn reading skills with a balanced literacy approach that is embedded into all subjects. The primary phonics program we use is Fundations, helping kids explore reading skills through a hands-on approach. Each student receives individualized support for reading growth through collaborative and small group learning. Students explore writing topics in a workshop model and enjoy collaborating to build authentic writing skills. This developmentally appropriate approach allows for students to have freedom to write what they are passionate about while practicing important foundational skills. Math time is similarly collaborative and hands-on, with students discussing and exploring concepts to build a flexible, deep understanding of mathematics that is also relatable and applicable to the real world. Students also hone their social and collaborative skills through science, social studies and spiritual growth throughout the year.
Our second grade students spend their day immersed in differentiated instruction and hands-on activities. Their awareness of the classroom and school community is growing, so we focus on respect, resilience, and independence. Throughout the year, students will be introduced to and master a variety of academic skills. Our students love teaching each other math techniques, reading to a partner, working in student-led small groups to analyze books and poetry, and daily story writing. Monthly artist studies (coordinated with the school’s art program) are unique to the second grade curriculum. The class spends time each week researching an artist, recreating their work, and writing an artist biography, culminating in an end-of-year art show. We believe that learning happens not just through listening, but through games, discussion, modeling, reading, drawing, and movement.
Third grade students spend their day immersed in engaging lessons and activities as they become independent and responsible learners. Reading and writing instruction is integrated with social studies and science through a variety of projects. These projects encourage learners to ask questions, research, create, write, and collaborate. Daily literacy lessons provide students with meaningful and engaging activities that provide opportunities to increase vocabulary, discuss ideas, make connections, and grow as learners. Math instruction encourages conceptual understanding and real-world application. In third grade, there is a focus on the importance of respect, persistence, and critical thinking about the community and world around them.
Fourth grade is focused on responsibility, independence and choices. Students are encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning which fosters independence, and there are many opportunities for making choices. Through student-led projects, students research topics of interest, gain deeper knowledge and share their knowledge with peers through presentations and projects. Throughout the curriculum students are engaged in a variety of ways to satisfy their natural curiosity: through novel studies in English, solving real world word problems in Math, hands-on experimentation in Science, research projects in Social Studies, and a year-long cursive handwriting program. Technology is used to deepen student knowledge through research, to record science data, practice math skills, learn coding skills and more.
Fifth Grade marks a significant turning point in a child’s academic journey. In Fifth Grade, students show an increased sense of self and responsibility for their learning as they transition into more in-depth exploration of subject-area concepts. Fifth graders learn how to manage time and academic expectations, identify their own learning styles, and dive deeper into their own academic interests through project based learning on topics of their choosing. For example, if a student is learning a certain topic, they may choose to share what they have learned by writing a song, creating a diorama, or presenting a research paper. If the student gets to create something in which they are interested, they will have a deeper understanding and gain more knowledge on that particular subject. Fifth graders, as lifelong learners and problem solvers, are expected to be active and critical thinkers, work cooperatively with their peers, and continue to develop their academic stamina in preparation for Middle School. As the leaders of the Lower School, Fifth graders will have access to different enrichment/elective options and they will have opportunities to lead Lower School assemblies, take charge of projects, and more.