Program Overview
Episcopal School of Nashville is an independent co-educational Pre-K through middle school, serving students of diverse ethnic, cultural, religious, and socio-economic backgrounds. Valuing the education of the whole child, the school encourages students to engage their minds, bodies, and spirits as they grow in confidence and communion with others.
Nashville elementary school, episcopal school Nashville, Nashville elementary education, Pre-K, Kindergarten, First Grade, Second Grade, Third Grade, Fourth Grade, Fifth Grade, Sixth Grade, Seventh Grade, Middle School, elementary school, independent school, private school, Christian school
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Program Overview

At the very heart of the Episcopal School of Nashville’s mission is its commitment to academic excellence. By combining rigorous curricula with engaging and challenging learning experiences, Episcopal School students are prepared for the future. Our goal is to nurture and support students as they grow into literate, discerning, confident, and independent thinkers.


The literacy curriculum at Episcopal School is thorough, and supports individual learning needs and differences. Each classroom is a community of readers, writers, listeners and speakers. Literacy instruction is founded with the goal of cultivating a lifelong love of reading.  The cornerstones of reading and writing instruction are the Lucy Calkins Readers and Writers Workshops. The daily workshop format of each of these programs ensures that students are consistently exposed to quality literature, authors, and illustrators. Students develop and come to see themselves as readers and writers because they are given daily opportunities to practice known strategies and to learn new ones when they are developmentally ready.


Important ideas relating to phonics, phonological awareness, vocabulary, and language are presented through the Words Their Way and Wordly Wise programs. The Handwriting Without Tears curriculum begins in Pre-K, as students learn to print. Cursive handwriting is introduced in third grade.


The mathematics curriculum is centered on the philosophy that children can come to understand the world around them by analyzing problems that need solving. In the early years, the focus is on developing and growing number sense, achieving fluency with numbers and simple operations; and supporting students as they learn to problem solve. Students are also encouraged to articulate their mathematical thinking, verbalizing how and why they arrive at conclusions. The Math in Focus: Singapore Math curriculum, supplemented by a variety of project experiences, provides the foundation of Episcopal School’s mathematics program.


Through the social/emotional curriculum of Responsive Classroom, a positive sense of self is encouraged. Teachers and students work together to build a community of learners in which each member is valued.

Early Childhood

Pre-K through Kindergarten


The Pre-K classroom is a play-based, Reggio inspired program. Our classroom provides a setting for students to learn through hands-on exploration. Pre-K is a lively place where students learn by doing, sharing, and experiencing. Our program helps launch students into the world of education with high self-esteem and the skills they will need for the next stage of their academic journey. The classroom has been intentionally designed to support values of joyful play, wonder, discovery, and curiosity. It offers rich centers for investigating and engaging in science, math, early literacy, creative art, and dramatic play. We utilize the Learning Without Tears curriculum, and we regularly collaborate on special cooking activities and science experiments. Pre-K students also have weekly chapel, art, music, yoga, atrium (Catechesis of the Good Shepherd), and urban gardening lessons outside the classroom.



Our day begins with hands-on activities to strengthen fine motor skills that encourage creativity and wonder. Morning meeting sets the tone for learning and developing relationships as a community of learners. The school day continues with whole group activities to promote social-emotional learning. Small group instruction during the academic blocks of time challenges and enriches students at their individual academic level. Free-choice opportunities encourage students’ interests and curiosities. Kindergarten students have opportunities to explore concentrated activities such as: atrium (Catechesis of the Good Shepherd), art, music, urban gardening, yoga, and library. In addition, we celebrate the school community with weekly chapel services.

Lower School

First through Fifth Grade

First Grade

Building community and social and emotional awareness frames every moment of the day as first graders learn and play together. Our first graders learn reading skills with a balanced literacy approach and Orton-Gillingham methods, in which each student receives individualized support for reading growth. Students explore writing topics in a workshop model and enjoy collaborating to build authentic writing skills. Math time is similarly collaborative, with students discussing and exploring concepts to build a flexible, deep understanding of mathematics. Students also explore science, social studies, and spiritual growth throughout the year. 


Second Grade

Second graders spend their day immersed in tailoring instruction to meet them where they are and hands-on activities. In second grade there is a focus on the importance of respect, resilience, independence, and critical thinking about the world around them. Throughout the year, students will be introduced to and master a variety of academic skills. Two things that are unique to second grade include artist studies and sewing projects. Alongside academics in the classroom, students will study a variety of artists, recreating their work and making sewing projects. Art and sewing encourage self-expression and creativity, as well as further develop fine motor skills.


Third Grade

Third grade students spend their day immersed in comprehensive lessons and activities. Reading and writing instruction is integrated with social studies and science. Lessons provide students with meaningful and engaging experiences that provide clarity, increase vocabulary, and encourage students to make connections as they 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 world around them.


Fourth Grade

Fourth Grade marks a significant turning point in a child’s academic journey. In Fourth Grade, students show an increased sense of self and responsibility for their learning as they transition into a more in-depth exploration of subject-area concepts. Fourth graders learn how to manage time and academic expectations, identify their own learning styles and dive deeper into their own academic interests. Fourth graders, as lifelong learners and problem-solvers, are expected to be active and critical thinkers, work cooperatively with their peers, and develop their academic stamina in preparation for Middle School.

Middle School

Sixth through Eighth Grade

Middle School includes 6th, 7th, and 8th grades. Students learn practical application of concepts and themes as well as integration of concrete knowledge with broader concepts, in order to prepare them for high school. 



English Language Arts consists of reading, vocabulary, writing, grammar, and spelling instruction. With six close reading questions as guides, students read a wide range of novels.  They then lead discussions designed to help them find deeper meaning and daily parallels.    Writing is a blend of cross-curricular composition (math, science, and social studies) and writer’s workshop. Spelling and grammar entail nightly homework, while reading, writing, and vocabulary instruction take place in the classroom. 



In middle school at ESN, students learn science by doing science. Students use an inquiry approach to ask questions and solve problems about the natural world. They navigate their own way through the Next Generation Science Standards by finding connections to their own interests in the physical sciences, life sciences, Earth and space sciences, engineering, and technology. We work closely with the other middle school subjects to put science in a personal and historical perspective.



Middle School math follows a rigorous curriculum, in order to build critical foundational skills and instill a love of mathematics.  Students build number sense and work on concepts of measurement and data, fractions, algebraic thinking, and geometry. Math is a series of concepts that provides a basis for logical reasoning and problem-solving. Math class gives students an opportunity to develop good mental habits, including flexibility in approaching problems, rational thinking, searching for real-life applications, and welcoming collaboration. 


Social Studies

Social Studies at ESN is designed to help students become thoughtful, engaged citizens, who can understand both current and historical events from multiple perspectives. Their Social Studies curriculum explores Tennessee, U.S, and World History, with the primary goals of inspiring curiosity about the world around them, building background knowledge, developing research, writing and critical thinking skills, learning to follow their interests, and engaging in critical analysis or current events. Through hands-on projects, integrated research units, and field trips/community engagement, we’ll explore how history has shaped the world we live in as we strive to be the most inclusive, thoughtful and engaged citizens we can be.