Lower School Core
Grades TK-2 Language Arts
In the primary classes, the language arts program incorporates phonics and spelling instruction, authentic literature, and writing to develop reading fluency, a love for reading, and basic communication skills. Teachers rely on whole group and small group activities that focus on individual reading levels to reinforce and extend decoding and comprehension skills. Using high-level and engaging literature, students explore concepts that are integrated across the curriculum. As the basis of the writing instruction, the writing process involves brainstorming and other prewriting activities, drafts, revisions, and publishing. Students are encouraged to use writing as a means of self-expression. Vocabulary and grammar instruction provides students with the tools they need to read and write effectively.
Grades TK-2 Math
Through guided practice, skill building activities, games, centers, and activities integrated with other subject areas, transitional kindergarten through second grade students come to see that math is everywhere in their world. Math instruction in the primary grades gives students the tools they need to be able to use math in their everyday lives. Students work at mastering concepts using manipulatives including geoboards. Problem solving activities encourage them to use logical thinking and to look for many ways to find answers. The main areas of focus are numeration, computation, algebraic thinking, geometry, measurement, and graphing.
Grades TK-2 Social Studies
The primary goal of social studies in transitional kindergarten through second grade is to encourage students to explore their world. Students learn about geography and different cultures and begin to recognize and appreciate similarities and differences among cultural groups. Group discussions, projects, and hands-on activities provide opportunities for students to examine communities and to practice respect and responsibility.
Grades TK-2 Science
In science, transitional kindergarten through second grade students begin to understand the world we live in by exploring earth, health, life, and physical science. Using hands-on experiments, center activities, discussions, literature, field trips, projects, and weekly science lab classes, teachers encourage students to think critically and to apply their scientific understanding to the world around them. Topics studied include plants and animals, weather, matter, geology, and astronomy.
Grades 3-5 Language Arts
While fostering a love for reading and writing, the language arts program in the upper elementary grades builds on the basic skills taught in the primary grades and prepares students for the challenges of middle school. At each grade level, students read and respond to a variety of literary genres, and reading selections focus on concepts that encourage real-world connections. Students apply their grammar and vocabulary skills to various forms of writing, including writing descriptive essays, research reports, narratives, mysteries, and poetry. Instruction in language arts is integrated with other subjects so that students can examine common themes across the curriculum and can make connections to ideas that they are studying in other subject areas.
Grades 3-5 Math
Teachers in grades 3 through 5 employ a variety of strategies, including written practice, small group activities, skill drills, and games, to foster mathematical intuition and understanding. The math program stresses problem solving and real-life applications, and mathematical processes are applied across the curriculum so that students begin to see the power of mathematics in their lives. Math topics explored include numeration, operations and computation, patterns, algebraic thinking and algebra readiness, fractions, decimals, measurement, and geometry.
Grades 3-5 Social Studies
In social studies, third through fifth graders work toward an understanding of the world around them and their roles in it. By examining communities, both near and far as well as present and past, students come to understand geographic, political, economic, and social concepts and systems, and they are able to make comparisons across place and time using their knowledge and experiences.
Grades 3-5 Science
The science program in grades three through five encourages students to explore the world around them as they focus on the systems and patterns that provide order to it. In order to cultivate students' scientific understandings and skills, teachers rely on a mixture of instructional strategies: demonstrations, hands-on experiments, lectures, videos, readings, guest speakers, projects, and field trips. In addition to their regular classroom instruction, students also work in the science lab once per week to further apply their skills and knowledge, and they use technology to research questions, analyze data, and present findings. Classes visit the North Carolina Museum of Life and Science to supplement their classroom studies.
Grades TK-5 Spanish
The Spanish program begins in transitional kindergarten and encourages students to make connections between Spanish language and cultures and their own language and cultures. Students at all grade levels sing, dance, move, draw, read, and write as they develop Spanish language skills and understanding. In addition, math, social studies, literacy, music, and art are integrated into the Spanish program.