Curriculum by Grade
Three year olds naturally wonder about the world around them. The Preprimary curriculum reflects the various interests of the children in a hands-on, nurturing, and stimulating learning environment.
Preprimary children have continual opportunities to explore, try new things, learn, and grow. They become excited learners and build a solid social, emotional, and academic foundation. Through structured and unstructured play, students interact, express their ideas, problem solve, and develop self-awareness. Math-readiness and pre-literacy activities are woven into the curriculum in developmentally appropriate ways throughout the school day, and each week, students participate in Specials classes—Library, Music, Physical Education, and Spanish—that complement the classroom activities.
Play gives children opportunities to understand the world,
interact with others in social ways, express and control emotions,
and develop their symbolic capabilities.
—National Association on Educating Young Children Position Paper on Developmentally Appropriate Practice
The Primary curriculum is guided by the interests of the students, and children explore subject matter through short- and long-term projects, class discussions, and small-group collaborations. The emergent curriculum allows children to become "experts" in an age-appropriate manner.
Primary students are encouraged to share their own thoughts, ideas, and theories, as well as to listen, reflect and respond to others. Unstructured play continues to provide opportunities for students to develop cognitively, socially, physically, and emotionally. As they mature, creative play also fosters the executive function skills necessary to be successful in school.
Math-readiness and pre-literacy are integrated throughout the day in both small- and large-group experiences. Each week students also participate in Specials Classes (Art, Library, Music, Physical Education, and Spanish) that further enrich the curriculum.
Primary children gain a love of learning, an introduction to academics, a greater sense of confidence and an ability to cooperate with peers.
The Kindergarten program balances structured work time with rich and varied opportunities for play.
Children learn to work and play independently and collaboratively, and develop new skills and work habits. They experience individual, small-group, and whole-class activities daily. Throughout the year, students are engaged in various thematic studies that focus on what it means to be a member of a family, the community, and a citizen of the world.
The rich Kindergarten literacy program capitalizes on the inherent enthusiasm of our students and encourages creative expression. Many students either learn to read or refine emerging skills during the Kindergarten year. From the very first day of school, the children are encouraged to express themselves through the written word and think of themselves as writers.
The mathematics program in Kindergarten emphasizes hands-on, experiential learning. Students explore mathematical concepts using concrete materials, drawings, literature, games, and songs. They begin to recognize mathematics in their daily lives and express ideas using mathematical language.
We continue to encourage a love of learning as students enhance their academic and social skills, and become increasingly aware of what it means to be a successful student. Each week, Kindergarten students participate in Specials classes—Art, Library, Music, Physical Education, Science, and Spanish—that further enrich the curriculum.
First Grade students explore broader concepts and refine their academic skills while they continue to learn and practice through play.
Flexible, ability-based, small- and whole-group instruction allows students to work at their own level in both reading and math. Small reading groups meet daily and include formal reading instruction using leveled trade books, comprehension strategies, and vocabulary work. Words Their Way is incorporated for word study using varied modalities to teach spelling and phonics patterns.
Writing Workshop is an integral piece of the First Grade curriculum. Students learn the writing process by creating a draft and revising, editing, and publishing works in nonfiction, fiction, and poetry.
The mathematics program in First Grade centers problem-solving and conceptual understanding. Through the Math in Focus curriculum, students develop a deep understanding of foundational concepts. They use concrete materials to explore number patterns and operations, geometric shapes, measurement, and data. Math games, as well as partner and small group work, encourage collaboration and flexible thinking. Students also begin to use pictures and mathematical symbols to communicate their reasoning.
In Social Studies, First Grade students travel on "Air Concord Hill" to deepen their understanding of children around the world, comparing and contrasting different cultures through a study of customs, art, geography, language, music, and literature.
Each week First Grade students also participate in Specials classes—Art, Library, Music, Physical Education, Science, and Spanish—that further enrich the curriculum.
The Second Grade curriculum solidifies academic concepts and organizational skills introduced in previous years.
Second Grade students are encouraged and supported to create more sophisticated verbal and written responses in all subject areas. Students read more complex material in daily ability-based reading groups, and respond to literature through group discussions, written responses, and creative projects. Students conduct research with the use of kid-friendly websites, iPad apps, and resource materials. The Writing Workshop curriculum includes a mini lesson, teacher conference, and sharing written work aloud with peers. Students publish personal narratives, How-To Books, poetry, and research reports. The Words Their Way study program is continued for spelling instruction.
Mathematics in Second Grade continues to emphasize problem-solving and deep conceptual understanding. Through the Math in Focus curriculum, students extend their understanding of foundational concepts, including place value, addition and subtraction, geometric shapes, measurement, and data. They are also introduced to multiplication and division using concrete materials and real-world problems. Second Grade students develop more sophisticated models and equations to show their reasoning. Small group work and math games continue to encourage students to collaborate and consider new strategies.
In Social Studies, Second Grade students are immersed in an engaging, year-long study of Native Americans, further developing the concept of comparing and contrasting cultures. Through literature and hands-on exploration, students learn about the different food, clothing, shelter, customs, and history of several tribes. While learning about Native American regions, children also learn the geography of the United States. The year culminates in a state research report, which students share with the Concord Hill community during State Hats Day, a beloved school tradition performed during a Friday Morning Meeting.
Each week Second Grade students also participate in Specials classes—Art, Library, Music, Physical Education, Science, and Spanish—that further enrich the curriculum.
In Third Grade, students have the opportunity to practice their leadership skills through regular responsibilities—including leading Friday Morning Meetings, mentoring their Kindergarten reading buddies, and helping to clean up our playground—which foster a sense of self-confidence and independence.
Academic, organizational, and study skills are refined and solidified in preparation for the world beyond Concord Hill School. Students continue to read trade books where emphasis is placed on comprehension and critical analysis. Small- and large-group discussions about literature support their creation of individual written responses to demonstrate comprehension, and Words Their Way continues at a more advanced level.
Third Grade students continue to master the writing process by creating a first draft and revising, editing, and publishing a finished work. They learn about the structure of different genres and how to use language effectively. By the end of Third Grade students are able to proofread their own work, editing for correct spelling, punctuation, and grammar.
Mathematics in Third Grade explores increasingly complex concepts through problem-solving. Using the Math in Focus curriculum, students deepen and expand their understanding of whole number operations, fractions, geometry, measurement, and data. They also begin to solve multi-step problems involving all four operations. Students consider a range of strategies and begin to identify efficient, precise ways to solve problems. Whole class discussions, small group work, games, and independent practice give students problem-solving experience in a variety of contexts.
In Social Studies, Third Grade students learn about early explorers, colonization, and the American Revolution through reading and hands-on activities. Research is a large component of their study and they frequently use iPads, resource books, and primary and secondary sources. History is brought to life through Living History and Living Globally performances for the entire school community at a Friday Morning Meeting twice each school year. These performances not only showcase the students' Social Studies knowledge, but also demonstrate their role as school leaders and underscores their public speaking skills and self confidence.
Each week Third Grade students also participate in Specials classes—Art, Library, Music, Physical Education, Science, and Spanish—that further enrich the curriculum.