Curriculum Tree

We’re more than cells, bones, and the digestive tract.

Elementary 1 studied those, but they also explored gender, race, and physical ability. A Common School parent and Mount Holyoke College professor taught students about the development of embryos with life-sized models of a growing fetus. Another parent, and hospital prosthetist, showed students some of the prosthetics he makes to help people with different physical needs gain independence. A book by Bell Hooks called Skin Again got students thinking about melanin, which gives skin its color. This led to a discussion about the ways people are often unfairly and inaccurately judged based on skin color.

Melanin is “one small way to trace my identity,” says author Bell Hooks, and “will always just be a cover. It cannot tell my story.”

Elementary Years Curriculum

Elementary 1: Age 8-10
Elementary 2: Age 10-12

Students per class: 18-24
Teachers per class: 2

Elementary kids are becoming self-motivated, independent learners, ready for more formal instruction. They’re refining critical thinking skills as they carry out research projects, take on new leadership roles in the school, and consider current events. As they craft their writing, explore new aspects of mathematics, and negotiate social situations, they develop a solid base of skills that will serve them in middle school, and for years to come.

A Quick Peek into Elementary Classrooms

  • At this age, friends are very important. We support children as they learn to navigate the ups and downs of friendship, appreciate the points of view of others, and manage peer pressure.
  • Elementary students are ready to tackle more sophisticated and abstract subject matter in all areas. For example, during our geology and climate change study, teachers encourage them to think in geologic time and examine various models to grasp the idea of “deep time.” They take the same approach to astronomy. The concept of light years always captures their imaginations.
  • Students take on increasingly complex, long-term projects. They might write a two-paragraph report on a favorite animal or create an interactive museum exhibit to share a personal interest.
  • Elementary students are ready to read to learn. They join literature groups and begin to comprehend a variety of texts. Our teachers consider each student’s reading level and learning profile as they create literature and word study groups.
  • Students learn to manage an increasing homework load during their elementary years—but they don’t do it alone. Teachers are there to guide them in developing the habits they’ll need this year, and in the future.