Children in Kindergarten experience what it means to be part of a group moving toward common goals. Courtesy toward others and respect for materials and possessions are prevalent themes each day. Project lessons integrate core academics--literacy, the arts, math, social studies, and science. Through work and play students participate in theme-based lessons that are enlivened with singing, drama, cooking, handwork, and gardening. Our holistic learning environment encourages students to learn through discovery and draw meaning from the experience.
First grade students continue with a curriculum infused with an on-going theme they can relate to--fairy tales. With this genre as their guide, students work through math and literacy themes. The study of phonics, letter formation, and various forms of story writing, punctuation and capitalization take place. Math concepts are introduced and active opportunities to work with the four processes of arithmetic are plentiful. In addition, students practice skip counting as well as simple forms of graphing and problem solving. Science themes include insects, butterflies, plants, the solar system, liquids, and dinosaurs. Other main lesson themes related to social studies actively engage the child’s imagination as they "travel" to Alaska, the Rain Forest, and the Kingdom of Numeria. Play is still a primary element of learning and learning is integrated within the play.
Second grade children study myths, fables, folktales, and Native American legends. These are themes that resonate with their growing imaginations. Many stories introduce the children to unique personalities and provide lessons to support the development of character. Literacy studies continue as children begin to work with the elements of a story, the writing process, and the art of form drawing. The four processes of arithmetic are strengthened and developed further with regards to word problems, place value, number patterns, and data gathering and analysis. In science, children explore the world of bees, the life cycle of the salmon, and schoolyard ecology.
By third grade, themes revolve around the child’s more concrete way of thinking. Studies include agriculture, human habitats, community studies and cultures from around the world. Form drawing makes a connection to cursive writing and literacy leads to more in-depth work with grammar and language mechanics. Modes of writing, parts of speech, topic sentences and paragraph structure are explored during main lesson blocks. In math, multiplication tables, measurement, common fractions, decimals, redistribution, number patterns, prime numbers and geometry are covered. Science themes include energy and forces of gravity, agriculture, water cycles, gardening, aquatic habitats and beach ecology.
Fourth grade is a time of understanding who we are as a people, and our relationship to our not-so-distant past. Students journey along the Oregon Trail, encounter the history of the Northwest , and study our own community’s connection to this history. Local geography, mapmaking, and stories of indigenous people are part of these main lessons. Continued work in literacy includes the introduction of Norse and Finnish sagas. Formal study of verb tenses, letter writing, personal pronouns, poetry and alliteration are also covered. Arithmetic concepts are reviewed and estimation, place value, fractions, factoring, perimeter, area, and volume are explored. Science themes include animal kingdoms, magnetism, and electrical circuits.
Ancient civilizations are emphasized in fifth grade. A survey of world history from Persia, Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Greece is explored through the myths, writings, art, and architecture from each time period. A study of these important early governments would not be complete without a study of our own current situation. Therefore, the 50 States and a basic study of American government forms yet another block of themes. Writing becomes the focus in literacy studies as children are taught the framework for writing research papers. Skills include improving voice, conventions, word choice, fluency, ideas, and organization. Math studies revolve around mastering decimals, percentages, and fractions. Of equal importance are the study of mixed numerals, ratios and proportion, and data collection and analysis through graphing techniques. Geometry is also introduced, along with the metric system. In science, inquiry based learning provides the framework for studies in botany, open oceans, states of matter, weather conditions, erosion, and irrigation. The main lesson format also allows for integration of science and geography throughout the year.
Sixth grade studies are designed to inspire the intellect, stir the emotions, and harness the physical abilities of the young adolescent. Roman and medieval history is surveyed, as students study the fall of Troy, the Roman republic and empire, the advent of Christianity, The Crusades, and the rise of Islam. In science, astronomy, geology, mineralogy, and physics (acoustics, optics, thermal energy) are explored. Students learn to use compasses and rulers to create precise geometric forms, including hexagons, dodecagons, pentagons, and 24-sided polygons. In math, students deepen their knowledge of pre-algebra, algebra, business math, and geometry. The language arts focus during this year is writing for various purposes, including research, creative writing, and preparation for debates.
Seventh grade students often grapple with understanding the changes taking place in their lives. This makes it the perfect time to study the critical changes that have taken place during important historical eras. The Middle Ages, Age of Exploration, Renaissance and Reformation form the basis of main lesson themes. Literacy skills are strengthened using stories related to theses themes. Writing activities also relate to main lesson content. The geography and cultural history of Asia, Africa and South America expand the students’ understanding of our complex world. Math studies include perspective drawing through geometry and architectural design, algebra and its historical origins, and applications of geometry and algebra in real life. In science, students are introduced to chemistry, physics, anatomy, heredity, and nutrition.
Our studies come around full circle as eighth graders explore mankind’s ability to forge headlong into new and often life-changing experiences. Historical studies center on the French Revolution, the Colonial era, the American Revolution, the Industrial Revolution, and 19th century American history. Research reports, creative writing and short story formation continue to build advanced literacy skills. Mock trials and debates provide avenues for values clarification while strengthening skills in oral presentation. Students prepare for high school math with continued work in geometry and algebra. Science topics include magnetism, electricity, meteorology, human physiology and the nervous system.