Kindergarten - Grade 5
The Academic Program in Kindergarten through Grade 5 engages girls in active exploration of the world around them. Our curriculum is designed to reflect their interests and broaden their experiences. As they ask questions and seek answers, they are encouraged to see themselves as life-long learners.
The goal of our literacy program is to develop active, critical, and enthusiastic readers and writers. The girls study and read a range of fiction and non-fiction, learning about characteristics of genres and authors as well as structure of texts. They develop an appreciation of the range of literature, widen their perspectives, and engage in the research process multiple times each year. Reading and writing occur daily across curricular areas. Whether explaining a mathematical process, arguing persuasively, or writing creatively, the girls focus on the goal of effective communication through development of their own voices and style.
Our social studies program encompasses three areas: the study of peoples across time and places, current events, and service learning. Girls deepen their knowledge of the world by studying cultures and civilizations both present and past and grapple with social justice issues though current event issue and each class’ service project. Field trips and guest speakers complement the girls’ classroom work.
Lower School: Our main goals are to refine pronunciation through repetition and exposure to the specific sounds of the language, to gain cultural awareness about the people and places where the target language is spoken, and to reinforce the students’ knowledge of other subject areas, such as math and social studies, through integrated activities and tasks. Evidence of understanding is demonstrated by each individual's ability to complete a task at her own pace successfully rather than by grade level objectives.
In grades 1 through 5 oral and aural communication are emphasized with a steady increase of exposure to the skills of reading and writing in the target language. To maintain these goals, there is no set curriculum per grade, but rather the teacher builds and expands the vocabulary, communicative functions and embedded structures in new contexts so that the students can reinforce their understanding of the target language while being presented with a variety of topics. 5th Grade students will visit the language lab in the Middle School building to reinforce their listening comprehension skills.
Lower School uses the Math In Focus (Singapore Math) program as its foundation. The program balances mastery of basic skills with conceptual understanding. Students develop number sense through explicit instruction in mental math strategies, problem solving strategies, and the mathematical properties that underlie algorithms and strategies. We emphasize reasoning and communication of ideas throughout the program.
The Lower School science program is hands-on and lab-based. Students learn the scientific process through engaging in and creating experiments. Teamwork is an essential aspect of the science program, and the girls conduct labs and solve problems creatively, think critically about concepts, and articulate their ideas and findings with increasing precision in their science notebooks. Through activities such as designing musical instruments, building robots, and engineering bridges, the girls develop an understanding of the interdisciplinary nature of science. A hallmark of our science program is the Marine Science strand: Each grade studies an aspect of the ocean using Narragansett Bay as our laboratory, and through our partnership with Save the Bay each grade level engages in hands-on experiences on the Bay multiple times per year.
In the Lower School, the technology program is project-based. Through collaborative partnerships between classroom teachers and specialists, skills are integrated and developed within the framework of the curriculum. Students come to the lab with their teachers as projects develop throughout the year.
Students in Kindergarten visit the Studio in small groups for creative exploration and discovery. The materials students work with in the Studio are rich and varied, and include fine art materials, found objects from the natural world, and recyclable materials.
In grades 1-5, girls learn to express and communicate their ideas through various techniques and forms of artistic expression. They study styles and artists from various time periods and cultures and work in a variety of media.
The music program builds a foundation of musical knowledge and an appreciation for music of various styles and cultures. In Grade 3, the girls study the recorder, and in Grade 4 the ukulele. The music program explicitly teaches public speaking and performance technique, and the girls polish their skills through both informal presentations and formal concerts and performances.
The library program fosters a love of reading in the students. Each class visits the library at a weekly scheduled time for read-alouds and checking out of books. In fourth grade, the girls participate in The Battle of the Books and in fifth grade The Rooster Games. The students also utilize the library’s resources for research, a skill that is team-taught by the librarian, tech specialist, and classroom teacher.
A healthy body complements a healthy mind, and our PE program builds the knowledge, skills, and motivation for a lifetime of health and fitness. PE class emphasizes team work, fair play and winning – or losing – gracefully.