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The Curriculum

Grades One Through Five

We guide our students to develop the understanding and habits of mind needed to become independent learners who are able to transfer the skills and competencies learned to new and unfamiliar situations.
 
Grades One through Five provide a strong foundation for success in our Middle and Upper divisions. Our vertically integrated curricular program starts here and is designed by our Lower School faculty to lead seamlessly into Sixth Grade.

List of 8 items.

  • Art and Music

    A well-rounded education includes extensive exposure to art and music which allows children to make connections across disciplines, to develop interests and skills in a number of subjects and to build a rich, expansive world view through the arts. Faculty trained in art and music education provide an integrated, vertical curriculum and teach in spaces specifically designed for these subjects. The time and space given to these subjects reflects the high value we place on these curricular areas as part of the Lower School experience and helps children learn to express themselves outside of the classroom. In fifth grade, the art and music curriculum culminates in a year-long, integrated “Creating Original Opera” program in which students write, compose, design and perform their own opera.
  • Community Service

    The concept of a larger world and the need to help others is introduced in the Lower School. Children collect food and toys for the needy and participate in relief efforts. Fifth graders who want to run a fundraising campaign must first present their idea and plan to a Senior Leader of the Fundraising Council which exposes them to Upper School students who are adept at fundraising and who help them polish their plan.
  • Health and Wellness

    Health and Wellness classes provide a time for students to be active, to age-appropriately learn to problem solve, to collaborate and to develop motor and planning skills in the setting of traditional and nontraditional games. There is always an emphasis on having fun and learning about good sportsmanship.

  • Library

    A well-coordinated library program and well-stocked library supports all areas of the Lower School curriculum. While each class has its own classroom library, additional resources in the library ensure the Lower School has ample literature to support a wide range of interests and curriculum topics. The librarian introduces readers to new genres, unfamiliar authors, contemporary texts and works closely with teachers to match books to readers and writers. To meet the needs and interests of young readers, the library pays close attention to both fiction and non-fiction.
  • Science

    The Science curriculum is a vital part of the Lower School curriculum. Instead of science experienced through a textbook, Lower School children in our “Exploratorium” science classroom investigate the natural world outside their classroom, generate questions and search for answers. Students begin to develop the skills and habits of minds to be active and engaged problem solvers in an increasingly complex world. As part of the science curriculum, the Lower School garden is a resource for understanding and appreciating the natural world, as well as a concrete way to focus on sustainability.
  • Social Studies

    The Social Studies curriculum is organized around “big ideas” that students encounter with increasing complexity as they move through the Lower School. How communities allocate resources can guide a first grade study of houses and homes, and similarly focus a fourth grade study of World Peace Games. By organizing units around questions first and then skills and content, we communicate to students that learning about the past is inquiry-based: by asking and exploring good questions, we delve deeper into the topic.
  • Spanish

    Lower School students begin studying Spanish in our early childhood program. The focus of language instruction is meaningful and purposeful communication, thus language classes are conducted primarily in Spanish with opportunities for students to understand and speak Spanish, with grammatical mastery following later. Students are regularly exposed to Spanish-speaking culture from around the world, past and present. Simulations such as ordering in a restaurant, asking for directions, and describing the weather promote a comfort level with speaking and a willingness to take risks as students learn a new language.
  • Technology

    There are specific technology skills at each grade level, and technology is embedded into all areas of the curriculum. Lower School students use technology in ways that support creativity, critical thinking, and promote the sharing of ideas in new and flexible ways. iPads and laptops are readily available for students, and SMART boards, as well as wireless classrooms, integrate the use of technology into all aspects of the classroom.

List of 2 items.

  • Literacy

    The Lower School literacy program believes the “how” of teaching is as important as the “what,” and central to the “how” is the idea of community.
     
    In our classrooms, teachers build communities based on high expectations, trusting relationships and the willingness to honor and celebrate the needs of a full range of learners.
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  • Mathematics

    Solving problems is at the heart of the Lower School mathematics curriculum. We place consistent emphasis on deep understanding of essential math concepts and mastery of age-appropriate skills at each grade level – all accomplished through child-centered activities and contexts.
     
    We help our students connect their experiences of the real world with the skills they need to solve complex problems with understanding and facility.
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I have had many great experiences in the time that I have been here at the Lower School, including math, field trips, and projects. It will be hard to leave the Lower School but it has prepared me well and I am ready for Middle School.
- Jlsang
Located in Englewood, New Jersey, Dwight-Englewood is a greater New York City area private school with a rigorous college prep curriculum for boys and girls in preschool through grade 12.