Elementary Curriculum

Elementary Curriculum By Subject

List of 10 items.


    Friends was founded as a school that honors children for both their unique gifts and their challenges.  We foster experiential learning while addressing the social and emotional development of each student, yielding a superior education. Below are a list of learner characteristics that guide our work with children.
    • Demonstrates a love of learning and is curious and questioning
    • Has a growth mindset
    • Asks for help when appropriate
    • Applies conflict resolution strategies
    • Makes voice heard in an appropriate way
    • Shows empathy
    • Initiates and joins play (K/1)
    • Sustains focus and engagement
    • Follows directions: oral and written
    • Handles transitions well
    • Does presented work with academic rigor
    • Demonstrates independent work habits
    • Demonstrates responsibility with assignments at school and at home
    • Is able to manage materials responsibly
    • Follows school and classroom agreements
    • Has consistent positive relationships with peers
    • Demonstrates resiliency in challenging situations

  • LITERACY (Reading, Writing, Speaking)

    The ability to communicate clearly, to read, to write, and to speak and listen, is a central component of an educated society.  Reading, writing and speaking transmit information.  They are essential tools for our success at home and in the workplace, for enriching and expanding our lives, and for creating knowledgeable citizens who can responsibly and effectively communicate ideas.  At all levels language arts is integrated into thematic units as well as math, science and social studies.  
    As a result, the focus of our literacy curriculum is: 
    • Developing awareness of language as a tool
    • Reading and understanding a variety of written material
    • Writing and speaking for a variety of purposes
    • Applying higher-level thinking skills to reading, writing, speaking and listening
    • Reading to select information from a variety of sources
    • Reading to enjoy literature 
    We utilize the workshop model in both reading and writing, and incorporate the Lucy Calkins curriculum into our work with children.  

  • MATH

    The Friends mathematics program strives to teach concepts in a variety of ways to ensure understanding by all students.  Students are given experiences that promote their ability to solve problems and that build mathematics from situations generated within the context of everyday experiences.  Students are expected to make conjectures and conclusions and to discuss their reasoning in both written and spoken form, with pictures, graphs, charts, and with manipulatives.  They are also asked to make connections between topics in mathematics, between the concrete and the abstract, between concepts and skills and between mathematics and other curricular areas.  We utilize the Investigations curriculum, with supplemental materials, and students receive small group instruction.


    Our science curriculum is designed around student interest, curiosity and wonder about the ordinary, yet extraordinary world around them.  Children explore, question, observe and are expected to discuss, elaborate and evaluate their findings in both written and spoken form.  Students learn about environmental, life, physical and earth science each year.  Our 2nd and 3rd grade classes and 4th and 5th grade classes study science together, giving students an opportunity to learn in multi-age groups.  Science explorations are supported through field trips with overnight experiences in the middle and upper elementary classes.


    Social studies is the study of social interaction and human culture in our past, present and future.  Our social studies units look at community, geography and civics.  We emphasize the following in our elementary social studies programs:
    • Developing a strong sense of community beginning with the self in Kindergarten and expanding through the grades to international affairs and current events to develop social awareness
    • Participating in class and school wide service learning projects
    • Facilitating individual country studies and integrated projects
    • Celebrating school wide activities such as May Day, Earth Day, Winter and Harvest 
    Our 2nd and 3rd grade classes and 4th and 5th grade classes study social studies together, giving students an opportunity for multi-age learning experiences.  


    Spanish at Friends School is intended to introduce students to the language and culture of Spanish speaking countries.  Students will leave the program with a fluency level of novice-low to novice-high based on the ACTFL language proficiency guidelines. Students will have an introduction to frequently used structures and phrases in the Spanish language and have some knowledge and understanding about Spanish and Latino cultures.  The following tenets guide our teaching practice.
    • Spanish language and culture lessons should be relevant to children’s lives
    • Language is best learned when it is enjoyable and not based on memorizing grammar and structural patterns
    • Language learning begins with input (listening/reading) and eventually extends to output (speaking/writing)
    • Students are engaged in all modalities: auditory, kinesthetic, visual; to ensure success for all learning styles
    • Language is used for different purposes including: interpretive, interpersonal and presentational tasks
    • Language is not static
    • Humans have an innate language acquisition process
    • Language is the means by which cultures reflect upon their experiences and knowledge
    • Language is a key factor in the development of international understanding and acceptance
    • Learning two or more languages is a powerful tool that gives students access to the global community
    • Learning two or more languages nurtures brain growth and development that mono-lingual brains do not demonstrate


    Music at Friends is meant to be both enjoyable and content oriented.  Our goal is that children have fun while learning musical skills through age appropriate activities.  We want all students to have enough skill and background knowledge to appreciate and engage with a wide variety of music from a wide variety of cultures.  Our program is based on a balanced and comprehensive approach.  Major themes addressed include:
    • Rhythm
    • Melody
    • Musical terms
    • Performance skills
    • Reading music
    • Song form
    • Culture
    Children play games, sing songs, and play instruments, all the while developing their rhythmic and melodic skills, learning musical vocabulary, reading music and developing an understanding of song form and music from other cultures.  Performances are often used as a goal toward which we work for an extended period of time.  During rehearsals students have the opportunity to solidify skills they are learning.

  • ART

    Art is a universal language.  Art at Friends School is an outlet for creativity and self-expression; a channel for communication; a way to express intelligence; a means for deepening connections between people; and a vehicle for enhancing cross-cultural, historical, and global understanding.  Every child will create art as part of integrated units of study and simply for art’s sake.  Every child will explore a wide-range of materials, media, and techniques while studying artists, art history, and world cultures.  A primary goal is for each child to see her/himself as an artist.  Because our art program is so project focused vs. product focuses, students across the grade levels are assessed on the following criteria: 
    • Uses class time to complete projects and contributes to discussions
    • Demonstrates respect for the work, feelings and opinions of others
    • Artwork demonstrates personal interpretation
    • Art mediums are used correctly and respectfully
    • Demonstrates a basic understanding of art concepts discussed in class
    • Demonstrates an attention to detail and craftsmanship


    The Physical Education program is directed foremost at developing lifelong learners.  Emphasis is on developing individual competencies, skills and team building rather than on competition.  Student goals are in three areas: head, hand, and heart.  Activities are planned using goals from all three areas every day.
    • Head- game rules and strategies, problem-solving, and creativity
    • Hand- perceptual-motor skills, sport skills, and fitness
    • Heart- positive attitude, sportsmanship, and teamwork
    The PE curriculum is based on developmental benchmarks and perceptual-motor skills and uses exposure to a variety of sports to accomplish these goals.  An example of this is the hand-eye coordination unit.  During the unit, students engage in sports like Ultimate Frisbee, football, or volleyball as well as other challenge activities, all of which include throwing and catching.  The balance unit, on the other hand, includes activities like gymnastics, circus stunts, activities to increase core strength, and team challenges that require static and dynamic balance to complete.


    Updating curriculum description coming Fall 2017