Our Upper Elementary classes continue to emphasize abstract thinking and independent learning. Students engage their abilities to grasp more complex and abstract concepts, including their roles and responsibilities in the functions of society. Hands-on activities broaden in scope and include practical application outside the classroom; they weigh options, examine contradictory evidence, tolerate differing opinions, and make connections based on conceptual learning and personal experience. Students are provided resources to engage a global understanding of history, politics, environmentalism, race and ethnicity. Encouragement and opportunities for self-expression and exploration are bolstered by the support from teachers through rigorous skill development. Independence, cooperation, and self-discipline emphasize the student’s ability to concentrate, collaborate, think critically and work productively within their learning environment and beyond. Additionally, students continue nurturing their comfort with their outdoor environment and begin to seek specialized interests in nature. Maria Montessori wrote that “work on the land is an introduction both to nature and civilization and gives a limitless field for scientific and historical studies.” We believe studying the natural world, collecting and analyzing data, exploring stewardship and engaging in problem-solving activities is essential for adolescents. Experiential education and field learning are an integral part of the Junior High curriculum.
Core Curriculum Includes:
Spanish – The number of reading and writing activities increases and students are given materials designed to improve conversation skills, verb conjugations, grammar understanding and vocabulary retention.
Writing – Students develop an understanding of the keys to composition such as voice, word choice, sentence fluency and the steps in the writing process. More advanced classification of all the parts of speech including grammar and syntax. Word study is explored at a deeper level through word derivations, analogies, figures of speech and literary expression.
Reading – Teachers often read aloud and students learn to take organized notes and summarize what they have heard. Sharing of ideas and reading aloud by students is also done daily to aid the development of both listening and speaking. Traditional reading comprehension passages are given, and students begin to practice more advanced dictionary use.
Cultural Studies – Students delve deeper into physical geography, such as learning map-reading skills and using a compass. Students also further develop their education on world cultures and their global perspective. They explore worldwide production, consumption and trade of various resources and goods. Students apply their cultural knowledge by participating in the National Geographic Bee each year from 4th through 6th grade.
STEAM Program – (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math)
Science – Further exploration into physical and life science — examples of the former include astronomy, earth science, chemistry and physics. Examples of the latter include taxonomy, zoology, botany, human biology, and the basic tools of science.
Art – The focus of the study of art is on exploring the expressive qualities and meaning behind an artists’ work. Students are encouraged to research, discuss and share information about past and present artists and artworks. Through critiques and discussions with their peers, students are encouraged to develop critical thought and support their interpretations and opinions when it comes to art.
Mathematics – Further explorations of the decimal system; multiples and factors; geometry; fractions, decimals, percent’s, money, ratios and probability; powers of numbers and roots; measurements; statistics; pre-algebra and order of operations.
Physical Education – Students are now beginning to demonstrate more advanced skills and movement proficiency, allowing more competitive sports to be played such as baseball, volleyball, basketball, soccer and hockey. In addition to physical fitness, students acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to engage in an active lifestyle and reduce health risks.