Lower Elementary Program

Grades 1 – 3, Ages 6 – 9 Years Old

The Curriculum

The Early Childhood classroom offers your child 5 areas of study: Practical Life, Sensorial, Math, Language, and Cultural Studies. What are the lessons in these areas?

1. Math

Numerical quantities, numerical symbols, place value, even/odd, concept of zero, rounding

Addition, subtraction, multiplication, division concepts and operations, memorization of math facts, exploration of numerical patterns

Concept of fractions, naming/vocabulary, equivalence study, operations with like denominators, intro to mixed numbers

Linear (standard and metric), time (analog, calendar), money (value, adding, subtracting), temperature, weight

Hands-on exploration of shapes (lines, angles, plane figures), congruency, similarity, equivalence

Problem Solving
Word problems and critical thinking problems, estimating, graphing (bar, line), patterns and relationships, games

2. Language

Learning to Read
Sound/symbol relationships (phonetic reading), sight words and contextual clues (reading fluency), reading comprehension, vocabulary/spelling, introduction to research and reference materials

Language Skills
Word study, parts of speech, parts of the sentence

Communications Skills
Listening, storytelling, shared literature, oral presentations

Writing Skills
Handwriting (print and cursive), fiction and non-fiction writing, the writing process (drafting, revising, editing, publishing)

3. Cultural Studies

Time (calendars, clocks, timelines), creation myths, evolution, pre- history

The Big Bang theory, origins of the universe, three states of matter, energy, laws of attraction and gravity, sun and solar system concepts, the Five Kingdoms of Life, external and internal parts/body functions of plants and animals, classification and nomenclature

Continents, land and water forms, countries, capitals, flags, map skills

4. Practical Life

Children learn daily-life skills, such as how to get dressed, prepare snacks, set the table, and care for plants and animals. They also learn appropriate social interactions, such as saying please and thank-you, being kind and helpful, listening without interrupting, and resolving conflicts peacefully. In addition to teaching specific skills, Practical Life activities promote independence, and fine- and gross-motor coordination. Children learn how take care and nourish school pets and all plants in VMA’s edible garden.

5. Sensorial

Children refine skills in perceiving the world through their different senses, and learn how to describe and name their experiences—for example, rough and smooth, perceived through touch. Sensorial learning helps children classify their surroundings and create order. It lays the foundation for learning by developing the ability to classify, sort, and discriminate—skills necessary in math, geometry, and language.