Lower school  > Curriculum

         

Language Arts

The Pre-K through third grade reading program, Imagine It!, is a comprehensive reading, writing, and learning program, designed using thoroughly researched instructional reading strategies.  The research base used to develop Imagine It! spans more than 45 years, significantly longer than most other reading programs.  Its development included feedback, advice, and the best practices of 45 years of classroom experience.  This experience, coupled with the most up-to-date educational and reading research, has resulted in that program that is highly effective.

Imagine It! is a program that

  • develops confident reading by building a solid foundation through print and phonemic awareness activities and explicit, systematic phonics instruction.
  • builds fluency through instruction that focuses on accuracy and rate.
  • increases vocabulary knowledge through exposure, instruction, and the opportunity to apply these new words in reading, writing, and discussion.
  • engages students in constructing meaning through the teaching and application of comprehension strategies and skills as well as discussions.
  • incorporates writing and language arts skills, including spelling, vocabulary, and penmanship, through explicit instruction and meaningful practice applications.
  • includes quality, thought-provoking fictional and nonfictional literature to create a classroom environment in which students explore, discuss, and research ideas.
  • develops an understanding of the Inquiry process that provides students with the tools to become independent, self-directed learners.
  • uses ePresentation instructional tools, online lessons, and integrates eInquiry for each unit for grades Pre-K-3.



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Mathematics

Fayetteville Academy uses Progress in Mathematics for first through fifth grade, a research based curriculum that reflects the most current pedagogical elements identified through scientific research.  This program places a key emphasis on the development of higher-order thinking skills and fluency while encouraging students to reflect on the mathematical process and patterns as well as their own ideas.

 

Progress in Mathematics is a program that

 

  • ensures careful sequencing of all topics, ensuring that there are no gaps in instruction.
  • introduces concepts and skills in a concrete setting, proceeding to the abstract application.
  • assist students in learning to value and communicate mathematically.
  • helps students become confident of their mathematical abilities.
  • incorporates the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics, including the eight Mathematical Practice Standards
    • make sense of problems & persevere in solving them.
    • reason abstractly and quantitatively.
    • construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.
    • model with mathematics.
    • use appropriate tools strategically.
    • attend to precision.
    • look for and make use of structure.
    • look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning.


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Science
The Lower School features a unique elementary science program. Beginning in pre-kindergarten, children receive specialized science instruction from two Lower School science instructors in our two Lower School science labs. Children benefit from hands-on experiential-based science instruction.

Accepting the premise that a major goal of education is the development of thinking and reasoning skills, science is an ideal discipline through which progress can be made toward attainment of this goal. The nature of science enables the student to discover, through active participation, relationships between mankind and the world in which we live. Another way of simply stating it is, "Experience is the best teacher." Concepts learned through personal experience tend to be better learned than those acquired through strictly didactic methods. More important than the content of the elementary science curriculum is the process through which children explore the world, a process which lends itself to other disciplines as well.

Throughout the science curriculum, we attempt to make science an enjoyable subject by tapping the natural interest and curiosity of the child. Particularly in science, there can and should be major reliance on "hands on" learning, involving children in manipulative activities that focus on experimental inquiry. This methodology is in keeping with our beliefs pertaining to the developmental needs of children, and it is consistent with the teaching mode of the other academic disciplines.  For grades 1-5, we use the Houghton-Mifflin elementary science program.

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Social Studies

One aspect of our social studies program for grades Pre-K-3 is built around research themes from the Imagine It! reading program.  These themes include Helping Hands, Homes, Making a New Nation, and Taking a Stand. 

The significant portion of our social studies, for grades Pre-K-5, covers all major disciplines such as geography, history, economics, government, and citizenship.  In addition, our social studies program includes map skills and thinking skills.

Thinking skills are taught systematically at each level.  Lower grade levels begin with units focused on the smaller, more intimate world of the young child.  For example, the spiral begins with a study of families, moves to the school community, and then to the local community.  From there, the program continues to expand the breadth or perimeter of social studies topics until eventually, at the fifth grade level, students are learning about America.  This expansive, spiraling nature of the elementary Social Studies Curriculum is consistent with the Academy’s priorities of developmentally appropriate practices, 21st Century Skills, and with our understandings of children pedagogy.


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