Elementary School: Grades 1-3


A child’s natural enthusiasm for learning

Welcome to the Primary Years, where The Country School Mission is alive each day. Encompassing young learners in Kindergarten and first grade through third grade, the Primary Program appreciates and respects a child's natural enthusiasm for learning, curiosity about the world, and joy in being part of a special community.

The program is designed to include a thoughtful balance appropriate to the developmental stage of the different grade levels. Each day, children will experience vigorous activity and quiet time; traditional academic subjects along with the arts, physical education, STEAM, and global language; time inside the classroom and time outdoors; whole group instruction and individual attention.

In the Primary Program, there is an emphasis placed on the developing social/emotional life of each child. Students are seen as individuals with unique strengths. We foster self-confidence and self-awareness as important ingredients for success in learning and living. Children are given many opportunities to contribute ― through classroom jobs, service commitments, performances, and class meetings. The feelings of pride and accomplishment gained through assuming roles of responsibility encourage leadership in the years to follow.

To learn more, simply complete our short inquiry and we would be happy to send your more information. You are also invited to our Open House Tours.

We can't wait to meet you!




Curriculum Overviews

1st Grade

Math
Primary Mathematics (Standards Edition) from Marshall Cavendish International (Singapore) is our text. Primary Mathematics is designed to provide students with a strong foundation in mathematics through moving students from the concrete to the pictorial to the abstract. The program’s emphasis on metacognition teaches students to think deeply about mathematics to the “why,” not just the “how.” Skills include numbers to 100, number bonds, addition, subtraction, position, shapes, length, weight, capacity, comparing numbers, graphs, multiplication, division, halves and fourths, time and money. First Graders also begin each math time with “Focus on Math.” During this time children engage in calendar, number line, days in school, place value, tally marks, telling time and money activities.

Reading
We seek to foster a love of reading in each child. We use a literature-rich, phonics-based program that includes leveled books and ongoing assessments. Author Study exposes students to the natural language of authors as texts are read aloud during daily Read Aloud time. Children read individually, with partners, and in small flexible groups to practice phonics, phonemic awareness, vocabulary and comprehension skills. A variety of genre, big books, books on tape and audio-visual materials in the classroom help to stimulate reading interest. Children learn to self-select books at their own reading level which we call “Just Right Books.”

Writing Workshop
First Graders write daily. Weekly journals are used to help children increase writing organization, fluidity, and creativity. Applying capitalization and punctuation skills are emphasized in the writing process. The Writing Workshop (Lucy Calkins, Units of Study) approach is used to help teach students the joy and purpose of writing. During Writing Workshop, mini-lessons are used to deliver instruction and students engage in writing which provides time for practice. While students write, individual conferences between teacher and student are conducted to help raise the quality of each child’s writing skills. Spelling and handwriting are also part of the 1st Grade Writing program. Using the spelling program How to Spell and Wilson Fundations, 1st Graders are learning to move from transitional spellers to conventional spellers. Wilson Fundations also provides explicit handwriting instruction with the goal that children will develop legible and fluent handwriting, using proper letter formation and spacing.

Social Studies, Science and STEAM
In Social Studies, 1st Graders learn about the world around them, both near and far. Themes are the springboard for our studies. Themes traditionally studied in the fall, winter and spring include Families, Our Town, Our State, Our Country, Our Continent, Plants and Animals in Our World, Seasonal Changes, Leaves and Trees, First Thanksgiving, Celebrations (customs and traditions) in other Cultures, Hibernation, Places in Our World, Antarctica and Emperor Penguins, The Water Cycle, CT River, Tide Pools and the Seashore. Science instruction and STEAM activities in the lab connect to classroom studies and a hands-on, exploratory approach allows all students to be active participants. Our wooded 26-acre campus affords children many opportunities for hands-on experiences as they explore and observe the nearby woods, trails and bogs, often bringing the outdoors indoors. Our on campus “Children’s Garden” inspires 1st Graders to plant, nurture and observe different varieties of seeds and seedlings.

Spanish
In Primary School, Spanish is an extension and an expansion of the fundamental concepts started in early childhood education. Children will expand upon their basic knowledge of the Spanish language, reviewing such topics as basic greetings, weather, colors and numbers. Students will additionally learn forms of transportation, body parts, clothing and parts of the house. Spanish is incorporated in an interactive way, through song, dance, art and games, incorporating Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling (TPRS) and Responsive Classroom. As with other grades, particular emphasis will be on the repetition of vocabulary and commands.

Affective Education
Affective Education in 1st Grade is woven into the day by day workings of the classroom. Children learn to work together, to be aware of their own and other’s feelings, to resolve conflicts and to make their classroom a safe and happy place. The Responsive Classroom approach is modeled throughout the day as we work together on building a classroom community, social skills, friendship, kindness, self-esteem, feelings, values and character education. First Graders take part in community service activities with their Reading Buddies throughout the year. First Graders also participate in the school wide theme, “C.A.R.E.S.” (cooperation, assertion, responsibility, empathy, self-control). This year, our focus is on the ‘C’ in “C.A.R.E.S.” - Cooperation. Here at The County School we refer to our students’ leadership opportunities as The Elmore Leadership Program.

2nd Grade

Math
The Math program is “Primary Mathematics” (Standards Edition) from Marshall Cavendish International, Singapore. The core curriculum is presented in a logical sequence. Each topic is covered in detail and taught to mastery. In addition to the workbook, there are supporting materials and math choices to both scaffold and stretch our young mathematicians. Units of study include Numbers to 1000; Addition and Subtraction with renaming; Measurement; Multiplication and Division; Methods for Mental Addition and Subtraction; Money; Fractions; Time; Capacity; Tables and Graphs; Geometry.The Singapore Program aligns itself with the eight mathematical practices set forth in the Common Core State Standards.

Reading Workshop
The Second Grade community of readers helps students discover personal and shared interests. Children will be stretched to dig deeper as readers. Strategic actions for thinking include reading within the text (literal); beyond the text (prediction, connecting to previous knowledge and other texts); about the text (analyze and critique). Whole-group, small-group and one-on-one teaching is used in reading. Curriculum components include interactive read-aloud and discussion; shared and performance reading; writing about reading; phonics, spelling and word study; independent reading and literacy work; guided reading. Formal assessments include DIBELS; San Diego and Slosson; Ekwall Reading Inventory; CORE Assessments; Words Their Way.

Writing Workshop
Children discuss the practices of good writing and reflect on what good writers do when writing. Peer partners share their work and offer support and ideas for writing. Children investigate story elements and learn strategies for planning when writing. Mini-lessons are given to teach writing skills, grammar and process. Second Grade writing focuses on Narrative Writing; Writing about Reading; Science reporting and Poetry. Writing conferences with the teacher support the writing process. First drafts are revised and edited with the teacher. Final drafts and works in progress are shared with classmates and supportive feedback given by peers.

Social Studies and Science
During the fall, Second Graders will focus on the theme,”Colonial Days.” Two field trips will be taken to support and enhance our learning of what life was really like 300 years ago. Children become part of a colonial family and venture into the woods to build structures to create a colonial village. Weekly visits, accompanied by parent volunteers, are a special part of the colonial experience. The study will involve S.T.E.A.M. learning throughout. It will culminate in a shared celebration of learning for parents.

In January, the class will plot a course and travel to Africa. The planning and focus will involve all areas of S.T.E.A.M. learning. Students will learn, in a very hands on way, about deserts, the savannah and rainforests. People, families and customs in Africa. are experienced as we travel throughout the country. A field trip to the African Exhibit at the Yale University Gallery of Art enhances the study. From planning and dressing for a Bedouin Feast in Egypt to Adinkra cloth making in Ghana, children get a sense of this country that is part of our global community. This, too, culminates with a celebration of learning for parents.

Spanish
In Primary School, Spanish is an extension and an expansion of the fundamental concepts started in early childhood education. Children will expand upon their basic knowledge of the Spanish language, reviewing such topics as basic greetings, weather, colors and numbers. Students will additionally learn forms of transportation, body parts, clothing and parts of the house. Spanish is incorporated in an interactive way, through song, dance, art and games, incorporating Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling (TPRS) and Responsive Classroom. As with other grades, particular emphasis will be on the repetition of vocabulary and commands.

Class Meetings and Affective Education
Class meetings support the Second Grade sense of family and community. Children learn to share their issues and support one another in finding resolutions and ways to make good choices. The weekly meeting helps support the TCS Core Values. Second Graders will have many opportunities to shine as leaders and caring citizens in our community. This is an important aspect of the TCS experience. Here at The Country School we refer to our students’ leadership opportunities as, The Elmore Leadership Program.

3rd Grade

Word Study
This program focuses on spelling rules and patterns, syllabication, high frequency words, and content vocabulary. Children receive direct instruction one on one and in small groups and practice their skills through a variety of games and activities. Assessments are given biweekly to assure progress and retention. Key Resources: Words Their Way; Rebecca Sitton core word list (high frequency words); How to Spell by Laura Toby Rudginsky and Elizabeth C. Haskell

Reading
Reading each day is structured around the Reading Workshop model. Children pick out books at their independent reading level (Just Right Books). Skills practiced and strengthened are phonics, oral reading fluency, silent reading stamina, comprehension, and vocabulary. Children will receive instruction in various forms as needed for their independent growth and development. Students are read to, read, and discuss books daily. They are expected to practice reading every night. Key Resources: trade books; Lucy Calkins Reading Workshop

Writing
Children write daily. This occurs through Writing Workshop, reading responses, journal entries, letters, selected topics and prompts. Children write narratives, persuasive and informative paragraphs, essays, stories, and reports. Instruction occurs through whole group daily mini-lessons as well as one on one conferences. Key Resources: Lucy Calkins Writing Workshop Units of Study

Math
Our program, Primary Mathematics, is based on the Singapore Math program. One major concept in this year is for children to secure their overall number sense. They use the Concrete, Pictorial, Abstract (CPA) approach to learn, understand and express their knowledge of our number system and place value. Research proves this to be the fundamental concept to future success in mathematics. Other concepts covered will be; money, time, fractions, decimals, geometry, measurement, probability and data analysis. Memorizing basic facts in addition, subtraction, multiplication and division is critical to a child’s efficiency in computation. Children should practice these with speed and accuracy on a daily basis at home as part of their homework routine. The use of flashcards, timed worksheets and a variety of websites and apps can be helpful. Key Resources; Primary Mathematics, Workbooks 1 & 2.

Handwriting
Students receive direct instruction in this area several times each week. Students learn to write in cursive through the Wilson Cursive program. Key Resources: Wilson Cursive workbook.

Global Studies
Our theme for the year is Journeys. Students begin their journey learning about themselves through their autobiography. They then learn about Connecticut - its geological features, Long Island Sound, Native Americans, early settlers, and CT as a part of the Northeast. We will then continue throughout the U.S as we explore the different regions. Students will also broaden their global understanding by engaging in the exploration to China as well as the “New World.” Students move on to learning about other explorers specifically those in Space. 3rd graders create timelines and strengthen their global mapping skills. Key Resources: A Historical Album of Connecticut by Charles Wills, Connecticut, Hello U.S.A. by Amy Gelman, and various non-fiction books.

Co-curricular Studies
Student experiences across campus include Art, Music, Physical Education, Science, Global Language (Spanish) and Library Media. Teachers collaborate and plan according to 3rd grade units of study.

Spanish
In Primary School, Spanish is an extension and an expansion of the fundamental concepts started in early childhood education. Children will expand upon their basic knowledge of the Spanish language, reviewing such topics as basic greetings, weather, colors and numbers. Students will additionally learn forms of transportation, body parts, clothing and parts of the house. Spanish is incorporated in an interactive way, through song, dance, art and games, incorporating Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling (TPRS) and Responsive Classroom. As with other grades, particular emphasis will be on the repetition of vocabulary and commands.

STEAM
Children are scheduled each week to take advantage of this unique program. Skills of collaboration, problem solving and design thinking are practiced as children gain a deeper understanding of classroom studies through the integration of Science Technology Engineering Arts Mathematics.

Social/Emotional Curriculum
The importance of a child’s academic success is directly impacted by how they feel about themselves and others. Building confidence, respect, responsibility, compassion and honesty are just a few of the core values instilled in each third grader. Morning Meeting time and Class Meeting is scheduled daily for routines and activities to build these skills. The Reading Buddy program fosters student-to-student connections across grade levels. Outdoor experiences and field trips bring to life and extend learning that happens within the classroom. 3rd graders are given many opportunities to shine as leaders and this is an important aspect of their TCS experience. Here at The Country School, we refer to our students’ leadership opportunities as The Elmore Leadership Program.

Library-Media

Primary students have a weekly class in the library. Students listen to a read-aloud book and have the opportunity to browse the collection for a book to borrow. Primary students come to the library regularly for guided research, as well as for a weekly technology class.

The core curriculum for the library adds depth to all other curricular areas for each grade level. We seek to foster a love of reading in our students by sharing literature and engaging in book discussions. We believe that research and information literacy skills are vital to success across every subject area. Guided by standards outlined by the American Library Association, we teach students how to find and access information effectively and efficiently, how to critically evaluate information and its sources, how to incorporate research into their own work, and how to properly cite information gathered through this process in their own work.

Technology

This curriculum incorporates the basic skills that lay the foundation for all future learning, those of reading, math, science, problem solving, analytical thinking, effective communication and the ability to work well with others. In addition, the curriculum includes those essential skills, which are vital to future learning within this specific content area, critical for mastery of the course, and specified within the scope and sequence of technology education.

Students participating in the Technology program at The Country School will be able to demonstrate the following performance competencies:

  • Develop strategies to identify and solve basic problems that occur during everyday classroom
  • activities.
  • Use specific tools, software, and simulators to support learning and solve problems.
  • Apply the productivity/multimedia tools, programs, and peripherals to support personal productivity throughout the educational curriculum.
  • Collaborate with others to investigate, develop, and use information for products and presentations both inside and outside the classroom.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the practical applications to learning and problem solving.
  • Develop attitudes, knowledge and habits relative to personal and environmental safety.
  • Show a knowledge of current changes in technology and the effects those changes have on global societies and cultures.
  • Understand the ethical behaviors that should be used when dealing with technology issues.

The goal of technology education is technological literacy for all students. Technology is about doing and developing solutions to real-world problems or products that address human needs and desires. Technology education provides a vital link to the math/science/ technology triangle to assist with understanding, living, and working in our advanced technology-driven Information Age. Its interdisciplinary nature and process orientation also helps students to comprehend and apply these concepts in the natural sciences, mathematics, social sciences and humanities. Technology consists of invention, innovations and other creative, “engineering-like” activities for producing physical objects and performing technical services through the application of organized knowledge and problem solving techniques. Industrial Technology focuses on a systems approach to develop technological literacy. The systems in material processing, energy and power, and communication provide broad content areas of study.

Grades K-5

  • Digital Citizenship
  • Internet Navigation
  • Microsoft Paint
  • Desktop Skills
  • Keyboarding/Touch Typing
  • Word Processing
  • Powerpoint / Google Apps
  • Equipment
  • Spreadsheets
  • Internet Research
  • Digital Design
  • Computer Parts

Country School Signature Programs