Primary Curriculum

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Grade 1

  • Art

    Students will explore foundational concepts of music (rhythm, pitch, melody, tempo, composition) and foundational concepts of visual art (line, shape, color, texture, space) through a variety of entry points, with storytelling elements at the center of each unit. Listening skills and observational skills are developed through exposure and discussion of musical and artistic genres, with emphasis on verbal and written reflection (“What do you hear? What do you feel? What do you see? What do you wonder?”). Students also participate in Celebrations of Learning through collaborative STEAM projects during the year. 
  • Global Studies

    First 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, 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.
  • Library

    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 exploring 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.
  • 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, (CPA) approach. 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. Addition and subtraction facts are introduced through the use of games and class activities which helps first graders work on increasing their math fact fluency throughout the year.
  • Music

    Students will explore foundational concepts of music (rhythm, pitch, melody, tempo, composition) and foundational concepts of visual art (line, shape, color, texture, space) through a variety of entry points, with storytelling elements at the center of each unit. Listening skills and observational skills are developed through exposure and discussion of musical and artistic genres, with emphasis on verbal and written reflection (“What do you hear? What do you feel? What do you see? What do you wonder?”). Students also participate in Celebrations of Learning through collaborative STEAM projects during the year. 
  • Physical Education

    The PE department, first and foremost, is responsible for helping our young people acquire the skills and self-confidence they need to participate in a wide variety of physical activities. The curriculum seeks to develop strength, stamina, and coordination. Our hope is that what is gained through our fun and developmentally appropriate activities will go with them well beyond their school days. Students learn the motor skills necessary to participate in a wide variety of physical activities, helping them to understand the link between physical activity and good health. Among other resources, we draw from the SPARK program, Jump Rope for Heart, Great Activities, as well as Project Adventure curriculum.
  • 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, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension skills. A variety of genres, 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.”
  • 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, learning Spanish in an interactive way, through song, dance, art and games, incorporating Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling (TPRS) and Responsive Classroom. Students will engage in listening, speaking, reading and writing activities. As with other grades, particular emphasis will be on the repetition of vocabulary and commands.
  • STEAM

    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 First Graders to plant, nurture and observe different varieties of seeds and seedlings.
  • Writing

    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 First Grade Writing program. Using the spelling program How to Spell and Wilson Fundations, First Graders are learning to move from transitional spellers to conventional spellers. Wilson Fundations also provides explicit handwriting instruction with the goal that students will develop legible and fluent handwriting, using proper letter formation line placement and spacing.

Department Faculty

341 Opening Hill Road, Madison, CT 06443
P. 203-421-3113  |  F. 203-421-4390  |  Health Office F. 860-469-2550
Founded in 1955, The Country School is a coeducational, independent school serving students in PreSchool-Grade 8. The Country School is committed to active, hands-on learning and a vigorous curriculum that engages the whole child.