Elementary School Program
The Pine Street School Elementary curriculum (Kindergarten-5th Grade) encourages both emotional and academic achievement, challenging students to excel in their learning and in their personal development. We offer a technology-enabled, project-based problem-solving setting that nurtures passion with a purpose.
Our Elementary curriculum provides a holistic program that balances the development of concepts, skills and character. Our approach focuses on the total growth of the developing child addressing social, physical, emotional and cultural needs in addition to academic welfare.
Our program focuses on guided inquiry, collaboration and communication as approaches to teaching and learning to provide an environment that fosters the development of problem solving and critical thinking as well as subject competencies.
The subjects of English, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies are taught by the classroom teachers under transdisciplinary themes (below) to make connections across all subjects, including special subjects such as music, visual arts and athletics.
PE, Music, and Visual Arts are taught by specialists to form a comprehensive, varied and rich experience. Technology is used as a tool that enhances and broadens the scope and quality of student learning across all subjects.
Elementary students investigate six units of inquiry for six weeks each. As they advance from grade to grade the level of investigation expands. Through these interdisciplinary units of inquiry, students acquire math, language, science, art, music, and social studies skills at grade level or above.
A Unique Program
What differentiates our Elementary Program from others? Four key elements:
1. Transdisciplinary Themes
Students learn concepts and issues across all disciplines and are able tomake connections between them. They’re also able to apply what they’ve learned to their own lives, as teachers pull real-world issues (local and global) into the classroom.
The themes are:
Who We AreHow the World WorksHow We Express OurselvesWhere We Are in Place and TimeSharing the PlanetHow We Organize Ourselves
These themes are actually introduced for the first time in the Preschool Program. Then, each year, students learn under these themes but with increasing depth, complexity, relevance and application to world issues.
As an example, our Preschoolers might study the topic of “family” during the unit “Who We Are”. This is an age-appropriate topic for a preschooler. Meanwhile, our Elementary students might study human rights under that same theme. While the themes stay the same year to year, the topics become more sophisticated as the children mature.
Together, the six transdisciplinary themes ensure complete coverage of all subjects and skills, but in a way that helps students see how things are connected, interrelated and applied in real life. This makes the learning relevant and engaging, and this makes the students want to learn more.
2. Inquiry-Driven and Constructivist
Our teachers impart knowledge by guiding and structuring open-ended inquiry in which students have agency (voice and choice). Students ask questions, making sense of the world around them. They explore their own thinking and that of other students, and learn to negotiate and compromise with others when their thinking differs.
Students are encouraged to take action on their learning—and this action can come in the form of doing or just thinking or feeling differently about something.
Our program incorporates reflection, time for students to think about their work, to think about what they learned, what they did well and what they could have done differently. Through this reflection comes growth as well as the ability to handle feedback.
Our teachers also reflect and continually think about how to improve and optimize the curriculum to meet each individual student’s needs.
The IB assessment model is built around the philosophy of inviting students to participate in thinking about their own growth as learners. This approach begins training elementary students to take ownership of their individual assessments so that they are uniquely adept at doing so before they enter Middle School.
Students engage in daily reflection on their work, review their ePortfolios, and discuss their progress with their teachers. They actively participate in the three annual conferences: parent-teacher, parent-teacher-student, and student-led. They are confident sharing what they have learned and discussing openly the challenges and growth they are experiencing. All of this information is reflected in the student report cards.