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4th Grade - 6th Grade

The Upper Elementary student is continually moving into more abstract thinking. They weigh options, examine contradictory evidence, tolerate differences of opinion, and make connections among different learning concepts and personal experience. They are avid consumers of knowledge and deliberate critics of logic. They love to work in groups but also need to work privately.

The Upper Elementary Curriculum balances rigorous skill development with constant opportunity for self-expression, exploration, and support from carefully trained adults.

The values of independence, cooperation, and self-discipline are emphasized. The abilities to concentrate fully, to think critically, and to work productively – both individually and as a part of a peaceful, cohesive community – are goals of the Upper Elementary program.


  • Increasingly capable of abstract thought, students become less dependent on materials as they broaden and deepen their working knowledge of hierarchies, numerical operations, and geometry.

  • Students extend and apply acquired skills, exploring preliminary concepts of algebra.

  • Students eagerly observe mathematical properties and functions in the world around them and apply new concepts to studies in other areas, such as science and culture.

  • Mathematics studies include: operations with whole, decimal and negative numbers; fractions, percentages, squaring, cubing and number bases.



  • Effective written and verbal expression is emphasized as students learn to make themselves understood and get to know others

  • Language studies include: Sentence analysis, novel study, spelling and grammar exercises, daily reading and writing workshops, experience with different writing genres, and public speaking requirements are all part of the curriculum.


Cultural Studies

  • Through rigorous research, students refine their critical thinking capacities.

  • Upper Elementary students trace the story of the evolution of humans

  • Students compare and contrast world civilizations, and they begin thematic studies of American history.

  • The interdisciplinary, research-based thrust of the curriculum culminates in the sixth year as students undertake a yearlong research project.

  • An in-depth study of a country/continent culminates with a Global Awareness Day Celebration.It’s a fun filled day of ethnic food, language, performances, games, and exhibition of children’s work.


Physical and Life Sciences

  • Our science program brings students into direct contact with the central work of scientists: our students identify, question, explore, and conclude.

  • Students in the Upper Elementary Program study the Sciences as part of a broadly focused exploration. Comprehensive, thematic studies of “Water,” “Fire,” and “Earth/Air” comprise the three-year, rotating core of students’ studies in life science, physical science, and earth/space science.

  • The thematic approach encourages students to make connections across the sciences; it generates profound curiosity; and it allows them to design investigative projects that express their interests and their styles of learning.


Practical Life

  • Students take responsibility for cultivating a peaceful, cooperative community.

  • Activities include: preparing lunch together, planting and maintaining an organic garden, organizing the library, staffing school events and service projects

  • Each year they research, select, and raise funds for a variety of service projects.

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