Grades 3-5

Our core curricula challenges our students, and rewards their hard work. Click the sliders below for a detailed explanation of each discipline.

Language Arts

The language arts are integrated into all facets of the curriculum, which stresses the vital interconnectedness of reading and writing. To that end, teachers in all departments collaborate on projects, structure curriculum together, and develop unity in purpose and a common vocabulary.

The goal of our reading program is to develop confident, enthusiastic readers who are able to critically apply their skills in various forums for a broad range of purposes. We provide ongoing opportunities for reading within an integrated and literature-rich environment. Students select and read a variety of literature from different genres. Vocabulary development and comprehension are developed on the literal, interpretive, and evaluative levels. Children meet in teacher-led small groups and student-led literature circles to discuss story elements and vocabulary.

The goal of our writing program is to develop confident, skilled writers and to help students see themselves as writers. Our curriculum provides students with the tools to communicate effectively, including emphasis on content and instruction in grammar and the mechanics of writing. Students brainstorm, draft, edit and produce final drafts for publication as books, stories, expository works, and more. This process helps students understand and use the structure of language and employ acceptable usage in creative and expository compositions alike.

Oral communication skills are also emphasized. We teach students to present all forms of information with clarity and poise, be it research on a specific topic, retelling a story in a compelling and concise fashion, or stating personal opinions. Students have numerous opportunities to develop public-speaking skills, including discussions of books and current events, research reports, multi-media presentations, and more. In addition, regular Lower School assemblies provide students the opportunity to speak or perform in a large forum, yet one that is emotionally safe and supportive.

Social Studies

The 3rd-grade social studies curriculum is closely integrated with the study of science. Students begin by looking at the earth and natural resources from the perspectives of various cultures. For example, by studying Native Americans’ culture, beliefs, art, stories, and relationship with the earth, students gain a foundational understanding of earth and natural resources. Students then examine their own culture and develop an understanding of sustainability and their roles as active and informed consumers.

In 4th grade, the social studies program is an integrated, student-directed, research and cooperative learning experience. Students explore the geography of the U.S. through various activities and research. The program encourages proficiency and independence in using reference materials and maps, and develops writing skills. The school year begins with a reenactment project of life in the Western Reserve in the early 1800’s and continues on that timeline to further explore Ohio and the rest of the United States. This study revolves around culture, geography, economics, government, and citizenship. Current events and student interest also direct the subjects that students explore.

The central theme in 5th-grade social studies is understanding one’s connectedness with history. The study revolves around the notion that history is personal and that historical understanding begins by establishing a connection between the past and the person. Students focus on understanding the reasons their families had for the decisions they made, including sociology, history, and geography. In addition, students explore U.S. immigrations, World War II, and engage in a personal history exploration that includes genealogy, family stories and traditions, and geographical and historical references to place.


The 3rd-grade program includes small- and whole-group activities and uses a variety of manipulatives to introduce concepts, then moves to written mathematical forms. Individual assignments allow for both practice and enrichment of the concepts being studied. The curriculum includes a wide variety of explorations, including number relations, memorization techniques for the basic facts and operations of arithmetic, logic, measurement, graphing, geometry, and algebra. The program is often directly integrated with unit studies.

The 4th- and 5th-grade programs include the mastery of basic arithmetic facts and operations and further develop fundamental concepts. The basic curriculum includes the study of number theory, whole numbers, fractions, decimals, percents, geometry, algebra, and measurement. New topics are introduced through appropriate manipulatives. Each of these curricular topics is reviewed and extended through problem-solving activities, math games, cooperative group activities, and real-life applications. Various mental math techniques, calculators, and computers also enrich the basic concepts. The 4th- and 5th-grade math program is periodically integrated with language arts, science, and social studies through real-life situations, computer applications, and measurement.


Science courses emphasize hands-on investigative experiments conducted in the classroom, the lab and outdoors. Third graders study the world, geography, and the environment – including soil, water, and air studies. Particular attention is paid to sustainability. Students are active and engaged thinkers who begin to think critically about how the natural world operates, and their own opportunities to affect change.

The focus of the 4th- and 5th-grade science program is to expand and refine students’ abilities to use scientific skills and knowledge. Content includes topics in life, physical, and earth and space sciences. Methodologies include a variety of techniques, activities, and materials to stimulate scientific awareness and make science relevant and engaging for students. Hands-on investigations are designed to promote inquiry/process skills within the scientific approach. Major topics in these grades may include measurement, matter, work/energy, electricity/magnetism, light/sound, the human body, the classification of living organisms, and aeronautics.

Study Skills

Study and organizational skills are taught throughout the upper elementary grades and are integrated within the various subject areas. These skills are considered to be foundational and include using resource materials, organizing homework and class materials, using an assignment notebook, test preparation, and project planning.