Curriculum Overview (3-6)
The Language Arts program continues to develop a mastery of skills in reading, spelling, writing, and speaking the English language proficiently. Daily oral reading in small groups with the teacher provides training in reading accuracy and meaningful expression. An understanding of the principles and components of English grammar is also supported as it is essential for writing skills as well as for comprehension of spoken and written language. The foundations of reading, spelling, and grammar instruction culminate in the writing program. Lessons are taught so that students understand each stage of the process and gain the capacity to work diligently on every phase of creating a fine written piece. The writing process encourages students to express their thoughts and ideas in an engaging and convincing manner.
The mathematics curriculum continues to help students build a solid foundation of core skills and become logical problem solvers. Through teacher-directed class instruction and opportunities for independent trial and group activities, students learn to communicate using the language of math. They are able to show logical steps in their written work, compare strategies for finding solutions, and develop an understanding of each concept. Previously studied material is reviewed for retention and automaticity and also to improve speed and accuracy, while mastering the fundamentals supports an understanding of new concepts.
The science classroom is a place for discovery and experimentation. The curriculum encompasses a broad range of themes in the life sciences, earth sciences, chemical sciences, and physical sciences. Through hands-on experimentation, demonstrations, lectures, discussion, and class field trips, students acquire the subject area knowledge essential for critical thinking in this field. Throughout the year, they engage in problem-solving strategies, scientific challenges, and learning proper laboratory techniques and procedures.
Students continue to follow the Core Knowledge sequence for history and geography as outlined by the Core Knowledge Foundation. Students critically examine and analyze history as well as learn to detect similarities between current and ancient civilizations. Through “thesis and support” assignments, research, discussion, and individual and group projects, students will develop investigative and interpretive skills, the ability to interpret non-fictional texts, and a solid understanding of American and world history and geography. The curriculum positions each student to move into the more complex studies of world society and history that are presented in junior high and high school.
In Spanish, students continue to develop listening comprehension skills, a vocabulary base, reading skills, the importance of correct use of grammatical structures and correct pronunciation of the Spanish language. They learn about different cultures in a creative and participatory way that facilitates understanding, tolerance, and respect for different cultures and countries.
The tradition of theater at Pinewood School began with our founder, Gwendolyn Riches, and her commitment to a program that promotes confidence and develops dynamic communication – vital life skills. The theater experience trains students to express themselves through voice, body, and facial expressions. Each class has the opportunity to practice and perfect a musical production performed for the school and families. This occasion is a highlight in the year’s activities.
Pinewood’s dynamic and award winning music program centers on the methodologies of the Orff approach and the Kodaly method. Both of these practices understand that each child is inherently musical; therefore, each child feels success with the many musical avenues that are explored.
Studies in art history, art criticism, and studio art allow students to express themselves artistically and to appreciate the creative connections between art and life that are essential to the community. Students are encouraged to develop a personal vocabulary of expression while building confidence in creativity and a wide range of artistic strategies. They learn to see detail, to envision, to persist and learn from mistakes, and to make and justify critical judgments. During the year, students may have the opportunity to integrate an art project with work in another subject area in order to enhance the creative experience.
Physical activity not only improves fitness levels but also enhances academic stamina. The Pinewood physical education program includes daily classes for all grade levels. Students participate in an extensive array of activities that includes competitive and non-competitive team sports and lunch time intramural games that strive to develop good social behavior with other students. The goal of the program is to develop the lifelong skills of sportsmanship and physical fitness, as well as foster an overall enjoyment of athletics.