The Valley School

Overview

 
   

 

LOWER SCHOOL

 

LITERACY

Lower school students enjoy stories and build literacy skills in all areas: reading, listening, speaking and writing. Teachers provide a holistic, balanced approach including whole-language instruction, phonics and sight word acquisition. We rely on developmentally appropriate practices to guide our instruction and pay close attention to the pace and progression of skills in each individual student. Literacy instruction is highly individualized in the

lower grades.

 

MATH

Our comprehensive math program builds a foundation in all areas of elementary math and aligns with Common Core standards. Grades 1-5 follow the Bridges 2nd Edition math curriculum. In all grades there is focus on communicating math thinking and strategies in addition to accurate computation and the application of new concepts and skills. Students learn math through a variety of methods including exploration, whole-class lessons, math games, flexible

small-group instruction and application.

 

SCIENCE

Students in the lower school grades wonder, test and experiment. We provide hands-on experimentation in classrooms and an introduction to scientific concepts, terms, habits, and materials. Students practice thinking like scientists through exposure to the language and process of the scientific method. Students are exposed to one topic from each of the sciences: life science, physical science, and earth science. All grades spend time outdoors and learn about nature and the environment. Science is often integrated into a thematic unit in the lower school grades. 

 

SOCIAL STUDIES

Social Studies units integrate skills and knowledge from many disciplines. Students explore topics through literature, research, music, art, plays, re-enactments, field trips, celebrations and discussions. Units frequently end with an interactive culminating project or experience, such as a classroom museum or play. Students also participate in and often design their own community service project.

 

UPPER SCHOOL

LITERACY

In grades 3-5, students become more independent readers and transition from learning to read to reading to learn. Through participation in read aloud, literature discussions, shared reading, independent reading and small, flexible reading groups, students build strong reading comprehension strategies and read a variety of texts fluently. As writers, they engage in the entire writing process and practice narrative, expository and persuasive writing. Students participate in Word/Language Study to learn about spelling patterns, grammar, Latin roots and vocabulary. They learn cursive and keyboarding as well.

 

MATH

The math program in grades 3-5 also follows the Bridges 2nd Edition curriculum and strengthens competency in all areas of elementary math including: Counting & Cardinality, Operations and Algebraic Thinking, Number and Operations in Base Ten, Measurement & Data and Geometry. Students are introduced to content areas through a variety of methods including exploration, whole-class lessons, math games, flexible small-group instruction and

application. They build computational fluency, strengthen their ability to communicate their math thinking and to problem solve.

 

SCIENCE

Students are exposed to three science topics a year: life science, earth science and physical science. In addition to these units, students spend time outdoors learning about nature and our connection to it through environmental science topics. There is also room for student inquiry and emergent topics. In upper grades there is increased focus on content specific to each science topic and application of the scientific method.

 

SOCIAL STUDIES

Social Studies themes relate to other areas of study in the classroom. In grades 3-5, students learn about Seattle, Washington state, early U.S. history and important local and global issues. Some topics emerge from student interest. Students transition from simply learning about a topic to becoming problem solvers, advocates and leaders. They explore topics through literature, research, music, art, plays, re-enactments, fi eld trips, celebrations, discussions, guest speakers and units frequently end in an interactive culminating project. Students also participate, and o en design their own community service work. Students practice critical-thinking, mapping and research skills through these topics.