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Grades K - 8

 

Intelligence, strong values and a solid work ethic allow our students to stand out and succeed in today’s world.  The curriculum at ECDS is designed to provide students with the skills and perspective necessary for them to achieve their highest potential. Using vertical integration, individualized programming, and a problem solving orientation, we provide an exceptional learning environment.  While we have established consistent performance standards and evaluation criteria, we are constantly reviewing programs and goals to insure that our curriculum remains up to date and innovative.

Mathematics

At the core of our math curriculum is the belief that in order to embrace mathematics as an essential building block of life, students need to experience and use mathematical concepts on a daily basis.  At ECDS students are immersed in the language of mathematics with an emphasis on higher order thinking skills.  The Saxon program provides the support for our curriculum.  Over the course of study students will:

1. Use a variety of strategies in the problem solving process.

2. Understand and successfully apply basic and advanced procedures while performing computations.

3. Understand and appropriately apply basic and advanced concepts of measurement.

4. Understand and appropriately apply basic concepts of:

                                a. Geometry

                                b. Algebra

                                c. Data analysis and distributions

                                d. Probability and statistics

5. Make mathematical observations and understand math as integral to daily life

6. Use higher order thinking skills of analyzing and synthesizing

7. Will learn to think, write and discuss using the language of mathematics

Easton Country Day offers math curriculum up through high school Geometry.

Reading/Literature

Research shows that professionals must be familiar with a wide range of instrumental methodologies when teaching reading. Each child has a unique learning style and the instruction needs to be flexible enough in their teaching to meet each child’s needs.  At ECDS the teachers are well versed in numerous approaches to reading including a variety of Phonics systems and Literature Based Instruction.  Our goal is to develop life long readers who use critical thinking skills to comprehend literature in a variety of genres.  Over the course of study students will:

1. Demonstrate competence in the skills and strategies of the reading process.

2. Demonstrate competence in skills and strategies for reading literature.

3. Demonstrate competence in applying the reading process to specific types of literary texts.

4. Demonstrate competence in applying the reading process to specific types of informational texts.

5. Demonstrate competence in using different information sources, including those of a technical nature, to accomplish specific tasks.

6. Demonstrate a familiarity with literary works

Writing

One of the primary mediums for communicating knowledge within academic circles is the written word.  At ECDS it is of the utmost importance that students develop exemplary writing skills.  Each core subject area requires the student to be proficient in one or more specific styles of writing.  Students are required to develop the skills necessary to become, versatile, flexible, interesting writers.  Over the course of study students will:

1. Demonstrate competence in the general skills and strategies of the writing process.

2. Demonstrate competence in using a variety of styles of writing.

3. Consistently use appropriate grammar and mechanics when composing.

4. Effectively gather and use information for research purposes

5. Will use the written word to effectively communicate ideas and knowledge

Science

At ECDS exploration, experiments and research are integrated into the curriculum so students can explore the connections between the natural world and science.  Students use prediction, observation, comparison, classification, measuring and discussion to analyze these experiences and communicate their results in both class discussion and reports. Teachers guide students through a multitude of challenging experiences to lay the foundation for scientific thinking as they relate concrete experiences to abstract concepts.  Over the course of study students will:

1. Understand the basic features of the earth and its processes.

2. Know the essential composition and structure of the universe and earth’s place in it.

3. Understand genetics as the building blocks of life.

4. Know the structure and functions of cells in organisms.

5. Understand how species depend on one another and their environment for survival.

6. Understand the basic concepts of evolution.

7. Know the basic concepts regarding the structure and properties of matter.

8. Understand energy types, sources of energy, conversions, and the relationship to heat and temperature.

9. Understand the metric system and be able to use it as needed.

10. Understand motion and its principles.

11. Know the relationships that exist between objects and atoms.

12. Understand the nature of scientific knowledge and inquiry.

14. be able to perform experiments, develop conclusions, and write about the results.

Achievement of the above goals will be determined through success on chapter tests, lab work, finals, and the transference of knowledge to day to day activities.

Students in the Middle form will take Earth Science in the 6th grade and Biology, Physics and Chemistry in the 7th and 8th grades.

Social Studies/ History

Cultural diversity and understanding cultural perspective is an integral part of Easton Country Day School. Understanding the interconnectedness and interdependence of national history, world history and current events is the main focus of our history curriculum.  Our younger students immerse themselves in cultural studies.  They learn to compare and contrast local, state and federal government both past and present as well as explore the cultures and governments of many countries of the world. At the middle school level the students receive in-depth knowledge of the USA and Europe from a historical perspective.  As they learn how and why the world got to be the way it is they begin to compare and contrast decisions made by past political figures and those made today. Over the course of study students will:

Kindergarten- Grade 4

1. Understand the concepts of families and communities as they live and work together.

2. Understand that there are many different cultures in our country as well as around the world.

3. Understand the history of the United States, including an awareness of different states, cultures, demographic principles and values, and the cultures that contributed to its development.

4. Understand the history of Connecticut from Pre-colonial times to the present.

Lower form units will cover Native American studies, China, Medieval times, Africa, each students country of origin, and ancient history.

Grades 5-8

Through the use of class textbooks, projects and report writing, and hands-on activities, students will:

1. Demonstrate an understanding of the following periods of United States History (towns, religion, warfare, politics, culture, economics, etc.):

                a. Pre-colonial times (- 1620)

                b. Colonization (1620 - 1763)

                c. Revolutionary times (1763 - 1820)

                d. Expansion and reform (1820 - 1860)

                e. Civil War and Reconstruction (1860 -1877)

                f. Industrial United State (1870 - 1900)

                g. Early 20th Century

                h. The Great Depression and WWII (1929 -1945)

                i. Post-war United States (1946-1970)

                j. Contemporary United States (1968 - 1999)

2. Demonstrate an understanding of the following periods in World History (religion, culture, warfare, politics, economics, etc.) through the study of the countries of the world:

                a. The beginnings of human society

                b. Early civilizations (10,000 BCE to 4000 BCE)

                c. Empires, religions, traditions (4000 BCE to 300 CE)

                d. Global expansion (300 CE - 1770 CE)

                e. Age of Revolution) 1750 CE - 1900)

                f. The 20th Century

3. Demonstrate an understanding of the following periods in European History (religion, culture, warfare, politics, economics, etc.)

                a. The Dark Ages

                b. Medieval times

                c. Renaissance

                d. Age of Exploration

                e. Industrial Revolution

4. Demonstrate an understanding of Civics:

                a. What a government is and what it should do

                b. What a democracy is and how it works

                c. What the US Constitution is, how it was established, and how it works

                d. Understand the importance of sharing values, beliefs and participating in American democracy

                e. Understand political parties, campaigns, and elections, in American politics

                f. Understand the meaning of citizenship in this country and the responsibilities it carries

Achievement of above goals will be determined through success on chapter tests and finals, class projects, research and report writing, and verbal communication of knowledge at the social studies fair

Geography

1. Understand the characteristics and uses of maps, gloves, and atlases.

2. Understand the concept of latitude and longitude lines.

3. Know the location of places and geographic features.

4. Understand the concept of regions and spheres.

5. Understand the spatial organization of the earth’s surface.

Computer

In the ever changing world of technology the computer curriculum at ECDS focuses on the essential knowledge and skills that students need to be lifelong, responsible learners in the area of technology. We strive to educate our students to be knowledgeable of computer programs (Excel, PowerPoint, and Word etc.), keyboarding, flexibility and creative problem solving are essential tools.  Over the course of study students will:

1. Understand the characteristics and uses of computer hardware, software and operating systems.

2. Master keyboarding

3. Use software programs that include; Microsoft Word, Excel and Power Point

4. Be able to use the internet as a research tool

5. Understand internet etiquette and rules of safety

 

Gifted Education

Former US Commissioner of Education Sidney P. Marland, Jr. stated,

“Gifted and talented children are those identified by professionally qualified persons who by virtue of outstanding abilities are capable of high performance.  These are children who require differentiated educational programs and/or services beyond those normally provided by the regular school program in order to realize their contribution to self and society” (Marland 1972)

At ECDS we recognize that there are highly gifted students who need additional programming to meet their educational needs.  While vertical integration allows for them to learn at the appropriate grade level, they need additional time to meet in small groups and explore topics at a more in depth level.  We have 2 groupings of gifted students based on age.  The Juniors program runs from K to 4th grade and the Senior level is for grades 5 to 8.  Three additional classes are offered to each group and each class meets twice week.  The English class offers exploration of literature and writing at a complex level.  Many of the selections are chosen for their social context and discussions center on integration of themes into their daily lives.   Project Class is a time for them to delve into projects that interest them.  Examples are the study of the inventions of Leonardo Davinci (and creating their own) or building robots with Lego Mindstorms.  We also offer sign language classes.  We have found that signing creates an interactive environment where all parties are paying close attention to each other with specific attention being paid to gestures and expressions. 

Student Identification

Students will be selected on the basis of their composite scores on intelligence and achievement tests as well as recommendations from teachers and outside professionals.  Assessments must measure diverse abilities, talents, strengths and needs.   Psychological evaluations used to determine eligibility should include recommendations based on the findings.  An assessment of social competence must be included.

Individualized Program Plan

An individual program plan will be developed for each student.  Each plan will reflect the gifted learner’s interests, learning style, strengths and needs.

Academic Curriculum

Students will be evaluated for individual placement within curriculum.  Placement will be based on ability rather than age/grade.  Students in the gifted program will develop skills in critical and creative thinking, problem – finding/solving, logic and independent research.  Academics will be provided in a combination of small groups, large group and individual learning sessions.  If appropriate, students will take courses at accelerated levels and if necessary at an accelerated pace.  Programming designed to develop problem solving/ research skills will be provided in a small group setting as grouping students together allows them to learn from and challenge each other.

Socio-Emotional Curriculum

It is imperative that students placed in the gifted program work on social-emotional/community goals as well as academic goals.  Upon entering the gifted program social-emotional goals and objectives will be determined and included in the individualized education plan.  Special attention will be placed on non-verbal communication skills, development of emotional intelligence and group dynamics/interaction skills.  A gifted child must be able to share their knowledge with others in an effective way in order to be successful members of the community.

Assessment

Individual teachers will develop assessments for specific subjects.  At the end of each year the ERB’s (Educational Records Bureau) will be given as a guide to overall achievement.  It is recommended that the students participate in the John Hopkins Center for Talented Youth Program and take the SCAT test or SAT’s to further assess academic growth.

Professional Development

Outside recourses will be actively sought out to provide programming guidance and education for the staff working with these students.  The school will provide funding for teachers to participate in staff development designed specifically for gifted learners.  A network of professionals who will provide knowledge and support to staff will be developed so advice and ideas can be exchanged on an on-going basis.

Gifted students will also participate in the arts programming available at Easton Country Day School.  This will include drama, fine arts and music.  Physical Education and Spanish will also be offered.

ECDS’s motto is Responsibility, Integrity and community in Praxis.  The goal of the Gifted Program is to develop highly motivated, talented, flexible learners and teachers who can participate in and enhance the community at large.