Primary Class

Awakening Self - 6-8 Year Olds

The Primary student is entering a significant new stage of development, signaled by the change of teeth, lengthening of the body and limbs, and the emergence of new faculties of memory and the imagination. Where the majority of a child’s energy has been employed in physical development over the first seven years, this energy now becomes available in the form of newfound cognitive abilities and an emerging sense of the self as an individual in the world. While ready for more structured academic studies, the 7/8 year old lives in the lively  world of imagination and feeling. Thus, stories, art, and experiential activities and creative projects provide the most meaningful contexts for lessons in language arts, math, social studies, and science.

School Day: 8:20 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. with the option of Extended Day through 5:10 p.m.

Language Arts

Writing creative and expository pieces; incorporating the lowercase alphabet;  learning the cursive alphabet; developing phonemic awareness –vowel and consonant sounds, basic spelling rules; reading- individually and in small groups and chapter book read-alouds; exploring different genres including poetry and fables; simple book reports and related projects; speaking and listening; performing on the stage; developing Spanish vocabulary

Primary students are immersed in the work of learning to communicate via the printed word while expanding their practical understanding of vocabulary and grammar.  They gain skills and practice through reading and writing lessons and activities, which include chapter book read-alouds, individual reading work, storytelling, and in-depth discussions.  Lessons in spelling, punctuation, capitalization, grammar, and handwriting inform their daily practice.  Children write creatively in their journals while working on expository writing skills in their studies of math, science and social studies. In Spanish, children continue to build a vocabulary through game, song and story. The 7/8 year old begins to consider others’ perspectives and teachers actively utilize the social dynamic of the classroom to develop each individual’s ability to express his/her thoughts, feelings and needs respectfully and effectively.

Our complete Language Arts curriculum:

Show More


Adding and subtracting; exploring patterns in the number system; identifying coin values and counting money; working with place value and re-grouping; introduction to concepts of multiplication and division; collecting data- generating and interpreting a simple graph; telling time on a clock and utilizing a calendar

Math study in the Primary class focuses on forging meaningful connections between what children understand conceptually and the conventional symbols and procedures used to represent mathematical concepts. By exploring patterns in number and the number system and working with larger quantities, children develop more effective counting strategies and begin to consider number in terms of place value. Students learn to generate and solve conventional addition and subtraction equations, and are also encouraged to grapple with more complex problem solving using their own inventive strategies. Projects and activities involving measurement, graphing, money and geometry inspire practical application through which children make sense of new concepts.

Our complete Mathematics curriculum:

Show More

Social Studies

Life in the Olden Days; in depth class history project (on alternate years: Old Nantucket/Whaling and the Quakers or Westward Expansion) with pertinent projects, writing tasks, field trips and end-of-year presentation; historical fiction and non-fiction; mapping- compass rose and legend; creating small worlds and fort building

7/8 year olds begin venturing into new terrain outside of the home and school and the social studies curriculum reflects this impulse outward.  A study of ‘life in the olden days’ acquaints children with the history of their home and the rugged life of previous Nantucketers.  The class later leaves ‘home’ to set out for the frontier, discovering new lands and re-visiting the Native American culture.  Diverse projects, writing tasks, field trips and historical fiction and non-fiction texts provide children with both imaginative and hands-on personal experience.

Our complete Social Studies curriculum:

Show More


Investigating animals and plants and the concept of a habitat; experimenting with magnets- energy and direction; recording observation of Nature through word and image; gardening-vegetables and herbs; composting and recycling.

The 7/8 year old is discovering the world in new ways and is eager to learn about its creatures and uncover how things work. This natural curiosity is channeled in the study of creatures and their natural habitats. Through firsthand observation and research, children learn about the characteristics and needs of diverse creatures and plants and their shared habitats while considering ideas such as adaptation, food chain, and reproduction. In the area of physical science, Primary students explore magnets, magnetic attraction and magnetic poles.

Show More

Art/Craft/Handwork and Music

Beginning knitting- casting on and off, following a simple pattern; felting; stitching; weaving; painting- learning to mix colors, color wheel; drawing from observation; form drawing- symmetry, geometric forms, mirror images; collage; constructions; choral singing, singing games; listening; exploring rhythm, volume and tone; making and playing simple instruments.

Art is a primary means of expression for the young child. Creating art and crafting with the hands develops fine motor skills, exercises the imagination, and fosters creative thinking skills. Thus, art is integrated throughout the Lighthouse curriculum. Children engage in study related projects which often involve multi-step processes and a variety of mediums and techniques. Primary students take part in weekly Music classes and sing together at Circle and All School Meeting.

Our complete Art/Craft/Handwork and Music curriculum:

Show More

Physical Education

Nature hikes; playing indoors and out; organized games- soccer, Capture the Flag, Sharks and Minnows; ice skating; developing fine motor skills through weaving and knitting, handwriting, and art and craft activities.

Our complete Physical Education curriculum:

Show More