Upper Primary Class
9-10 Year Olds
In the ninth year, a child’s awareness of ‘self’ grows stronger and this signals an exciting new stage of cognitive growth, evident in the 9-year old’s increasing mastery of academic skills. This sharpened sense of individuality can also manifest in new worries, fears and a more critical nature. 9-year olds want to know the ‘how’ and ‘why’ behind what was once taken for granted and so may engage in persistent questioning and challenging of those in authority, whether in regards to a ‘rule,’ a ‘fact,’ or questions of a more philosophical nature. As they achieve more fluency in reading, children utilize this new tool to acquire their own information and begin the process of organizing and interpreting this information in written form. The 10 year old settles into this new sense of self and works to integrate new concepts and skills while feeling content with his/her accomplishments. 9/10 year olds are increasingly able to apply the concepts and skills they have gathered in new and challenging ways. As most 9/10 year olds have acquired sufficient reading skills, homework is now introduced as a way to practice skills learned as well as to foster individual responsibility and self-study habits.
School Day: 8:20 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. with the option of Extended Day through 5:10 p.m.
‘Reading to learn’; reading fiction and non-fiction- individually and in small interest-based groups; reading with expression and comprehension; identifying plot, theme, and characterization; creative and expository writing; writing poetry; learning parts of speech; studying Norse mythology; biography; using cursive in daily work; editing and drafting/revision process; writing reports- researching and organizing information; spelling; presenting scripted plays; developing Spanish speaking skills.
Traditionally, this is the age in which children work through the significant shift from ‘learning to read’ to ‘reading to learn.’ In addition to their individual reading and class read-aloud work, children are introduced to Literature Circle with prescribed reading and activities which develop analytic and comprehension skills. While students continue journal writing, they work on more assigned writing tasks across the curriculum. Self-editing techniques are introduced and practiced in conjunction with the teacher’s review of student work. In Spanish, children expand upon their knowledge of vocabulary and build conversational skills. 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.
Mastering and applying basic facts; re-grouping; solving multistep problems; rounding and estimating; working with basic fractions; performing multiplication and division; identifying appropriate arithmetic function to solve word problems; mapping- using scale; making change; measuring length, height, weight, volume and time; gathering, interpreting and comparing data.
Upper Primary students integrate their growing mastery of basic arithmetic facts and knowledge of the number system to solve more complex equations as well as imaginary and practical word problems. As they deal with greater quantities, they come to recognize the need for more efficient strategies and uncover the uses of multiplication and division. Beginning with simple equations, Upper Primary students proceed to delve into the multi-step procedures of multi-digit multiplication and long division. Concepts which were introduced earlier are revisited in more depth as children are able to work more imaginatively and abstractly with mathematical concepts.
Understanding a people far away and nearby; Freedom and Equality (Slavery/Harriet Tubman, Civil Rights/ M.L. King, Jr.) and on alternate years, A Different Culture utilizing historical fiction and non-fiction along with pertinent projects, writing tasks, field trips and end-of-year presentation; researching and report writing; mapping- local geography, writing directions, treasure/scavenger hunts.
As children grow out of an egocentric orientation, they can begin to consider other perspectives. As such, a fiery interest arises as to what is fair. This question is reflected in the social studies curriculum with its focus on Slavery and the Civil Rights Movement. 9/10 year olds can consider twofold concepts, such as ‘long ago’ and ‘far away,’ and welcome studies of diverse cultures. Historical fiction and biographies of historical figures serve to instruct and inspire.
Motion and Simple Machines and, on alternate years: Exploring Energy- electricity, basic circuitry, natural resources and alternative energies; writing research paper; gardening (ordering and distributing seeds, flower garden); composting and recycling; mapping- scale gardening (vegetables); composting and recycling.
In middle childhood, children are inspired to investigate the natural world and explore their place within it. Questions arise as to how things work; these questions propel studies in physical science, including Motion and Simple Machines and Energy. Science study involves active experimentation, field trips, lab work, research and writing. The topic of energy not only involves the study of electricity and current energy sources but also prompts consideration of environmental concerns, alternative sources, and the practical ways students can effect change in their homes and communities.
Art, Handcrafts and Music
Knitting,- knit/purl, following a pattern; felting; embroidery; collage; clay modeling; painting- color wheel, painting and drawing from observation; form drawing- symmetry, geometric forms, mirror images; constructions; carving; choral singing; rhythm games.
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.
Nature hikes; playing indoors and out; fitness exercises; organized games- soccer, Capture the Flag, Sharks and Minnows; ice skating; juggling; developing fine motor skills through weaving and knitting, handwriting, and art and craft activities