Elementary

Ages 6-11

The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra.
— Jimmy Johnson
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Monday - Friday  •  8:10am - 3:15pm

 

MATH

Math at Prairie School is unique because Math is not thought of as a list of skills to check off but as a tool for investigating the world around us.  Students construct the big ideas in math through experience and connection to daily life such as cooking units, collecting maple syrup and gardening.  Students have independent time to explore math concepts using classroom materials and are encouraged to develop their own projects such as designing their own games, writing math books or creating surveys to collect and display data.  This way, as we work on practicing our skills, the math not only makes sense but is fun at Prairie School!

TheElementary students explore foundational math concepts through daily mental math talks, mini-lessons and contextual tasks. Each child is working at their own pace and learning in small group, or one-on-one conferencing with their teacher. Students strengthen math concepts through math games, reflective notebooks and independent study. When problem solving students check for reasonability while finding and connecting patterns in math. They are encouraged to model their ideas and identify useful tools to help them grow in mathematical thinking. Students are encouraged to communicate their conjectures clearly and logically to support their mathematical solutions.

 

LANGUAGE ARTS

At Prairie School of DuPage we believe reading should be a life-long pleasure. It is taught through individual conferencing with the teacher, and small group instruction. Literacy at Prairie School is brought at age-appropriate levels, and each student works at their own pace. It is supported through many hands-on activities such as oral story-telling, drama, as well as our book publishing center and in-class library. 

Authentic literacy is at the heart of what the student readers and writers experience at Prairie School of DuPage. The students flourish through individual choice, a supportive community of fellow readers and writers, and being immersed in the reading and writing processes. The students explore many forms of writing including narratives, dramas, poetry and research, and they have access to a rich choice of reading material in the classroom library. Students are expected to always have a book to read, nonfiction or fiction, that they are enjoying. In addition, they study mentor texts (rich examples of writing by critically acclaimed authors), grammar, vocabulary and spelling during their mini lessons and one-on-one time with their teacher.  Elementary Language Arts skills instruction is integrated throughout the day and across the curriculum.

GEOGRAPHY AND SOCIAL STUDIES

Elementary Social studies has a place-based focus with an emphasis on geography. The students work on mapping, and local and global geographical and cultural studies. They hear fables and folktales from around the globe and learn about the world around them in the context of the continents' biomes.

SCIENCE

Prairie School of Dupage curriculum is deeply rooted in science and nature. The science of observing and recording the world around you, and having a true knowledge of the place where you live. We promote attentiveness and a sense of wonder. So, though the children will learn the scientific method, and how to set up a good experiment, how to hypothesize, and how to research and record results, they will also be learning how to watch, how to empathise, and how to observe beauty in the world around them. Through activities such as working in the garden, monitoring and recording data from the various outdoor learning stations (weather, track trap, pond, etc), drawing and story-telling, and reading aloud from fellow nature observers. Elementary science is both content and inquiry based.

FOREIGN LANGUAGE

Elementary Spanish class is taught by a native speaking instructor in an immersive environment that emphasizes conversational Spanish and integrates music and movement. Spanish is offered 2 times a week.

 

THE FINE ARTS

The Fine Arts are valued as being an integral part of a child's holistic education, and are integrated into the daily academics. Formal instruction is also given during the week.

  • Formal Visual Arts instruction is taught in a 2.5 hour lab each week. Visual arts classes focus on the basic elements of design, and principles of composition. The students explore many different forms of visual arts such as drawing, painting, printing and sculpting. They also work with different techniques and materials within each form. The Elementary students begin their journey into art history by learning about a few artists and movements.

  • Formal Choral Music instruction is offered 2 times a week. Elementary music class focuses on choral singing, rhythm instruments, beginning music theory and ensemble performance.

  • Orchestra is taught 2 times a week. Elementary orchestra, for third graders and older focuses on learning a string instrument of choice, music theory, notation and reading, and ensemble performance.

 

Movement

A formal movement class is offered twice a week, and varies throughout the year.  The children are exposed to yoga taught by a yoga instructor that is certified in both adult and children’s yoga. There are many physical and mental benefits of yoga for children, but the benefits specific to the classroom include increased attention span and ability to focus, reduced anxiety and emotional balance, and better work habits. The Elementary class also participates in a tumbling class, and various games classes.





 
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NATURE STUDIES

Our mission at Prairie School is to nurture an understanding of, and develop a deep relationship with the natural world. Some of things we will be doing are:

  • Daily morning observation hike

  • In-depth observation and exploration of local plants, birds, animals, geography and weather patterns

  • Identification, journaling, tracking and data keeping

  • Working in the school garden, with the school bee hive, and annual maple tapping

OUTDOOR EDUCATION

Outdoor eduction at Prairie School of DuPage is an area where children develop self confidence and self reliance. The Elementary class begins its outdoor education with day-camping on the grounds two times a year. The students have an opportunity to use their nature studies knowledge and continue to learn outdoor skills such as:

  • canoeing

  • orienteering

  • animal tracking

  • bird watching

  • shelter building, and tent set up

  • slackline, team building and other outdoor skills

UNIT STUDIES

The Elementary class has unit studies two times a week and each unit runs for 6-12 weeks. The students work on units such as:

  • Cooking

  • Woodworking

  • Theater

  • P4C (philosophy for children)

  • Handwork: learning to sew, knit, crochet, wet or needle felting techniques