Program Overview of the Elementary School
The Elementary School (ES) is comprised of approximately 390 children from Preschool through grade four.
Our focus is on the development of the whole child—socially, emotionally, cognitively, physically, artistically and ethically within a supportive and challenging environment. During these formative years when children are curious and inquisitive, we provide them with opportunities to discover, explore, and experiment. Children learn best by doing and, therefore, are encouraged to think, reason, create, and collaborate through active participation in the learning process.
Individual differences in children vary, and we have created a program that readily accommodates these differences. A broad range of activities and materials enables each child’s growth to proceed naturally.
The ES program is designed to engage developing minds, build self-confidence, allow a child to see the world from different perspectives, teach students to work together cooperatively, and develop a concern for others.
The preschool–second grade curriculum is organized into interdisciplinary units that enhance the children’s ability to connect school life and real life. This allows students to explore areas of study by using multiple learning approaches across academic disciplines. Children learn to express themselves through these modes of communication.
In order to meet the needs of children at each grade level, teams of teachers construct units of study or themes taking into consideration children’s multiple learning styles and stages of development. Science, Spanish, physical education, technology, and the arts are taught both within the classroom and in specialists’ classrooms. Teaching teams from each grade level work together to coordinate learning through the day.
Literacy is a primary focus of instruction in the ES. The many ways in which we communicate (e.g. linguistically, artistically, scientifically, technologically, mathematically, and socially) are woven into our curriculum.
Third and Fourth Grade
During the third and fourth grades, students are encouraged to move toward academic and personal independence and are provided the framework to develop mastery. Our weekly schedule for grades three and four provides time for math, language arts, literature, social studies, science, Spanish, and a physical education and technology rotation. Classes held twice weekly include art and music for grade three.
In grade four students rotate through three quarters of music, art, and drama with the last quarter devoted to a ballet unit. We are able to provide a course of study that is challenging and demanding, yet appropriately balanced.
Significant Elements of the ES
- Field trips, local speakers, and community resources play a vital role in our ES curriculum and units of study.
- Homework is assigned to reinforce classroom work; to challenge and enrich students academically; and to foster self-discipline, organizational skills, and good study habits.
- Formal parent-teacher conferences are scheduled two times during the school year for all ES students, although assessment and conferencing take place on an ongoing basis.
- Progress reports provide parents with meaningful information in regards to their child’s academic achievement and performance. Evidence used in determining progress relates directly to what students have learned and can do based on Indiana State and Orchard standards and objectives.
- ES students are expected to demonstrate behavior consistent with the values and principles of The Orchard School. Guiding principles of the ES are to respect one's self, respect others, respect the environment, and respect time. Students are expected to interact with adults and peers in a courteous way at all times.
- The ES faculty has a passion for what they do. With a wide diversity of styles and approaches, the faculty demonstrate personal and professional creativity in the classroom. Commitment to a consistent and coherent program that best serves the needs of all students is accomplished through a spirit of collaboration fostered by team-teaching and a high degree of collegiality.
- A partnering relationship is encouraged between parents, teachers, and the school. Email and phone calls are used as the primary means of communication. Preschool through second grade teachers will email a weekly newsletter. Grades three and four email a biweekly newsletter. Content includes highlights of activities, review of skills and topics, suggestions for working the your child at home, and upcoming events.