Academics

Elementary School

Program Overview

The Elementary School (ES) is comprised of approximately 330 children from grade one 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.

Significant Elements of the Elementary School

  • 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.
Orchard values each student as an individual, engages their natural curiosity, and encourages them to think critically and creatively to solve problems.

- Orchard Parent

Grades:

List of 2 items.

  • 1st & 2nd Grade

    The first and 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.
  • 3rd & 4th 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 schedule for grades three and four provides time for math, language arts, literature, social studies, science, Spanish, art, music, and physical education. We are able to provide a course of study that is challenging and demanding, yet appropriately balanced.

Curriculum FAQs

List of 3 frequently asked questions.

  • Q: How is the curriculum organized?

    Orchard faculty preface school-wide curriculum documentation by first defining the philosophy driving each discipline.
    Researching a variety of highly recognized standards, the Orchard faculty developed their own standards, a composite of Indiana and national content knowledge standards.
    Orchard's standards were developed to help ensure continuity and consistency throughout Orchard's programs, ranging from preschool through eighth grade. These standards include objectives to guide student instruction and learning.

    The Orchard School curriculum is much broader than the standards upon which it has been framed. Orchard's curriculum overview by discipline provides a deeper understanding of how curriculum is delivered and assessed. This overview succinctly outlines by discipline the philosophical rationale, course description, key concepts and skills, and methods of assessment and reporting.

    The written documentation is the foundation for Orchard's curriculum. Just step into any classroom to see evidence of what sets Orchard apart. Creative and dedicated teachers, hands-on learning strategies, progressive teaching methodologies and student leadership make learning come alive.
  • Q: How extensive is The Orchard School curriculum?

    The Orchard School curriculum includes standards and documentation for literature and language arts, mathematics, multicultural education, science, social studies, Spanish, technology, health, physical education, visual arts, drama and music.
  • Q: Will the curriculum ever change?

    Yes, it is good practice to be engaged in annual reviews of the school curriculum. Curriculum Teams meet regularly to discuss programs and review the curriculum.