Kindergarten-Grade 3 Curriculum

The goal of science instruction in lower school is to expand student curiosity about the natural world. Students develop thinking and procedural skills for scientific investigations. The curriculum builds upon concepts and understanding, year by year, in the earth, chemical, physical, and biological sciences. All lower school students participate in the Spring Science EXPO. First and second-grade students experiment, observe, and prepare presentations in small groups, while third-grade students develop individual science projects using the scientific method taught in class.

Lower School mathematics is an integrated curriculum of problem-solving and computation. One component is the University of Chicago School Mathematics Program, Everyday Mathematics®, emphasizing conceptual and application understanding of numbers, geometry and computation. Interactive explorations and directed instruction develop a variety of computational methods, representation of ideas and problems, and procedural thinking. The second component is the EXCEL® mathematics program focusing on individualized computation mastery.

Language Arts
The language arts curriculum is an integration of reading, writing, phonics, spelling, handwriting, listening and speaking to achieve knowledge, questioning skills, and positive dialogue with others.

Reading & Writing
Lower School language arts classes meet at the same time of day for grades K-3, allowing for each child’s placement to be congruent with their optimal instruction level. Spelling and reading mastery are constantly assessed, and students may be accelerated when it is advantageous to their individual learning. Third graders participate in literature circles, a reading process which incorporates group discussion and journalistic writing. Literary, journal, and informational writing projects, within the content areas, help students master idea generation, creative expression, and the mechanics of writing.

Phonics & Spelling
Phonics learning for first and second grades is mastery of consonant blends, diphthongs, digraphs, and short vowel sounds, for use in spelling. Students learn to spell words in a graded textbook and within the academic subject content. Third-grade students begin moving from the structural stage of spelling (prefixes and endings) to the meaning/derivational stage of spelling. The spelling plan is individualized for each student.

An emphasis in lower school is placed on positioning the paper and pencil correctly. Neatness is encouraged in all work, and practicing good handwriting will accomplish this goal. First graders master the letter formations while second graders are introduced to cursive letter writing. Third graders focus on perfecting their writing skills, editing, and creating multiple drafts.

Social Studies
Lower school social studies curriculum explore communities of countries and regions throughout the world. These themes are expanded through reading, writing, and field trips. First graders study current events, while second graders study community history and visit a one-room schoolhouse for immersion in early American life. Third graders research, write a traditional five paragraph paper, use media to produce a portrait, and create a PowerPoint presentation on a selected United States president.


  • Language Skills: Listening, speaking, reading, and writing.
  • Topics*: Identity, greetings, colors, numbers, body parts, physical actions, directions, animals, food, clothing, family, house, classroom, days, weather, transportation, holidays, culture, shapes, calendar, description, and seasons.
  • Instruction: Total Physical Response (TPR), repetition, interaction, songs, rhymes, manipulatives, games, stories and graded readers.
  • Assessment: Observation, physical and verbal responses, and written activities.


  • Focus: Pronunciation of basic Chinese words, introduction to the Chinese Pin-Yin system and Chinese strokes, nursery rhymes, Chinese culture, great inventions, and traditional holiday stories.
  • Vocabulary: Nature, numbers, animals, colors, fruits & vegetables, necessities of study, the body, electrical appliances, food, and pronunciation of up to 60 vocabulary words.
  • Projects: Chinese paper cuts, vocabulary matching games, and traditional Chinese cartoon movies.
  • Writing: Students will learn to write their names in Chinese and write numbers 1-10.


  • Sing confidently
  • Listen intentionally
  • Play instruments (Orff instruments, tone bells, percussion) in rhythm
  • Express the tone of a piece with musical choices
  • Imagine a story in the music; expand meaning by interpreting sound, rhythm and actions

Visual Arts
Children benefit from the understanding of the basic elements and principles of art and design: line, color, value, shape and texture. Art lessons are centered on these ideas using standard and multi-media. Art takes on a multicultural perspective in third grade, providing a great opportunity for students to understand variations in the world. Folk art from Australia, Africa, Mexico and Native America provide the location journey. Students experiment with all the standard media while applying different methods and ideas, from a world filled with artists!

Physical Education
The program builds on the skills and knowledge children have learned in the preceding years. Curriculum begins to narrow from a broad outlook to a more focused concentration on skill and coordination mastery.
Core Objectives:
Participate in running, skipping, jumping, hopping games and activities

  • Improve ball control
  • Participate in group games
  • Develop good health practices (nutrition, rest, exercise, healthcare)
  • Presidential Fitness evaluation

Contact Director, Tracy Moen, at or 248.625.7270 to learn more about K-3 at Cedar Crest Academy.