Our curriculum is designed to capture and strengthen children's innate curiosity. Our goal is to develop critical and creative thinkers who maintain their love of learning.
We do this with an interdisciplinary approach that is hands-on, thematic and inquiry-based — engaging the children in their own learning. Our highly trained and passionate teachers guide the students, challenging or providing support when needed.
- Language Arts
- Project Work in Science and Social Studies
- Social & Emotional Development
- Classroom Management
- Co-curricular Classes (Specials)
Our goal in mathematics is to enable children to use math facts, skills and procedures to develop higher-order thinking processes. We use Everyday Math, a spiraling math program from the University of Chicago that encourages students to explore concepts that are usually introduced at higher grade levels, such as patterns, functions, algebra and geometry.
Teachers also use weekly complex problems and independently paced math challenges and manipulatives for further enhancement.
Language and literacy are taught through a balanced literacy approach. The goal is to develop effective communication skills and to stimulate appreciation of the oral and written word. Activities include:
- Fundations phonics program
- Lucy Calkins Writing Workshop
- Cursive instruction
- Handwriting, grammar, usage and punctuation instruction
- Individual, small group, modeled and guided reading activities
The Raleigh School uses the North Carolina Essential Standards in Science and Social Studies to form the basis for interdisciplinary units of study — or "themes" — that engage children in hands-on, inquiry-based learning. Throughout these units students are actively engaged in the planning process through discussion, exploration, and individual choice opportunities. Teachers guide students through the development of research-oriented skills using inquiry-based projects centered around Essential Questions that encourage students to think deeply and critically about topics. Themes include such topics as Economics in first grade, the Ocean in second grade and U.S. geography in fifth grade.
Students are asked to observe, document, ask questions, problem solve, notice patterns, take notes, and draw conclusions. Most units of study conclude with a culminating activity that may include written work, visual representations of knowledge, and performance-based activities that demonstrate understanding. Teachers rely on a variety of resources to enrich students’ studies that may include meeting experts, taking field trips, interviewing sources, and hands-on experimentation.
At The Raleigh School we believe that the social and emotional aspect of children’s development is as important as the academic component. Our elementary teachers are trained in the Responsive Classroom approach and work hard to proactively address the social and emotional needs of children. Teachers take the time to get to know students and they are valued and respected as individuals. Cooperative group skills, conflict resolution, and intrinsic motivation are actively fostered.
From the earliest ages, children learn to resolve conflict, negotiate desired outcomes and serve as leaders. This is part of the reason we say there is no back of the classroom at The Raleigh School — involvement comes naturally.
The Raleigh School believes that young children learn best as active participants in cooperative, play-based experiences and, therefore, exposure to technology should be minimized as children enter elementary grades. However, as children move into upper elementary grades the school recognizes and embraces technology as a tool to aid in collaboration, communication and innovation in an ever-changing global society.
All of our elementary classrooms utilize Smartboards. Beginning in third grade there is increased access to computers in our classrooms with laptops being added in fourth and fifth grades, allowing students to explore Google applications, Microsoft Excel, weebly website builder and more. In addition to the technology in the classrooms, our media center houses a set of iPads that can be used both for instruction as part of our technology literacy efforts as well as for classroom use. Students and teachers use technology as a resource within our project-based curriculum when we believe it can enhance learning and promote creativity.
Teachers model respect and hold students to high standards of behavior. At the beginning of each year, teachers and students work together to establish clear expectations for their classroom community.
In the event that a child requires redirection, teachers will do so in a way to cause the least disruption to the learning process. If a child requires more intensive intervention, a team approach involving teachers, parents, our school counselor and administrators as well as outside specialists will be implemented to identify and address the social and academic needs of the child. A plan will be put in place to maximize student learning.
Our teachers do not use extrinsic rewards or "punishments"; rather, the focus is on intrinsic motivation and self-awareness.
Depending on age/grade level, students attend classes once or twice a week in:
- Physical Education
These "specials" are a vital part of connecting fields of study, enhancing a child's knowledge of the world. Art, for example, is a classic interdisciplinary field that encompasses math, civilization, scientific precision and beyond. Spanish introduces the concept of a foreign language as well as the notion of disparate cultures and perspectives.