Grades K – 8
Intelligence, strong values and a solid work ethic allow our students to stand out and succeed in today’s world. The curriculum at ECDS is designed to provide students with the skills and perspective necessary for them to achieve their highest potential. Using vertical integration, individualized programming, and a problem solving orientation, we provide an exceptional learning environment. While we have established consistent performance standards and evaluation criteria, we are constantly reviewing programs and goals to insure that our curriculum remains up to date and innovative.
Mathematics At the core of our math curriculum is the belief that in order to embrace mathematics as an essential building block of a productive life, students need to engage in mathematical exploration on a daily basis. We also understand that students think uniquely and differently. For this reason, we use a foundational philosophy that we apply to any of three math programs that are chosen specifically to fit students’ needs. All three programs align to a set of core mathematical standards that reflect best practices in curriculum and instruction.
Our philosophy pulls from the key foundations of the Singapore Math model. This model hinges upon four essential beliefs:
First, we value the importance of working deeply and thoroughly with number relationships that enable students to develop a strong number sense.
Second, as research in best practice shows, children learn new skills in a particular order. It is often referred to as the Concrete-Pictorial-Abstract Approach. First, we address concepts in a concrete manner. Next, students work with picture models that represent the concrete materials. Then and only then, they learn through abstract concepts that we think of as symbols such as 74-23=51.
The third essential belief is the use of metacognition. Metacognition refers to thinking about our own thinking. This is often utilized as an instructional strategy where teachers model the thinking behaviors necessary to complete a mathematical task. Transferring this skill, students can check in on and explain their thinking process as they work. This boosts executive function in the brain.
The fourth and final essential belief hinges on the value of discussion and sharing unique methods and ideas when engaging in problem solving. We encourage problems to be solved in a variety of methods or approaches, just as each child’s brain is unique. Discussion based lessons allow for ongoing rich discourse where solving problems creatively and/or in a variety of ways can be reinforced.
The main program we use is a direct offering from the Singapore Math approach; it is called Dimensions Math. This is the most the most up to date Singapore Math program that addresses the key foundations in a comprehensive way.
A second program we use is called JUMP Math. This program is designed to teach discrete skills and address the smaller steps embedded in the mathematical process. This evidence-based program helps replace anxiety around math with understanding of math. This program bodes well for a subset of our students.
Finally, we use Math Mammoth, a very thorough and well designed program to supplement and support learning and curriculum for all students. This program is very effective because it simply, yet rigorously, concentrates on helping students truly understand the concepts of mathematics. The program utilizes effective visual models that come before abstract models which supports our essential belief that concrete and visual models are necessary before abstract.
Through a thorough, comprehensive, as well as individualized approach to our math curriculum, Easton Country Day school efficiently and effectively meets the needs of a variety of students at once.
Research shows that professionals must be familiar with a wide range of instrumental methodologies when teaching reading. Each child has a unique learning style and the instruction needs to be flexible enough in their teaching to meet each child’s needs. At ECDS the teachers are well versed in numerous approaches to reading including a variety of Phonics systems and Literature Based Instruction. Our goal is to develop lifelong readers who use critical thinking skills to comprehend literature in a variety of genres. Over the course of study students will:
1. Demonstrate competence in the skills and strategies of the reading process.
2. Demonstrate competence in skills and strategies for reading literature.
3. Demonstrate competence in applying the reading process to specific types of literary texts.
4. Demonstrate competence in applying the reading process to specific types of informational texts.
5. Demonstrate competence in using different information sources, including those of a technical nature, to accomplish specific tasks.
6. Demonstrate a familiarity with literary works
One of the primary mediums for communicating knowledge within academic circles is the written word. At ECDS it is of the utmost importance that students develop exemplary writing skills. Each core subject area requires the student to be proficient in one or more specific styles of writing. Students are required to develop the skills necessary to become, versatile, flexible, interesting writers. Over the course of study students will:
1. Demonstrate competence in the general skills and strategies of the writing process.
2. Demonstrate competence in using a variety of styles of writing.
3. Consistently use appropriate grammar and mechanics when composing.
4. Effectively gather and use information for research purposes
5. Will use the written word to effectively communicate ideas and knowledgeSTEM CLASS
Social Studies/ History
Cultural diversity and understanding cultural perspective is an integral part of Easton Country Day School. Understanding the interconnectedness and interdependence of national history, world history and current events is the main focus of our history curriculum. Our younger students immerse themselves in cultural studies. They learn to compare and contrast local, state and federal government both past and present as well as explore the cultures and governments of many countries of the world. At the middle school level the students receive in-depth knowledge of the USA and Europe from a historical perspective. As they learn how and why the world got to be the way it is they begin to compare and contrast decisions made by past political figures and those made today. Over the course of study students will:
Kindergarten- Grade 4
1. Understand the concepts of families and communities as they live and work together.
2. Understand that there are many different cultures in our country as well as around the world.
3. Understand the history of the United States, including an awareness of different states, cultures, demographic principles and values, and the cultures that contributed to its development.
4. Understand the history of Connecticut from Pre-colonial times to the present.
Lower form units will cover Native American studies, China, Medieval times, Africa, each students country of origin, and ancient history.
Through the use of class textbooks, projects and report writing, and hands-on activities, students will:
1. Demonstrate an understanding of the following periods of United States History (towns, religion, warfare, politics, culture, economics, etc.):
a. Pre-colonial times (- 1620)
b. Colonization (1620 – 1763)
c. Revolutionary times (1763 – 1820)
d. Expansion and reform (1820 – 1860)
e. Civil War and Reconstruction (1860 -1877)
f. Industrial United State (1870 – 1900)
g. Early 20th Century
h. The Great Depression and WWII (1929 -1945)
i. Post-war United States (1946-1970)
j. Contemporary United States (1968 – 1999)
2. Demonstrate an understanding of the following periods in World History (religion, culture, warfare, politics, economics, etc.) through the study of the countries of the world:
a. The beginnings of human society
b. Early civilizations (10,000 BCE to 4000 BCE)
c. Empires, religions, traditions (4000 BCE to 300 CE)
d. Global expansion (300 CE – 1770 CE)
e. Age of Revolution) 1750 CE – 1900)
f. The 20th Century
3. Demonstrate an understanding of the following periods in European History (religion, culture, warfare, politics, economics, etc.)
a. The Dark Ages
b. Medieval times
d. Age of Exploration
e. Industrial Revolution
4. Demonstrate an understanding of Civics:
a. What a government is and what it should do
b. What a democracy is and how it works
c. What the US Constitution is, how it was established, and how it works
d. Understand the importance of sharing values, beliefs and participating in American democracy
e. Understand political parties, campaigns, and elections, in American politics
f. Understand the meaning of citizenship in this country and the responsibilities it carries
Achievement of above goals will be determined through success on chapter tests and finals, class projects, research and report writing, and verbal communication of knowledge at the social studies fair
1. Understand the characteristics and uses of maps, gloves, and atlases.
2. Understand the concept of latitude and longitude lines.
3. Know the location of places and geographic features.
4. Understand the concept of regions and spheres.
5. Understand the spatial organization of the earth’s surface.
In the ever changing world of technology the computer curriculum at ECDS focuses on the essential knowledge and skills that students need to be lifelong, responsible learners in the area of technology. We strive to educate our students to be knowledgeable of computer programs (Excel, PowerPoint, and Word etc.), keyboarding, flexibility and creative problem solving are essential tools. Over the course of study students will:
1. Understand the characteristics and uses of computer hardware, software and operating systems.
2. Master keyboarding
3. Use software programs that include; Microsoft Word, Excel and Power Point
4. Be able to use the internet as a research tool
5. Understand internet etiquette and rules of safety
Former US Commissioner of Education Sidney P. Marland, Jr. stated,
“Gifted and talented children are those identified by professionally qualified persons who by virtue of outstanding abilities are capable of high performance. These are children who require differentiated educational programs and/or services beyond those normally provided by the regular school program in order to realize their contribution to self and society.” (Marland 1972)
At ECDS we recognize that there are highly gifted students who need additional programming to meet their educational needs. While vertical integration allows for them to learn at the appropriate grade level, they need additional time to meet in small groups and explore topics at a more in depth level. We have 2 groupings of gifted students based on age. The Juniors program runs from K to 4th grade and the Senior level is for grades 5 to 8. Three additional classes are offered to each group and each class meets twice week. The Humanities class offers exploration of literature and writing at a complex level. Many of the selections are chosen for their social context and discussions center on integration of themes into their daily lives. Project Classes are a time for them to delve into projects that interest them. Examples are the study of the inventions of Leonardo Davinci (and creating their own) or building robots with Lego Mindstorms.
Students will be selected on the basis of their composite scores on intelligence and achievement tests as well as recommendations from teachers and outside professionals. Assessments must measure diverse abilities, talents, strengths and needs. Psychological evaluations used to determine eligibility should include recommendations based on the findings. An assessment of social competence must be included.
Individualized Program Plan
An individual program plan will be developed for each student. Each plan will reflect the gifted learner’s interests, learning style, strengths and needs.
Students will be evaluated for individual placement within curriculum. Placement will be based on ability rather than age/grade. Students in the gifted program will develop skills in critical and creative thinking, problem – finding/solving, logic and independent research. Academics will be provided in a combination of small groups, large group and individual learning sessions. If appropriate, students will take courses at accelerated levels and if necessary at an accelerated pace. Programming designed to develop problem solving/ research skills will be provided in a small group setting as grouping students together allows them to learn from and challenge each other.
It is imperative that students placed in the gifted program work on social-emotional/community goals as well as academic goals. Upon entering the gifted program social-emotional goals and objectives will be determined and included in the individualized education plan. Special attention will be placed on non-verbal communication skills, development of emotional intelligence and group dynamics/interaction skills. A gifted child must be able to share their knowledge with others in an effective way in order to be successful members of the community.
Individual teachers will develop assessments for specific subjects. At the end of each year the ERB’s (Educational Records Bureau) will be given as a guide to overall achievement. It is recommended that the students participate in the John Hopkins Center for Talented Youth Program and take the SCAT test or SAT’s to further assess academic growth.
Outside recourses will be actively sought out to provide programming guidance and education for the staff working with these students. The school will provide funding for teachers to participate in staff development designed specifically for gifted learners. A network of professionals who will provide knowledge and support to staff will be developed so advice and ideas can be exchanged on an on-going basis.
Gifted students will also participate in the arts programming available at Easton Country Day School. This will include drama, fine arts and music. Physical Education and Spanish will also be offered.
ECDS’s motto is Responsibility, Integrity and Community in Praxis. The goal of the Gifted Program is to develop highly motivated, talented, flexible learners and teachers who can participate in and enhance the community at large.