Lower Elementary Classroom - Students Ages 6 to 8

Students in this classroom are at an energetic stage of life! Emerging readers are transitioning to independent readers and are thrilled at their newfound ability to pick up any book and understand its contents. If provided with the right literature, this is the stage when children can develop a voracious reading habit that will last a lifetime. Similarly, elements of mathematics gel during these years and children can develop a true awe for the power and flexibility of numbers, mathematical operations, and our base-10 system.

Children at this age have a tremendous ability to focus for long periods of time when engaged in a project of their own design. They are developing the maturity and mental capacity to plan, implement, and adjust through multiple iterations of a project until they satisfy their curiosity. Adults often marvel at how hard children this age will work in order to play! They are also forming critical social skills during this phase as they move from parallel play to interactive, communal play. All social systems, but especially rules governing what is fair, become deeply important to them as they move from complete dependence on adults to their first experiences with managing group dynamics on their own.

Classical teachers for this age group have the exciting opportunity of shaping what a child will love for the rest of their life. Students in the lower elementary classroom are sponges, eagerly soaking up new content every day. This capacity, along with their natural enthusiasm, means they are easily led into new topics they will obsess over, possibly for years. Whereas the modern school child is probably stuck in the childish world of video games, the classical child of this age might be developing a life-long interest in Greek mythology or early American history or poetry or sculpture or any one of the arts or sciences that make up a classical curriculum which can be explored long into adulthood.

The following is an overview of the skills and topics students in our Lower Elementary classroom will cover over a three-year time span. As a supplemental program we partner with homeschooling families so instruction on topics not presented below is provided at home.

Categories and Topics of Learning

Sundial Classical Farmstead, in the classical tradition, is committed to the formation of the whole child: body, mind, and soul. It organizes its curriculum and programming into three broad categories that answer these key questions. What should we know? What should we do? How should we live?

  1. Liberal Arts & Sciences - areas of study, a) for developing the ability to identify the basic elements (or, grammar) of a discipline and then, b) how to manipulate those elements into a cohesive, true understanding of the world
  2. Arts & Trades - activities that teach the appreciation and practice of the good and the beautiful
  3. Virtues & Habits - practices that promote healthy social, spiritual, scholarly, and physical habits

For children ages 6 to 8 our Lower Elementary classroom covers the following topics and skills over a three-year span.

Liberal Arts & Sciences - identification and application of elements to build a true understanding of how the world works

  • Language - phonemic awareness, reading skills from emerging to fully independent, introduction to spelling and grammar, exposure to examples of written composition, penmanship from print to cursive, extemporaneous and prepared spoken responses, further development of speech articulation and vocabulary
  • Literature - fiction and nonfiction for pleasure and study of a topic, poetry, plays
  • Latin - vocabulary development and accuracy in pronunciation
  • Mathematics: place value to millions, competency with all four operations up to thousands (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division), introduction to fractions and geometry
  • History - begin a three-year cycle of studying world history, with a focus on depth of experience through literature, re-enactment through play, and constructing aesthetically pleasing physical models while learning about key events from that time period.
    • Year One: 55 BC to 1265
    • Year Two: 1265 to 1560
    • Year Three: 1560 to 1660
  • Geography - begin to be able to free hand draw major countries and their capitals, global landforms such as mountains and rivers
  • Science - nature study, play-based experimentation, introduction to botany, biology and geology vocabulary and concepts

Arts & Trades - appreciation and practice of the good and the beautiful

Fine Arts:

  • Music - communal singing in the classroom, instrumental lessons, introduction to two composers each year through listening and biographies
  • Drawing and Painting - sketching and painting lessons, introduction to two artists each year through picture study and biographies

Performing Arts (a key component of practicing these arts is the opportunity to perform before an audience in order to develop confidence, articulation, and an awareness of one’s presence):

  • Dance - folk and ballet dance lessons
  • Choral Singing - participation in a children’s choir
  • Theater - participating in one performance each year as actor, musician, or backstage

Practical/Common Arts:

  • Domestic Arts - cleaning the classroom, meal preparation, baking, weaving, sewing
  • Gardening - from soil preparation to harvest
  • Carpentry - beginning independent woodworking projects
  • Animal Husbandry - care for classroom pets or farm animals

Virtues & Habits - social, spiritual, scholarly, and physical practices

  • Social - manners, practicing hospitality, resolving conflict, developing empathy
  • Spiritual - lessons and practice of the seven virtues, liturgical readings, sacred art and music
  • Scholarly - begin to participate in planning independent learning activities, attentiveness, memorization, narration and spoken composition, begin to understand the concept of self-assessment of mastery of content
  • Physical - daily exercise, nutrition, hygiene

Mission: To form virtuous people: savoring beauty, cultivating gifts, pursuing knowledge, loving wisdom and truth, and practicing hospitality.