Crossing the Threshold. Exploring New Worlds.
Grades 1 to 4: Private Elementary School in Morristown
The academic world expands in our Elementary Program. From Grade 1, students begin their serious study of traditional academic subjects. Our approach, however, is far from traditional.
Our integrated curriculum and Montessori methods provide continuity and invite students to take ownership of their learning. We encourage students to explore ideas across disciplines, make connections, and think broadly about their place and responsibilities within the community.
The following offers a small glimpse into the Elementary Curriculum. For a more detailed view please download one of our comprehensive curriculum guides:
Lower Elementary Curriculum Guide (Grades 1-2)
Upper Elementary Curriculum Guide (Grades 3-4)
Language is perhaps our most important art form. The ability to read with focus and comprehension, write effectively, and communicate clearly is essential as students progress through elementary and middle school.
Following the framework of the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project, students practice these skills daily—on their own, with a teacher, and with classmates. Thinking MapsTM are also used to help young writers organize their thoughts, select pertinent facts from their research and inquiry, and effectively present to others.
At The Red Oaks School, students aren’t just learning math, they are learning to think like mathematicians.
Singapore Math teaches students mathematical concepts in a three-step learning process: concrete, pictorial, and abstract. Each semester, students build upon prior knowledge and skills, with students mastering them before moving on to the next topic. By the end of fourth grade, Singapore math students have mastered basic operations, understanding of the concept of fractions and decimals, basic geometry, probability, and data interpretation. Students also learn to solve increasingly difficult, multi-step word problems using bar models, a visual drawing of the known facts in a word problem and symbols representing what needs to be solved.
Guided inquiry, the joy of discovery, and hands-on, minds-on learning are the hallmarks of our science program. As students study the life, earth, and physical sciences, they learn to follow the standard scientific method: articulating the question; gathering information; making predictions; observing, recording, analyzing data; and drawing conclusions, and presenting their findings.
Science often unites with Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics within our collaborative makerspace studio. Teachers facilitate students' use of the space as problem-solvers of all ages address challenges of all kinds—trying out solutions, tinkering, assessing prototypes, and sharing ideas and successes.
The concepts of identity, aesthetic expression, place and time, social organization and human interaction with nature are explored in the social studies classroom at Red Oaks. Focusing on a different country each year, 1st and 2nd grade students conduct a comprehensive study of customs, culture, geography, and history. Simultaneously, students develop map skills as they learn about the world’s continents and climate. In grades 3 and 4, students explore these concepts in the context of American history. Students investigate governmental and social systems that evolved from conflicts and migration, and their change through time, through a study of colonization, revolution, westward expansion, and civil war in the United States. Throughout the elementary years, Red Oaks students also learn to be conscientious and contributing members of their community through service learning and stewardship of the natural environment.
Research shows that learning a non-native language provides cognitive benefits to students. Language learning also correlates with higher academic achievement and increased linguistic awareness. In addition language learners develop more positive attitudes towards people from other cultures. During their four Elementary years, Red Oaks students learn to write and speak conversational Spanish. The curriculum is communication-based with the goal of proficiency.
Art in all its forms is woven through the Red Oaks curriculum. Students take inspiration from all areas of their studies and express themselves through performance in music, dance, and theater, and through a full range of visual arts—everything from drawing and painting to photography and sculpture.
The visual arts program at Red Oaks offers students opportunities to explore a broad range of art making techniques, while synthesizing craft and concept. Through the manipulation of materials, observation, and ongoing discussion, a foundation of conceptual and historical understanding of visual culture can be built. These explorations in self-reflection and communication provide tools with which students can see and respond to the world around them
The music program at Red Oaks is both expressive and explorative. Students consider music from a wide variety of sources in an effort to understand and foster respect for cultures extending far beyond their experiences. Simultaneously, students learn fundamental skills to engender confidence and creative spirits. Students’ early musical experiences help to set the stage for the perseverance needed for later study and practice.
Montessori believed that movement was the key to engagement and learning. At Red Oaks, we take it a step further and have a deliberate and focused approach to help students realize their physical potential. Our unique PE curriculum allows for the individual needs and strengths of every child fostering a supportive yet challenging experience.
The Red Oaks Physical Education Curriculum has fitness, physical and social skill building embedded in its objectives. The objectives are:
- To increase student awareness of the benefits of exercise, nutrition, and care of the body as motivation for the practice of fitness activities
- To increase student skills in performance of a wide variety of ball and body control movements
- To teach students the practice of respectful negotiation in differences in opinion, respectful understanding of differences in skills, and leadership skills involving inclusion and cooperation.