In second grade, the curriculum focuses on language arts and mathematics as the foundations of academic growth. While standards are high, teachers are sensitive to individual differences in rate of development and learning styles. Basic skills like phonemic awareness, spelling, addition, and subtraction are studied at each grade level so that the child can apply them to widening areas of experience with increasing flexibility and confidence. Students use computers as tools for accomplishing age-appropriate tasks. Homeroom experiences are supplemented with regular classes in science, music, visual arts, dance and physical education. The use of SMART Boards enhances both learning and teaching.

In Grades three and four, children begin to relate ideas to the facts and forms they have learned. They start to be independent thinkers, using with increasing mastery the basic skills they acquired earlier. They come to understand themselves as individuals, forming social relationships through which they distinguish between responsibilities to themselves and to others. 

The curriculum focuses on arithmetic operations of all sorts, and, in Language Arts, a growing awareness of style, as well as widening vocabulary and skill in writing. The history program explores Native American culture and the peopling of New York City, then moves into historical civilizations such as China, Mesopotamia, Greece, the Mayan Empire, and Egypt, with an emphasis on the continuing growth of values into our own time. An overview of global and local geography ultimately narrows its focus on Europe and countries around the Mediterranean basin. In science, children develop an increasingly abstract sense of the systems that control our environment. Students choose to study French or Spanish language and culture, focusing on pronunciation and oral comprehension. Music, art, crafts, and drama and dance are an important part of the curriculum; technology is integrated throughout the curriculum. Coordination and fair play are emphasized as central themes of the physical education program.

Curriculum Descriptions

List of 9 items.

  • Math

    At Grace, we believe that every student is capable of learning challenging mathematics. The aim of Grace’s math program is to inspire a lifelong love of numbers and a facility with their use. We want our students to experience how math can be a playground for minds hungry to spot patterns, arrange shapes, count, and classify. We seek to instill deep numeracy and not just operational knowledge, believing that math is a vital tool for understanding the world and for contributing to it in meaningful ways. Lower School students study math using Bridges in Mathematics, published by the Math Learning Center. Number Corner is a time to build fluency with grade-appropriate operations and develop algebraic thinking through predicting patterns on a different calendar pattern each month. Math lessons include a combination of solving problems in groups, using visual models to develop new strategies, and working with manipulatives to construct mathematical understanding
  • Language Arts

    Reading is taught and explored through small group instruction. Students are taught decoding strategies daily, and student discussion groups support students in developing their oral expression skills. Students are taught to use various comprehension strategies as they read and reflect upon their own books, as well as shared texts, to deepen their understanding and metacognitive awareness. Teachers read aloud to students daily to enhance their vocabulary and comprehension skills and to instill a love of reading. In writing, a primary emphasis is on expository writing, as children are taught how to organize their ideas effectively and creatively. Students are also taught various techniques for effective writing and revision as they compose narrative, fiction, expository, and descriptive genre pieces. Grammar and related language skills are taught, and are reinforced through students editing their own writing. Cursive writing skills are also emphasized. 
  • Social Studies

    In Second Grade, students learn about the geography of the United States, studying the different regions of the country, and the native peoples who inhabited it first. Students are also introduced to the study of history through the expedition of Lewis & Clark and westward expansion in America.  

    In Third Grade, students study the geography and the "peopling of New York City" through an integrated curriculum. They examine the city's first inhabitants, the Native Americans, and how their natural environment influenced their housing, food, clothing, and technology, through to present-day immigrants. We investigate the Age of Exploration, Colonial Period, American Revolution, the Great Waves of Immigration and the Harlem Renaissance.

    The Fourth Grade curriculum focuses on ancient civilizations, which helps the children learn about the world in which they live. Throughout the year the emphasis is on activities that enhance the reading, writing, and debating that take place in class.
  • Foreign Language

    Second language education at GCS prepares young people to become culturally sensitive and communcatively competent in other societies and cultures in the world, and to interact more effectively with the culturally diverse peoples of this country as well. Students begin learning a second language in Grade 3 when they select either French or Spanish, continuing with this language through the end of Grade 8. Latin instruction begins in Middle School. Language classes at GCS are filled with fun, laughter, songs, food, multi-sensory activities as well as specific language acquisition exercises.
  • Arts

    The Arts Department provides a comprehensive arts education with classes in visual art, dance, music, and drama. Arts teachers work closely with homeroom teachers to ensure an integrated curriculum that enhances and enriches the social studies, science, language arts, and mathematics programs. The tightly integrated program enables students to develop self-expression and creative ability, and thus offers students the opportunity to learn skills that encourage individual thought.
  • Science

    Science teachers have designed their classes to further the integrated Lower School social studies curriculum. In Grade 1, hands-on experiments and projects help students begin to develop some scientific method skills, such as making predictions, recording observations, analyzing results and drawing conclusions. In Grade 2, students continue to learn about science primarily through experience. The curriculum centers on a study of major natural resources and branches into many scientific disciplines as each resource is explored. In Grade 3, students to continue explore the natural world as they work in pairs or small groups to perform experiments that highlight scientific concepts. Students focus on drawing logical conclusions from their observations and results in the classroom and applying them to larger scientific phenomena and relationships occurring in the world around them. In Grade 4, the science program encourages students to increase their ability to observe, record and analyze while being introduced to new topics in science. The students are able to expand their knowledge of the life, physical and earth sciences and hone their scientific investigation skills. 
  • Technology

    Technology is a vehicle for learning as well as a tool for communicating one's understanding. Our technology program has been carefully designed to allow students to safely use tablets and laptops to support their classroom work. Students learn typing and word processing, as well as beginning multimedia programs. There is an emphasis on using computers appropriately and with integrity. 
  • Religion & Ethics

    The religion and ethics curriculum at GCS reflects the mission statement of the school: to "develop an active ethical consciousness supported by close acquaintance with Judeo-Christian beliefs," supplemented with a sympathetic awareness of other religious traditions. The aim is to encourage a profound respect for the significance of religion in general and the importance of nuruturing a spiritual life. In Grade 3 students take a Bible course aimed at providing a basic familiarity with the biblical narrative, especially with the books of Genesis and Exodus, and serves as a foundation for the more intensive study of the Hebew Bible and New Testament. The Grade 4 Bible course reviews and continues the reading of the Hebrew Bible and familiarizes students with the foundation stories of the Judeo-Christian-Muslim tradition.
  • Physical Education

    They Physical Education curriculum at Grace Chuch School is broad and balanced, emphasiszing the importance of physical fitness and a healthy lifestyle, as well as fair play, cooperation and kindness. Students begin with activities that are teacher-centered for participation and organization and progress to assuming the responsibility for the preparation, carrying out and reviewing their own program of activity. Developing good sportsmanship is an integral part of the program.
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Grace Church School is a co-educational independent school in downtown Manhattan, New York City providing instruction for nearly 800 students in Junior Kindergarten through Grade 12.