In Grades one and two, 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 these skills as they study geography, focusing first on the continents and then on the United States. 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 Sumer, Ancient Greece and Egypt, with an emphasis on the continuing growth of values into our own time. The study of geography focuses on Europe and the 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 13 items.

  • Math

    Math is taught experientially at Grace Church School wherever possible. Math in the classrooms is active; manipulatives and games are plentiful, which allow students who are ready for a deeper understanding of concepts to find a variety of algorithms to enrich their understanding, while other students use manipulatives to help solidify their understanding. Differentiated learning takes place during math lessons. The curriculum is organized to be consistent with the standards issued by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), and utilizes the most suitable of many math education programs and teaching sources. In addition to a strong classroom emphasis in every grade, math is integrated into community events with the celebration of "Pi Day” on March 14 (or 3.14) every year and other math-oriented activities like after school math clubs for Lower School, and the online Abacus website, an annual international math challenge founded by a Grace Church School teacher.
  • Language Arts

    Listening, speaking, reading and writing are the particular responsibilities of the English department. It would be difficult to overstate their importantce. Without them it is impossible to think clearly, communicate with others or to explore deeply any brank of human knowledge. The English department strives to combine a strong instructional program with an environment rich in language and literature. In the Lower School, a major goal is to help each child develop skill and pleasure in reading and writing. On the instructional level, teaching is individualized to meet the needs of each student. By the time children transition to Middle School, our hope is that each child has the ability to read and write critically, fluently, and enthusiastically.
  • History/Geography

    In First Grade, the social studies curriculum introduces students to world geography by taking a trip to each of the seven continents. Children explore diversity through studying the various traditions, landmarks and habitats of people from other countries and comparing them to their own.

    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 eudcation 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 program. 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.
  • Grade 5 Dance

    The 5th grade dance curriculum focuses on developing the student’s dance technique, while increasing their dance vocabulary and dance literacy.  Creativity and self-expression is the consistent outcome as the students improvise and create dance choreography on a regular basis. In addition, small group work fosters the ability to collaborate with classmates towards a common goal.

    Highlights and specific dance activities in the 5th grade include digital dance projects inspired by the work of well-known visual artists, a partnership with the Joyce Theater Dance Education Department, a tap dance unit focusing on the “National Tap Dance Anthem,” the Shim-Sham, and choreographing and producing a dance video.
  • Grade 6 Dance

    The 6th grade dance curriculum focuses on an historical and cultural approach to jazz dance. Jazz dance is a uniquely American art form and reflects the vernacular of the American people. The curriculum explores the African roots of Jazz dance, its development through slave dances, juke joints, swing dancing,and examines the influence of the blues, codification of a jazz dance technique, disco, and finally hip hop. The students not only get to try out the technique but leave the class understanding jazz dance as a voice of the people of America and a powerful means of expression.

    Some highlights include creating original choreography,a partnership with the Joyce Theater, and a hip hop dance battle.
  • Grade 7 Dance

    The 7th grade dance class continues the study of basic dance technique with a stronger focus on modern dance. The class explores guided dance improvisation and how it leads to movement for choreography. At the 7th grade level the dance program has created a dancer familiar with choreographic techniques. These techniques are used along with improvisation to allow both 7th grade dance students to create pieces of original choreography. In a combined 7th and 8th grade class students produce a dance performance.
  • Grade 8 Dance

    The 8th grade dance class has a heavy technique focus during the fall and winter months. The second half of the year allows students time, support, and coaching as they develop their culminating project. The culminating project is an original piece of choreography performed for the middle school and parents.