Grades 1-4 Curriculum

The Lower School curriculum is integrated with a belief that differentiated learning allows everyone to participate to their fullest potential.

Through particular units of study, our curriculum takes a thorough look at specific themes, rather than covering broad topics. Students explore these themes across all areas of study, including Language Arts, Writing, Math, Science, Spanish, Art, Music, Integrated Productions, Library, Technology, MakerSpace and Physical Education.

  • Grade 1, Staten Island Academy's History, Local Communities, My Neighborhood
  • Grade 2, Staten Island Study, The Five Boroughs: A Social and Cultural Study
  • Grade 3, Immigration, Western Expansion in the United States
  • Grade 4, First Peoples of the Americas: Mayans, Incas and Aztecs

More About Themed Units

Grade 1

Grade 1 begins with the students studying the Staten Island Academy campus, its history and the people involved in the day-to-day operations. They express what they have learned through visual arts, song, science and technology. Students write questions and interview faculty members. The culminating project for this study is the creation of physical and digital books based upon what they learned. As the children in Grade 1 become fluent readers, they undertake the challenge of researching non-fiction information. This interdisciplinary unit is based on the study of animals and incorporates science, art, technology, language arts and mathematics. Using books, computer research and discussions, students learn about the location, diet and habitat of their chosen animal and compile information for their non-fiction book. The final piece of this project is the creation of life-size dioramas that illustrate the habitats and transform the classroom.

Grade 2

Grade 2 explores the five boroughs of New York City. Beginning at home, we explore the early history of Staten Island, Historic Richmond Town and where classmates live in relation to our school. We move on to the Staten Island Ferry, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens and Manhattan, as well as to our nearby neighbors in Bayonne and Jersey City, NJ. As we begin to understand that the five boroughs are closely linked, we identify places we have been, would love to visit or have seen in pictures. We realize that we live in an environment rich in history, culture and opportunity. Working with our Technology and Arts Departments, students create an exciting and innovative integrated production. Come join the tour of the greatest city in the world!

Grade 3

Grade 3 students begin their year with a study of the continents. This study continues with the children exploring 19th century immigration, reasons for the European exodus and life on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Trips to the Staten Island Museum and the Lower East Side Tenement Museum act as primary sources to bring this rich study to life. The culmination is a theatrical performance with musical accompaniment written and composed by the children with assistance from specialized content area teachers (visual art, music, chorus, physical education and library). Grade 3 then embarks on a study of European westward expansion and its impact on the indigenous people who populated the west. The year ends with a lively Pioneer Party complete with a general store, old fashion hoedown and an incredible art exhibit.

Grade 4

In studying the three great Meso-American civilizations: the Maya, Aztec and Inca, Grade 4 students come to understand four main concepts. First, students learn the complex nature of a culture. They learn that a culture is a rich combination of history, literature, art, religion, architecture, education and social structure. Second, students learn how belief systems affect a society's actions. The religion of these three cultures permeated every aspect of the lives of the people, from the practice of human sacrifices to the game of pok-ol-pok. Third, students understand how thriving societies maximize their resources. Economic success is based on this ability. All of these civilizations adapted to the conditions of the environment making good use of their resources and were thus flourishing civilizations that lasted many centuries. Finally, students develop an awareness of place. There are reasons why events occur in certain places, and the rise of these great civilizations is an excellent example. It is our hope that these concepts transcend the topics being studied - universal truths that students will remember and apply to other studies throughout their lives. The culminating project for this Grade 4 study is an integrated production written and directed by the students.