Teaching to the Whole Child

Discovering the Power of Learning

In the Primary grades, teachers from all subject areas work collaboratively to create an enriched academic program for our elementary students and students ground their understanding in concrete representations, models, and kinesthetic learning activities. From storyboarding to engender written and multimedia narratives, to math racks and other manipulatives to construct and communicate strategies for authentic problem-solving, first and second graders build meaning by working with both their hands and their minds. New challenges present themselves in third and fourth grades, when students tackle more complex problems that require higher order thinking and greater organization. 

Guiding a Thoughtful Exploration of the World

From hatching chicks and planting vegetables to designing and programming Lego models, Primary students engage in extended learning projects that require sustained inquiry. Science and social studies units are built around big ideas and important concepts, allowing students to investigate them in depth rather than merely covering a topic or memorizing a set of facts. Sharing ideas and giving each other critical feedback teaches students to interact and think like mathematicians, scientists, and artists do in real-world communities of practice.

Developing a High-Performing Learner

Primary classrooms are thoughtfully designed to allow individuals, partners, or small informal groups to work together on a variety of activities in different subjects simultaneously. In some cases, students are assigned certain activities, but much of the time students choose activities themselves. They learn to organize their time and to complete academic assignments or projects responsibly. The collaborative, critical thinking, and creative problem solving skills they learn in this process prepare them to participate in real-world intellectual and social environments. 

Building the Foundation of Excellence

To achieve the rigorous curriculum presented at Ancona’s elementary level, teachers direct students toward challenging work that supports a high degree of competence and reflects an expectation to strive for excellence. As a result, students become proficient in basic skills and concepts as a foundation for their future academic success and meaningful participation in our society.