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A Time of Adventure
Lower School is a time of discovering the world, a time of adventure. The secure and affirming environment of the Lower School frees children to explore their curiosities and budding spiritual interests. Great teachers are great artists and ours have sculpted a Lower School experience that kindles a sense of wonder and delight, that fosters a taste for what is good and noble. In this early stage of their adventure, students form the habits of success, make their initial forays into the world of knowledge, develop the critical ability to learn how to learn, and give birth to a moral imagination that enables them to envision a future of infinite possibilities.
The Core Knowledge Sequence
The Core Knowledge Sequence is a detailed outline of specific content to be taught in language arts, history, geography, mathematics, science, and the fine arts. As a basis of a school’s curriculum, it provides a solid, coherent foundation of learning that is intentionally designed to encourage steady academic progress as the children build their knowledge and skills from one year to the next. Since the Sequence offers such a cohesive plan, it can prevent the many repetitions and gaps in instruction that can result from vague curricular guidelines. You will notice as you read through the curriculum, that the Sequence is surprisingly advanced. However, it has been our experience that, for students who are brought up on these rich topics, education becomes an exciting and exhilarating adventure!
From the Core Knowledge Website
“Educational excellence and equity require a coherent, cumulative, knowledge-based curriculum. This basic principle inspired the Core Knowledge Foundation to undertake the long process of research and consensus-building that led to the development of the Core Knowledge Sequence, the blueprint for knowledge-based schooling.”
The Core Knowledge Sequence represents our best effort to identify and describe the specific core of shared knowledge that all children should learn in U.S. schools. The Sequence is intended to help children establish strong foundations of knowledge grade by grade from preschool through grade eight.” — coreknowledge.org
Core Knowledge Distinguishing Features
A typical state or district curriculum standard might say, “Students will demonstrate knowledge of people, events, ideas, and movements that contributed to the development of the United States.” But which people and events? Which ideas and movements? Another standard says, “Determine the main idea of a text and explain how it is supported by key details; summarize the text.” But what text in particular?
The Core Knowledge Sequence is distinguished by its specificity. By clearly specifying important knowledge in language arts, history, geography, math, science, and the fine arts, the Sequence presents a practical answer to the question, “What do our children need to know?”
The Sequence is not a list of facts, events, and dates to be memorized. It is a guide to content from grade to grade, designed to encourage steady academic growth and progress as children build knowledge and develop skills year after year.
The Core Knowledge Sequence provides a clear outline of content to be learned from preschool through grade eight. Knowledge, language, and skills build cumulatively from grade to grade. This cumulative building of knowledge helps ensure that children enter each new grade ready to learn.
Teachers in Core Knowledge schools can confidently predict the knowledge and skills children have been taught in prior grades, build on that learning, and prepare them for what comes next. That’s because the Core Knowledge Sequence is built on the principle, firmly established by cognitive scientists, that we learn new knowledge by building on what we already know.
Individual students will differ in their degree of mastery, and mobility will require focused help for students who lack the expected prior knowledge. But the cumulative quality of the Core Knowledge Sequence greatly increases the likelihood that as children proceed from one grade to the next, they will emerge well prepared with a shared body of important knowledge and skills.
In the United States, especially in language arts instruction, curriculum tends to be fragmentary and disconnected. Such incoherence can hinder learning and vocabulary acquisition. It also leads to the repetitions and gaps that too many children experience in their early education.
In contrast, the Core Knowledge Sequence provides a coherent approach to building knowledge within a grade level and across grade levels. In schools following the Sequence, there are no repeated units in multiple grades on, say, the rain forest or pioneer days, with little or no attention to the Bill of Rights, world geography, or exposure to other cultures.
The Sequence is organized to support coherent instruction that allows students to build and deepen their knowledge grade by grade, and to make cross-curricular connections across subjects.