Kindergarten is such a special year in a child’s life. Our Kindergarten classrooms are spaces where we provide a loving, nurturing, welcoming, and academic environment that will allow children to develop love for learning that hopefully lasts a lifetime! Kindergarten students are challenged to learn to be responsible and independent. Students learn to come into the classroom on their own and put their things away without help. Students learn to work together with a group to complete a project. Students are learning how to be at school and part of a class, but still need to be active. We set our schedule so that it is developmentally appropriate to allow our students to both build their learning stamina and allow them time to move through brain breaks, centers, hands on learning, and other movement activities. Alternating these activities helps students to be ready for the next learning task.
Academically, students are challenged with learning to read. They must learn letters and letter sounds, how they work together to form words, and how words form sentences. In reading and writing, they learn that the copy and illustrations coincide to form the story. During our Literacy time we have a Phonemic Awareness lesson, followed by phonics, and then a read aloud. Afterwards students go into literacy centers where they are working independently and within their group and each group will meet with the teacher for reading groups each day. In Math, kindergarten students learn numbers to 20 (counting and writing). They count to 100 by 1s, 10s, and 5s. They also learn about shapes and are able to categorize objects by different attributes. Students begin to learn about place value, time, and money. They also learn to add and subtract objects up to ten. During Math they have a mini lesson on the skill we are learning and then break out into math centers where students work on the skill we are currently learning and also skills we have already taught. In Science, students learn about topics through hands-on experiences and an interactive curriculum. Students record observations and write about topics in their journal. In Social Studies students learn about their world through thematic units, trade books, and hands on activities. Students use writing and drawings to write about topics in their journals. Our Bible curriculum teaches our students about different people in the Bible and pulls out different character traits which students can learn from. We focus on a different Bible verse and song each week. Students learn about God’s love, how he created everything, and that we are created in His image. Students also have the opportunity to serve others through different service projects. Bible topics are woven in throughout our stories and theme studies.
Kindergarten students attend Physical Education and recess everyday. Class time includes brain breaks and movement during academics every day.
Socially, kindergarteners are learning to work, play, and get along with others. It is no longer all about what and how they want to do things. They now learn how to cooperate with others. We do a lot of this through group work, group projects, and play.
Along with PE, our students attend a Special Areas class each day. These include: Art, Music, Spanish, Guidance, and Library.
Outside of standard curriculum kindergarteners get to learn through field trips and projects. In the fall, students go to the pumpkin patch and learn about bees and why they are important to help plants grow and see some farm animals. Kindergarten students also see plays at different venues around our city and the puppet truck comes to NCS for them to enjoy a puppet show!
First grade is an exciting year, where students continue to build on the foundation of knowledge learned in kindergarten. They come into first grade with a set of skills already under their belt, and grow in independence and mastery of those skills. Their growth in reading and mathematics from the beginning of the year to the end is beautiful to watch. We do lots of fun activities and take several field trips. Socially and emotionally they are growing in independence. We have the unique privilege to guide this growth with grace and truth from a Biblical perspective.
Academically, First grade moves quickly as students abilities and skills are also growing rapidly. Mathematics begins with practicing single digit fact fluency. We begin a short weekly timed test over single digit addition and subtraction. It is on this foundation that place value and double digit addition and subtraction are introduced. We also teach measurement, time and money in mathematics. Our goal is to develop a lifelong love of reading. To foster this, every day we focus on each of the five components of reading. We work to build students’ phonemic awareness, fluency, phonics, vocabulary, and comprehension through guided reading. While students receive whole group reading instruction, the majority of their ELA block is spent in guided reading groups moving through literacy centers. Not only is this a best practice, it allows for little bodies to get the movement they need. In Social Studies we learn about our state history, and in science we learn about patterns in nature. The Bible is integrated into all subjects. Grading is skills based.
We have lots of fun in the classroom as students learn to do things on their own. They take the STAR reading test on their own as well as AR tests over books they choose to read. We have many hands-on opportunities in the classroom whether it is writing words in sand or playing math games around the room, we keep them active. Technology is one to one ipads used to read books assigned digitally by the teacher, practice math facts or play a game with the class for a review of skills. Homework routines are placed in their take home binders where they complete questions about nightly reading, and review lessons taught in the classroom.
There are lots of opportunities for parents to be involved and students to engage throughout the year. We go on fun field trips to the pumpkin patch and to Cheekwood Botanical Gardens. Projects in first grade include a personal timeline of each students' life and scripture recitation at the Praise and Thanksgiving feast. We celebrate Christmas around the world in December by learning how the holiday is celebrated in other countries. Dr. Seuss’ birthday is celebrated by having community members come read to the class. We also involve parents who would like to come read to the class throughout the year.
Second grade is a year of learning and gaining independence. During this important school year, students learn to take responsibility for their own learning and are beginning to become accountable for their learning. The teacher’s job is to teach the material, but the student must play an active role in learning by listening, asking questions, and working to stay focused and engaged. Students build stamina for independent work time and are expected to work independently for greater lengths of time by the end of second grade.
If you come to visit our classroom, you may notice us singing, dancing, playing a game, or learning through another hands on method such as literacy or math centers. We begin our day with “morning tubs,” STEM bins, or other activities that encourage us to work together with a partner and work on our communication skills. The majority of reading and math is spent in small groups rotating through guided groups led by the teacher, independent work time, and hands on centers to review previously taught skills. This allows students to be met at their level to increase student learning.
Second graders are learning to “read to learn” instead of just learning to read. They are able to build on the reading skills that they learned in kindergarten and first grade and apply them to participate in shared research to gather information. Students learn to use and cite text evidence to increase comprehension. Students work with their teacher to set reading goals for each nine weeks. Students are encouraged to read daily at school and at home. Children work with their teacher in a guided reading group to receive on level reading instruction each day.
In Math, students are building on their fact fluency knowledge that began in first grade. By the end of second grade, students should be fluent in addition and subtraction facts within 20. They also learn to add and subtract with regrouping and use this knowledge to solve word problems. Students also learn more about place value, telling time, counting money, measurement, graphing, and more!
Science is an exciting time in second grade! Students get to spend time in our middle school science lab to investigate friction, landforms, and animal adaptations. This is also the year that we get to watch caterpillars change into butterflies before our eyes! We take a trip to the zoo at the end of our animal unit in the spring to discover more about animal habitats.
In Social Studies, students begin to learn about government and take a trip to the Tennessee State Museum. In January, students research a famous person and write a biography to share. At the end of the unit, students present the Second Grade Wax Museum to the elementary school. They dress up as their famous person and share facts with students who come to visit. This is a highlight of our year! Students also learn about maps, economics, regions of the US, and learn about different cultures around the world.
The Bible and our relationship with Jesus is woven all throughout our curriculum. We begin the year by learning about the Fruit of the Spirit and how we can display those in our own lives. We talk about how we want to model our lives after Jesus and grow to look more like Him each day through our words, actions, and thoughts.
Third grade is an important transitional year. Students need constant encouragement and continued support, but they also need to be pushed toward independence.
Socially, friends begin to have more influence, so learning to balance their family’s perspectives with their friends’ perspectives can be challenging. This can be hard on parents as they realize their child is becoming more autonomous and does not need them in the same way they have in the past.
Academically, this is the first year that letter grades are recorded and reported in all subjects. There is an obvious increase in academic expectations in all subject areas as third grade students are reading more to learn in addition to continuing to learn how to be better readers.
Reading goals are set with input from the student as well as the teacher, but the responsibility of obtaining the goal is primarily on the student. Learning how to make small daily reading goals with the term goal and end of year goal in mind is great training for the future when time management will become imperative.
Students in third grade are developing problem-solving skills. We begin with three digit addition, subtraction, and data analysis. We then move to multiplication, division, fractions, measurement, and geometry. All of these skills are taught systematically, but are introduced and practiced on spiral math work before the formal units of study happen. We have found students are much more comfortable with the new concepts since they have had experience with those concepts.
In Science and Social Studies, students are given many opportunities for interactive learning. Both subjects introduce students to note-taking for the purpose of using those notes to study for tests. Students experience hands-on learning, working in collaboration with their peers and project work. We study world geography and cultures as well as the indiginous people of our continent in Social Studies.
In Bible, we have memory work. Working on developing our memory is one benefit, but the verses we learn will help your child throughout their lifetime when encouragement is needed from the One who gives us everything. Our Bible lessons begin with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. We learn about Joseph and Daniel, too. We use our Bibles to read about these great men of God and in doing so, we not only learn their stories, but we learn about the characteristics they possessed such as obedience, patience, forgiveness, perseverance, honesty, and trustworthiness. Learning how to find scripture references is a challenge, but a skill that will help them as they learn to study God’s will for their lives.
Learning how to express themselves through conversation and writing are also skills important to a third grader. They begin to find their voice and state their opinions logically in formal and informal ways. Communication skills are embedded in the curriculum. One obvious way conversations and learning collaboratively happens is through the use of Kagan Strategies. Students pair up or work in small groups to accomplish tasks. They learn to listen with purpose, speak clearly, and they learn to value the opinions of others. Through guided writing assignments, students learn how to organize their thoughts, gather information and write using age appropriate grammar rules.
Assessment of third graders can be in many forms. Weekly assessments such as daily language quizzes, morning math quizzes, memory verse tests and Spelling tests help students develop good learning and study habits. Reading comprehension tests, Math chapter tests, Science and Social Studies unit tests require more study time and help students discover strategies for studying that work best for each individual. Informal assessment happens daily to help guide instruction. Progress monitoring assessments happen once a quarter and show student growth in Reading, English, Science and Math. The Star assessment is also given once a quarter and is used to show progress in reading and to guide individual instruction. Preparing for the end of year ERB test is a relatively new part of our instruction. We use information and examples from the progress monitoring tests to help us develop good testing skills in our students. Project based assessment is part of our curriculum, as well. Students create slideshows using their creation apps on their iPads. They create a display, write an essay and present a planet in the solar system for Science. They also make notecards and present facts about states in Social Studies.
Physically, third grade students have developed large and fine motor skills. They are able to ride a bike, and hold a pencil correctly. They can tie their shoes and button shirts and pants. They can write in cursive. Students of this age start to develop special interests and skills in activities such as gymnastics, dance, baseball, basketball and hockey. They can follow directions and understand clearly stated expectations. They are coachable and can work as part of a team.
Spiritually, third grade students know God as the creator and as their Father in heaven. They have an understanding of heaven and hell. They also know right from wrong. They want to make good choices and they start to understand that they have a conscience.
Opportunities to learn not only happen on our campus and in our classrooms from our teachers. We take field trips to Kentucky Down Under, The State Capitol, The Nashville Zoo, The Adventure Science Museum, and The Children’s Theater during second and third grade at NCS. We have special guests come into our classrooms to share their expertise and experiences with us. In the past we have had a veteran, an author, and several people from other countries.
Fourth-grade students are challenged in multiple areas, including academic, spiritual, physical, and social/emotional.
Academically, students are taught to hold themselves accountable through assignments, organization, and independent thinking. Math is a year of new skills and using those skills to problem solve. Our year begins with multi-digit multiplication before moving to long division, several months of fractions, and finally some geometry. In ELA our students are challenged through novel studies and comprehension, daily vocabulary building, and creative writing. Through social studies and science, our students are taught to take notes, use proper study skills, and be challenged to think outside the box through US history and data interpretation.
Our fourth-grade students are challenged spiritually through a Bible curriculum that helps them see where they fall in God’s Master Plan and how to use God’s Word to navigate through life. They also participate in several service projects throughout the school year.
Physically, fourth graders are constantly changing. Though they are some of our oldest elementary students, they still require plenty of time to move and play. This is provided through multiple daily brain breaks and daily PE classes. Teachers also use whole brain teaching, which allows for student movement and engagement in lessons.
Some of the most challenging moments of the year come through social growth. As students grow and change physically, they also do emotionally. Classroom teachers, special area teachers, and the elementary guidance counselor work together as a team to help students navigate and respond to difficult conversations and relationships with peers.
Outside of the traditional lecture and paper methods, our fourth-grade students are taught and assessed through hands-on science labs, student-created digital presentations, life application field trips, student-choice activities, music, art, acting, and more!
Fourth-grade students are offered many special opportunities throughout this very busy year of elementary school. Each fall, students take an out-of-town day trip to experience other parts of their state. In the spring, they attend a two-day trip that allows them opportunities to hike, participate in team-building activities, attend science and social studies classes, learn about local animals, zipline, and more.
Fifth grade students at Nashville Christian School are continuing growth in all areas that they experienced in fourth grade. Fifth grade is a growing year for independence in all areas as well. Our goal in fifth grade is to best prepare our students for the transition to middle school.
In math the fifth grade year begins with reviewing concepts that have been learned throughout their elementary career and expanding on that knowledge, we then transition to new concepts and skills.
In ELA our students are challenged through various novel studies and comprehension activities, daily vocabulary building, and creative writing. In fifth grade we begin to focus on how text based evidence is used to support the answers that we give. We also focus on the four different genres of writing throughout the year.
Through Social Studies and Science our students are taught to take notes and are challenged to think outside the box.
Our fifth grade students are challenged spiritually through a Bible curriculum that walks them through the Old Testament. The Bible and our relationship with Jesus is also woven all throughout our curriculum. Each week there is a memory verse for students to memorize and be assessed on. Memorizing scripture can be a challenge, but a skill that will help them as they learn to study God’s will for their lives. Our fifth graders also participate in several service projects throughout the school year.
Outside of the traditional lecture and paper methods, our fifth grade students are taught and assessed through hands-on Science activities, curriculum songs, and escape room challenges.
Physically, fifth graders are constantly changing. They are our oldest elementary students, and require plenty of time to move and play. This is provided through daily PE classes, and recess time. Teachers also use whole brain teaching which allows for student movement and engagement in lessons.
Some of the most challenging moments of the year come through social growth. As students grow and change physically in fifth grade, they also do emotionally. Classroom teachers, special area teachers, and our elementary guidance counselor work together as a team to help students navigate and respond to difficult conversations and relationships with peers. Each month our students meet as a class for a focused guidance lesson. There are also times throughout the year that we talk as a fifth grade family about challenges that they may be facing as they navigate their emotions.
Fifth graders are the leaders of the lower school, and that is not taken lightly as they walk the halls or eat at lunch. Our fifth graders know that little eyes are watching them and that they are examples to our younger eagles.
Fifth grade students are offered many special opportunities throughout this very busy year of lower school. Each fall students take an out-of-town day trip to work on team building and problem solving. In the spring they attend an overnight trip that allows them opportunities to hike, participate in team building activities, attend Science and Social Studies Classes, learn about local animals, zipline, and more.
LOWER SCHOOL Enrichment
There are several wonderful opportunities for lower school students at Nashville Christian School. Whether your student is interested in reading, running, or learning a new skill, there is something for everyone!
Every Monday your child will explore a new book through an interactive read aloud. After the story, he or she will choose from different hands-on and leveled activities to improve on reading, writing, and comprehension strategies. When extra time allows, students may work on independent reading or homework.
Craft Club meets once a month and allows students to be creative with many mediums. Many times the projects are themed, while other times, the students create using materials provided for them. This is a small group atmosphere with a variety of lower school ages involved.
Creative Writing Club
Creative Writing Club provides weekly opportunities for students of all lower school grade levels and writing abilities to write, share ideas, and collaborate with other students. A positive, productive, and creative forum is established in which students feel comfortable taking risks, thus building confidence, as they experiment with writing.
Engineering for Kids
We put the excitement in S.T.E.M. education by offering age appropriate, inquiry based, hands-on-learning for children through fun activities from designing and constructing rockets, hot air balloons, and roller coasters to LEGO Robotics and video game designing.
Flight Club is an after school club that brings together 3rd through 5th grade students that achieve high scores on their standardized tests, and are “high flyers” in their classrooms. Flight Club students build, perform, and create, all while constantly thinking “outside the box!"
This club is offered every Tuesday and Thursday as a unique opportunity for your child to work with qualified teachers on homework and difficult classwork concepts. Homework Club is a wonderful choice for families with busy schedules and after-school activities!
The Force will be with you as you learn the way of the Padawan! Play Ultimate Star Wars games, build Star Wars vehicles, and go from Jedi Padawan to Knight in one session! You will play characters, learn to draw the Clone Wars cartoon characters, create your own Jedi uniform, and take home your very own Light Saber!
Kindergarten through 5th grade girls have the opportunity to learn cheers from the Varsity Cheerleaders and participate on the sidelines at a football game. The Jr. Cheerleaders practice once a week for 6 weeks to prepare the dance and cheers for an Elementary Pep Rally and Halftime show. This is a great opportunity to build community and develop school spirit. This enrichment is a fundraiser for the NCS Varsity Cheerleaders.
Running Club (Kids Rock Marathon)
In the spring, students in kindergarten through 7th grade can register for the Kid's Rock Marathon and run as part of a team from Nashville Christian School. The kids run 25 miles in March and April during PE and at the Running Club after school. On the day of the marathon, the kids run their last mile and receive a medal as they cross the finish line. The Running Club for students participating in the Kids Rock Marathon meets once/week in March and April.
Sewing Club meets weekly after school for an entire semester. Students learn hand stitching techniques through a variety of sewing projects. Four different stitches are taught as well as many sewing techniques and the use of sewing tools.
S.T.E.A.M. (Science & Technology, interpreted through Engineering & the Arts, with the integration of Mathematical elements)
Students learn to organize with math while they research as scientists and historians by using technology. S-T-E-M with the A includes • Sharing knowledge with communication and language arts, “voice” – impact, power, legacy • A working knowledge of manual and physical arts, including how-to and fitness • Better understanding of past and present cultures and aesthetics through the fine arts • Rhythmic and emotional use of math, physics, physiology, and often language, with the musical arts.
In teh Taekwondo Club, students will learn respect, self-control, self-confidence, safety awareness, the importance of honesty, and physical self-defense techniques. Students will receive instructions on how to earn their White Belt on the first day of class!