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Building academic skills and a love of learning

The primary grade program at SRA is a joyful place for children to learn and grow. Our curriculum is designed to build on a child's natural sense of curiosity and connection to the world around them. Inquiry-driven, project-based studies provide a rich and meaningful context for student learning. Academic instruction is thoughtfully designed to meet the needs of each learner and challenge students to achieve their personal best, creating a strong foundation for future learning.

Our 8:1 student-to-teacher ratio allows each teacher to structure their learning environment and materials to each student’s learning level and strength. This ensures that as students progress through the primary grades, they build strong foundations in reading, writing, and math, explore the natural and physical world around them, and enhance their learning through hands-on opportunities. The program fosters intellectual curiosity, inspiring students to make connections, ask questions, think analytically, and act with integrity, all within a supportive and nurturing environment.

The primary grades classrooms are vibrant and loving places of learning. Students care about what they learn; they have a voice in their classrooms, posing questions of interest to them and bringing their individual strengths to the process. Through inquiry and exploration, the program engages students in their learning while continuing to build their fundamental skills in all subject areas. We believe that students learn best when they take ownership of their learning. This translates into a joy for learning, which explains why SRA students love coming to school. 

At SRA, every student is known, valued, and celebrated by their teachers, classmates, and community. Social-emotional learning plays a vital role in our primary grades program and is integrated throughout the curriculum. Students learn the strategies and skills to work collaboratively, resolve conflicts, act with compassion, and lead with courage. 

Primary Grade Curriculum:

Language Arts/Reading

The Language Arts curriculum is designed to cultivate readers, writers, thoughtful speakers, and active listeners. Structured Literacy is an approach to teaching reading that is distinguished by its systematic, cumulative, and explicit methodology. This teaching method was developed and trademarked by the International Dyslexia Association® (IDA), and includes two critical hallmarks:

  • It must teach all the components that evidence has found to be foremost in ensuring reading success.
  • It must employ principles that align to the necessity of each component.

Structured Literacy instruction is more than just phonics. While phonics is a huge component of reading—and it is one that is taught through Structured Literacy—it is just one of many elements that teachers must consider when working with students. Also, it isn’t just about what skills educators should be teaching, but specifically how to teach those skills. Reading comprehension strategies are also explicitly taught through a “Grand Conversations” approach. Small groups of students read a variety of high interest texts led by a teacher to develop critical thinking and analysis skills.


Using the Singapore Math program, students become problem-solvers by understanding the “how” and the “why.” Students learn to address problem solving flexibly and creatively, drawing on a foundation of necessary math skills. They are encouraged to experiment with a range of problem-solving strategies, to become comfortable taking risks, and to be open to different approaches.

Science and Social Studies

Students participate in hands-on, experiential learning science courses cover a wide range of topics and include physics, chemistry, biology, and environmental science activities. experiment, build, plan, and play around a particular science theme

Primary Grade Highlights:

  • Multi-age classrooms that are skill-based, not grade-level-based
  • Students rotate through subject-specific classes
  • Class groups of no more than 12 students
  • Students can work at their own pace, not at a pace set by the teacher or peers. Most of our students complete at least a year and a half of math each year and grow an average of 20 months in reading fluency and comprehension.
  • If there is a hands-on way to teach something, that is what we do! You will see experiments, projects, and exploration going on in all academic areas.
  • Monthly character education themes and service projects