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Grades K–5 have a profound impact on how a child thinks about themselves and their learning. Our inclusive, encouraging classroom communities and caring, approachable teachers ensure students develop a positive relationship with school from the beginning of their educational careers. 

Young children need an array of sensory experiences to develop their cognitive abilities. We enrich the Homeroom academic program with small-group, specialist taught classes in Math, Art, Library, Music, Science, and Woodshop along with Physical Education and daily active play in our Sky Yard, rooftop playground, and Gymnasiums. 

Older children are capable of more abstract learning, but they continue to need a balance between conceptual, intellectual work and hands-on experiences to become agile thinkers and problem solvers. Our 2nd-5th Grade program emphasizes the refinement of academic skills in a stimulating environment where the acquisition of new skills can be put to effective use. Students receive specialized instruction in every subject, and the curriculum expands to include new subjects like technology and Spanish. Regular homework supports children's growing time management and organization skills, and teachers help students navigate the increasing complexities.

Curricular Overview, K-1st Grade

The VCS Social Studies program provides the means through which we help children understand their world and the world of other peoples across time and space. Students master interdisciplinary skills through their social studies coursework. They expand their intellectual framework and feed their curiosity, becoming self-motivated, critical thinkers for a lifetime.

Early Social Studies coursework focuses on the themes of “What is a community?” and “What does it mean to be part of a community?” as children explore their own identity and environments of home, school, neighborhood and city. Students frame these big ideas through the lens of family traditions, community jobs and/or transportation. Students could undertake a study of community workers in and around VCS, learning about the various jobs needed to create a thriving neighborhood. Through interviews, field trips to local businesses and art assignments, children engage in comparative analysis of work and its fulfillments. Similarly, a transportation curriculum would engage students with the urban landscape of New York City. Children investigate myriad transportation modes and communities’ dependence upon them. 

There’s no cookie-cutter teacher model here. And while we all have to meet certain academic standards, we are free to approach concepts in a way that feels authentic to us as teachers and create activities that match our students, which may not necessarily match the students next door or down the hall.

- 1st Grade Teacher

Curricular Overview, 2nd-5th Grade