Lower School - Kindergarten-1st Grade
During these early years, VCS students master the basic skills of reading, writing and mathematics; they also develop crucial social skills and self-confidence as learners.
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 art, library, music and woodshop along with physical education and daily active play in our gym, play yard and rooftop playground.
Teachers meet with parents on two scheduled conference days each year; student progress reports are sent home in winter and spring.
Lower School - 2nd-5th Grade
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 program emphasizes the refinement of academic skills in a stimulating environment where the acquisition of new skills can be put to effective use. Specialized subjects – science, technology, drama, Spanish, STEAM – and regular homework are added to an already rigorous curriculum. We deeply immerse students in every aspect of their studies; children may act as archaeologists in ancient Egypt, brush painters in China, biologists in Hudson River Park or American pioneers heading west.
Children begin taking standardized tests as a practical measurement of recognized standards. Student progress reports are sent to families in winter and spring; teachers meet with parents on two scheduled conference days each year.
As the curriculum expands, teachers help students navigate the increasing complexities. Students learn time-management skills and begin using an organizational system that continues through Upper School. Digital technologies provide further opportunities for customized, hands-on learning.
Upper School - 6th-8th Grade
The Upper School program is a carefully balanced, challenging blend of required studies and elective courses that guides students from concrete to abstract thinking. We continue employing both traditional and innovative teaching methods to ensure pre-adolescents remain engaged, active learners. Teachers and advisors provide steady guidance and support as children mature into young teens.
Students encounter a rigorous curriculum including algebra, chemistry, three world language options – Spanish, Latin, Mandarin – and a rich array of elective coursework on topics like Model Congress, Japanese culture, Shakespeare, biodiversity, novel writing and vocal ensemble. Our VCS Beyond initiative offers students unique opportunities to stretch their minds and explore their world through programs to travel abroad, be an apprentice alongside working professionals and partake in scientific research camps. Students’ physical development remains important; we offer a structured physical education program, daily recess and opportunities to participate in interscholastic athletics. Students employ effective scheduling strategies, developing self-disciplined study habits.
Each student’s advisor communicates regularly with parents about their child’s academic and social development. Parents confer with subject-area teachers twice each year and progress reports are sent home in winter and spring. Standardized testing continues through Upper School. 8th Graders take our High School Prep class to mentor them through the high school placement process. Small classes, individual guidance and demanding instruction prepare our Upper School students to move into high school with ease and confidence.