Kindergarten - 5th Grade

Lower School

Philosophy of Lower School Education

Pillars Preparatory Academy’s mission is to provide a well-rounded, character-building education through challenging interdisciplinary curricula guiding interactive learning that is delivered in a rigorous academic environment from the moment our students join us to embark upon their educational venture. Special attention is given to the development of and implementation of effective, research supported Language Arts and Math programs to provide our students with the content knowledge and skill sets necessary for success throughout their educational careers and beyond.

Literacy is entwined into every facet of life and if students are to be successful it is essential that all critical components be taught, modeled, practiced, and assessed for learning. At the elementary level, the Literacy Program is built around nine components of effective instruction. Each component is strategically aligned in a carefully planned sequence allowing for scaffolding and student success as new skills are taught and rigor intensified.

The nine components of literacy instruction include:

  • Phonemic awareness, letter knowledge, and concepts of print
  • The alphabetic code: Phonics and decoding
  • Fluent, automatic reading of text
  • Vocabulary
  • Text comprehension
  • Written expression
  • Spelling and handwriting
  • Screening and continuous assessment for learning to inform instruction
  • Motivating students to read and developing their literacy horizons

Math instruction also builds heavily upon previously learned skills and as such it is critical that instruction be clear and systematic with key prerequisite skills taught in advance.  Math instruction in grades Kindergarten through four includes development of the following abilities:

  • Concepts and reasoning including basic number concepts and the meaning of operations
  • Automatic recall of number facts
  • Computational algorithms
  • Functional Math
  • Verbal problem-solving

In grade five and beyond, general education instruction in Math focuses a great deal on advanced concepts of reasoning, learning of complex computational algorithms, and more difficult kinds of verbal problem-solving.

Kindergarten

Kindergarten Curriculum follows the Common Core State Standard (CCSS). Students study developmentally appropriate concepts.

Kindergarten ELA

ELA curriculum is aligned to the Common Core Standards. Every day, students work hard to develop their phonics, reading, grammar, and writing through a readers and writers model using McGraw Hill Wonders program.

  • Identify and print capital and lowercase letters
  • Recognize consonant letter sounds…beginning, middle, and ending
  • Identify and sound out short vowel words
  • Blend sounds to make words
  • Read decodable books
  • Read 42 sight words and create rhyming words
  • Identify opposites
  • Explain cause and effect
  • Draw conclusions
  • Distinguish between real and make believe
  • Identify story details (plot, setting, characters, main idea)
  • Classify nouns, verbs, and adjectives
  • Recognize statements, questions, and exclamation sentences
  • Write sentences beginning with a capital letter
  • End sentences with a punctuation mark
  • Show proper spacing between words

Kindergarten Math

Kindergarten Math curriculum is aligned to the Common Core Standards. Students build number sense and fluency each day using McGraw-Hill My Math. The goal is not only to teach the facts and figures, but also higher- level thinking and problem solving.

  • Recognize numbers to 100
  • Copy, create, and extend patterns
  • Create, read, and interpret a graph
  • Identify sets
  • Solve story problems using manipulatives
  • Sort objects by color, shape, size, taller, shorter, heavier, and lighter
  • Identify and write shapes (circle, square, triangle, rectangle, hexagon, cone, cylinder ,and sphere)
  • Identify coins (pennies, nickels, dimes)
  • Count to 100 by 1’s, 5’s, and 10’s

1st Grade Curriculum

First Grade is designed to teach the whole child. We work collaboratively to grow socially, academically, and emotionally. The experiences, understandings, and interests that each child brings to the classroom are used to strengthen understandings and further academic investigations.

First Grade ELA

ELA curriculum is aligned to the Common Core Standards. Everyday, at least two periods of the students’ day are dedicated to further developing oral vocabulary, phonics, comprehension, fluency, grammar, and writing skills.

  • Continue to build students’ repertoire of high-frequency words (sight words).
  • Study literary elements: rhyme, repetition, and alliteration
  • Identify and characterize various genres of text.
  • Apply comprehension skills while reading grade-level texts.
  • Compare and contrast multiple texts that pertain to the same topic.
  • Solidify letter-sound correspondence including blends, digraphs, diphthongs, silent letters, and long vowel combinations.
  • Make text-to-text, text-to-self, and text-to-world connects.
  • Differentiate between parts of speech (common/proper nouns, verb tenses, pronouns, adjectives)
  • Identify components of story plots (cause and effect, problem and solution, sequence)
  • Compose narrative, explanatory, informational, and opinion writing pieces.
  • Continue to develop an understanding of writing mechanics such as capitalization, punctuation, and contractions.

First Grade Math

Math curriculum is aligned to the Common Core Standards. Students work to continue to solidify number sense and fluency. Students are challenged to utilize higher-level thinking and their problem-solving skills when working with place value, time, money, geometry, and organizing, representing, and interpreting data.

  • Represent and solve problems involving subtraction and addition.
  • Understand and apply properties of operations and the relationship between addition and subtraction.
  • Add and subtract within 20.
  • Work with addition and subtraction word problems.
  • Extend the counting sequence from 100 to 120.
  • Understand place value (1’s, 10’s, and 100’s)
  • Compare and contrast numbers by analyzing the numbers in the 1’s, 10’s, 100’s place
  • Use place value understanding to add and subtract within 100.
  • Measure lengths indirectly and by using set units of measure.
  • Tell and write time in hours and half hours with analog and digital clocks.
  • Represent and interpret data with various types of graphs.
  • Reason with 3D and 2D shapes and their attributes.

2nd Grade Curriculum

2nd grade Curriculum follows the Common Core State Standard (CCSS). Students study developmentally appropriate concepts.

Second Grade Reading

For students in seconds grade, the ELA instruction focuses on developing literacy and proficiency in language arts with a goal to become lifelong readers and confident writers.  We currently use the McGraw Hill Wonders reading curriculum. With the use of this program the students are able to read with accuracy and fluency to help support their comprehension. Students are able to apply their basic knowledge and apply it to help them ask questions and clarify answers. They learn different strategies to help them analyze various types of literature seen throughout the series. Students write various compositions during the school year. They learn to use reference materials to help support their writing. The students in second grade learn to give and follow multiple-step directions.

  • The second grade curriculum focuses on the following key areas of ELA:
  • Comprehension of literature and informational text.
  • Vocabulary acquisition and use.
  • Using text features to access of clarify information.
  • Drafting, editing, and revising text.
  • Command of the conventions of standard English Language.

Second Grade Math

The students mathematics program is aligned with the CCSS. The curriculum involves the use of technology as well as real life problems.  The students will build upon knowledge and skills learned in previous grade to help them build the foundation in second grade. The materials used in second grade math is the McGraw Hill My Math series.  Students have access to manipulatives and computer software that are supplemental to the curriculum. The second grade curriculum focuses on the following key areas in Mathematics:

  • Place value
  • Addition and subtraction
  • Numbers and operations
  • Measurement and time
  • Geometry
  • Money

3rd Grade Curriculum

3rd grade Curriculum follows the Common Core State Standard (CCSS). Students study developmentally appropriate concepts.

Third Grade ELA

ELA curriculum is aligned to the Common Core State Standards.  Every week the children will study and develop their abilities in several key areas through the readers and writers workshop model using the McGraw Hill Wonders program.

  • Vocabulary
  • Phonics
  • Comprehension
  • Grammar
  • Writing
  • Reading Fluency and Stamina

Third Grade Math

Math curriculum is aligned to the Common Core State Standards. We use the program McGraw-Hill My Math.  To begin the year students review second grade concepts for addition, subtraction, and place value.  As the year progresses the new concepts students learn about are:

  • Multiplication
  • Division
  • Time
  • Area
  • Perimeter
  • Shapes (categories, partitioning)
  • Fractions on a number line
  • Equivalent fractions

4th Grade Curriculum

4th grade Curriculum follows the Common Core State Standard (CCSS). Students study developmentally appropriate concepts.

Fourth Grade ELA

The 4th Grade ELA curriculum is aligned to the Common Core State Standards.  Every week the children will study an essential question and enduring understanding for the unit. Students work to develop their abilities in several key areas. 4th grade uses the McGraw Hill Wonders program as well as elements of the readers and writers workshop model to challenge students abilities.

  • Vocabulary: Focuses on essential grade level appropriate vocabulary
  • Comprehension of Whole Group and Small Group Texts
  • Grammar
  • Writing Units of Study Include:  Opinion, Personal Narrative, Informational
  • Reading Fluency and Stamina: Whole Group and Small Group
  • Fourth Grade Math

Fourth Grade Math

Math curriculum is aligned to the Common Core State Standards. We use the program McGraw-Hill My Math. To begin the year, students review third grade concepts for place value and the four primary operations with multi-digit numbers.  As the year progresses, students will learn the following concepts:

  • Representing Equivalent Fractions
  • Operate on Fractions
  • Decimal Place Value System
  • Units of Measurement
  • Area and Perimeter
  • Geometric Terms and Relationships

5th Grade

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Location: 34 Charles Street, South River, NJ 08882

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Fax: (732) 613-1562

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