On any given day, lower school students might partner with older reading buddies in a shady spot on campus, give news presentations on everything from Pony Club to how plants communicate, sing in rounds as part of a holiday celebration, or examine and compare horse and cow skulls as part of a lesson on skeletal systems.

At Good Hope Country Day School young children move from our rich and unhurried developmental program in the Early Learning Center (Pre-School) to our Lower School, comprising Grades 1-6. The Lower School features an integrated curriculum that promotes learning as an active and cooperative process. The curriculum includes Language Arts, Mathematics, Social Studies, Science, Health, Spanish, Art, Music, Physical Education, Swimming, Computer, Music and Library.

Denise Blanchette, Head of the Lower & Middle Schools

Good Hope Country Day School
RR #1 Box 6199
Kingshill, VI 00850
340.778.1974 ext. 2102
340.779-3331 fax
dblanchette@ghcds.org

First Grade

  • Language Arts

    Lower School is a time of remarkable change in a child’s academic, emotional an social life. The language arts curriculum addresses the four strands of language development: listening, speaking, reading, and writing – in a variety of ways. Phonics and Spelling Kinder to third graders learn to read and spell through Fundations, a multisensory phonics, spelling and handwriting program that makes learning to read fun while laying the groundwork for life-long literacy. Students learn how to recognize, manipulate and decode simple and complex sounds, then words, then how words fit into sentences. Students learn the spelling rules and concepts that are the basis of the English language. They learn why words are spelled the way they are, instead of memorizing lists of words. (Students will still memorize those trick words that don’t follow the rules. Reading Classrooms libraries include a wide range of fiction and non- fiction; and classes visit the school library where Mrs. Bishop reads to children and helps them select books to read independently. An essential component of a strong Language Arts program involves daily reading at home. A parent reading to a child supports a love of reading; a child reading aloud to a parent builds fluency. Community and love of reading is also supported through our Reading Buddies program, in which students of different ages come together once a week to read and write together. In addition to rich classroom libraries, kindergarten to second grade teachers make use of Fountas and Pinnel leveled readers. Fountas and Pinnell leveled readers are rooted in the understanding that when a text poses enough challenge, but not too much, the child has opportunities with effective, explicit teaching to build his or her network of effective problem solving actions. With daily teaching, the teacher helps the child climb the ladder of text difficulty with success. Writing The Units of Study Writing Program, developed by Lucy Calkins at Columbia Teachers College, provides the foundation of the writing program. The essential aspects of the program are that
    • Writing needs to be taught with explicit instruction.
    • Children deserve to write for real, to write the kinds of texts that they see in the world
    • Children need to be immersed in a listening and storytelling culture where their voices are valued and heard.
    • Children need explicit instruction in spelling and phonemic awareness. K to Grade 3 students receive daily training in phonological awareness, phonics and word study, fluency, spelling, and handwriting based on the Wilson Fundations program. There is a scope and sequence for spelling and grammar instruction from first to eighth grade.
    • Writers read! For children to write well, they need opportunities to read and to hear texts read and to read as insiders, studying what other authors have done that they too could try.
    • Children need clear goals and feedback.
    In the Units of Study program, each grade level includes four six week units of writing with some combination of the following: narrative, opinion/persuasive/ argument, and informational. Instruction builds on itself from one year to the next. Teaching follows the gradual release of responsibility model of teaching. Students can first learn from a demonstration, accompanied by explicit teaching, then from guided practice in which the amount of scaffolding they receive lessens over time.
  • Math

  • Social Studies and Science

    The Science, Health, and Social Studies themes in Grades 1-3 are integrated throughout the year with Language Arts and provide a way for children to look at and explore the world around them. First graders begin the year with a look at family, home, and school. Each child is eager to participate in his or her turn as Star Student. Holidays and customs are explored throughout the year with folktales and storytelling. Our island environment lends itself to a hands-on study of seeds, plants and animals in the sea. The children share books written by favorite authors, and books written by first graders as well.
  • Technology

    Lower school technology is a collaboration between the classroom teacher and the technology teacher that reinforces academic content covered in the classroom. Academic topics include: Seasons, The Food Pyramid, Sight Words, Parts of a Story, Life Cycles, Dinosaurs, Classifying Animals, Basic Operations, Cardinal Directions, Astronomy, and Vikings. Additionally, students identify the parts of a computer, practice keyboarding, and are introduced to various software applications: Safari, Firefox, Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Tux Paint, iPhoto, and Adobe Photoshop. Students are also exposed to basic programming concepts using self-directed tutorials on Tynker.com. Technology standards covered in class: Creativity and Innovation, Research and Information Fluency, Computational Thinking, Technology Operations and Concepts, and Digital Citizenship.
  • Art

    The focus of Lower School Art is on aesthetics, balance and creativity – the ABCs of Art! Throughout the year children develop an appreciation for diverse art forms, work to respect individual and group needs and use their creativity as a hands-on approach to problem solving. They choose from many different activities that are introduced sequentially and developmentally. Each student keeps a portfolio of his or her work. Specific pieces are chosen from the portfolio for the annual Spring Art Show.
  • Spanish

    The first and second grade programs focus on building a foundation in listening and oral communication through songs, cultural activities and games. Children are introduced to greetings, colors, days of the week, animals, opposites, weather expressions, modes of transportation and areas around their school environment. In third grade students begin to work on reading and writing skills.
  • Music

Second Grade

  • Language Arts

  • Math

  • Social Studies and Science

    The Science, Health, and Social Studies themes in Grades 1-3 are integrated throughout the year with Language Arts and provide a way for children to look at and explore the world around them. Second graders explore their world throughout the year through hands-on exploration activities as well as songs, poetry, literature, drama and art projects. The year starts with a nutrition unit which threads its way every day through the rest of the year. Students watch tadpoles become frogs in the Life Cycle fall unit. The 5 Senses unit delves into how we interact with our surroundings. Holidays are recognized to celebrate diversity and history. The children become aware of developing character in the Kids for Character program with an accompanying unit on biographies. A major part and a favorite emphasis of this subject area is orchestrated by the students themselves as they choose topics and prepare and present their NEWS reports several times during the year. In the spring Earth Day provides the basis of the study of the environment and endangered species.
  • Technology

    Lower school technology is a collaboration between the classroom teacher and the technology teacher that reinforces academic content covered in the classroom. Academic topics include: Seasons, The Food Pyramid, Sight Words, Parts of a Story, Life Cycles, Dinosaurs, Classifying Animals, Basic Operations, Cardinal Directions, Astronomy, and Vikings. Additionally, students identify the parts of a computer, practice keyboarding, and are introduced to various software applications: Safari, Firefox, Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Tux Paint, iPhoto, and Adobe Photoshop. Students are also exposed to basic programming concepts using self-directed tutorials on Tynker.com. Technology standards covered in class: Creativity and Innovation, Research and Information Fluency, Computational Thinking, Technology Operations and Concepts, and Digital Citizenship.
  • Art

    The focus of Lower School Art is on aesthetics, balance and creativity – the ABCs of Art! Throughout the year children develop an appreciation for diverse art forms, work to respect individual and group needs and use their creativity as a hands-on approach to problem solving. They choose from many different activities that are introduced sequentially and developmentally. Each student keeps a portfolio of his or her work. Specific pieces are chosen from the portfolio for the annual Spring Art Show.
  • Spanish

    The first and second grade programs focus on building a foundation in listening and oral communication through songs, cultural activities and games. Children are introduced to greetings, colors, days of the week, animals, opposites, weather expressions, modes of transportation and areas around their school environment. In third grade students begin to work on reading and writing skills
  • Music

Third Grade

  • Language Arts

  • Math

  • Social Studies and Science

    The Science, Health, and Social Studies themes in Grades 1-3 are integrated throughout the year with Language Arts and provide a way for children to look at and explore the world around them. In third grade students expand their social horizon, beginning the year with a unit on community building. This approach incorporates the students’ social and emotional growth into their academic learning, stemming from the notion that children learn best through social interaction and when they are explicitly taught social and emotional skills along with academic lessons. Children’s literature serves as a springboard to build social skills such as cooperation, assertion, responsibility, empathy, and self-control. A study of the human body systems and nutrition helps the children learn how to take care of their bodies-good fuels for good health. Children are introduced to basic geography as they learn about the world’s forests, deserts, plains, mountains, and woodlands. They study the animal kingdom and its system of classification with a special focus on marine animals. Respect for cultural diversity is emphasized in a study of First Nations folktales.
  • Technology

    Lower school technology is a collaboration between the classroom teacher and the technology teacher that reinforces academic content covered in the classroom. Academic topics include: Seasons, The Food Pyramid, Sight Words, Parts of a Story, Life Cycles, Dinosaurs, Classifying Animals, Basic Operations, Cardinal Directions, Astronomy, and Vikings. Additionally, students identify the parts of a computer, practice keyboarding, and are introduced to various software applications: Safari, Firefox, Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Tux Paint, iPhoto, and Adobe Photoshop. Students are also exposed to basic programming concepts using self-directed tutorials on Tynker.com. Technology standards covered in class: Creativity and Innovation, Research and Information Fluency, Computational
  • Art

    The focus of Lower School Art is on aesthetics, balance and creativity – the ABCs of Art! Throughout the year children develop an appreciation for diverse art forms, work to respect individual and group needs and use their creativity as a hands-on approach to problem solving. They choose from many different activities that are introduced sequentially and developmentally. Each student keeps a portfolio of his or her work. Specific pieces are chosen from the portfolio for the annual Spring Art Show.
  • Spanish

  • Music

    In first through third grades students are introduced to the basic elements of music - listening, singing, rhythm, and movement – through traditional folk songs, popular and classical music. Students learn basic note reading, music vocabulary, and the identification of instruments by sight and sound. They also begin to sing or play as an ensemble for concert performance. Second graders are introduced to the xylophone, learning note and pitch direction with steps, leaps and repeats. Third graders are introduced to the soprano recorder, learning to read, finger and play notes in the treble clef.

Fourth Grade

  • Language Arts

    Fourth graders read a wide range of children’s literature. Some units are approached using a whole class structure; while other units include small literature circles or independent reading. The Units of Study Writing Program, developed by Lucy Calkins at Columbia Teachers College, provides the foundation of the writing program from Pre School to Eighth grade. The essential aspects of the program are that • Writing needs to be taught with explicit instruction. • Children deserve to write for real, to write the kinds of texts that they see in the world • Children need to be immersed in a listening and storytelling culture where their voices are valued and heard. • Children need explicit instruction in spelling and phonemic awareness. K to Grade 3 students receive daily training in phonological awareness, phonics and word study, fluency, spelling, and handwriting based on the Wilson Fundations program. There is a scope and sequence for spelling and grammar instruction from first to eighth grade. • Writers read! For children to write well, they need opportunities to read and to hear texts read and to read as insiders, studying what other authors have done that they too could try. • Children need clear goals and feedback. In the Units of Study program, each grade level includes four six week units of writing with some combination of the following: narrative, opinion/persuasive/ argument, and informational. Instruction builds on itself from one year to the next. Teaching follows the gradual release of responsibility model of teaching. Students can first learn from a demonstration, accompanied by explicit teaching, then from guided practice in which the amount of scaffolding they receive lessens over time.
  • Math

  • Science

    This course utilizes hands-on activities and personal experience to develop an understanding of the natural world. Students learn science by working collaboratively to investigate phenomenon, asking questions, and testing ideas. Fourth Graders engage in the process of engineering and design. The process allows students to apply the understandings they develop to solve problems and generate solutions. Students keep a journal of their challenges, ideas, and projects. The topics explored in fourth grade science include the following: plants, solar system, habitats, solid waste management, the water cycle, and the circulatory system.
  • Social Studies

    Fourth grade Social Studies is divided into two major units of study: The United States and VI History. The first unit begins with students using maps to identify geographical locations and landforms, after which they turn their attention individual states. As a culminating activity, students complete state or regional projects. Students also learn about the Age of Discovery, the time when European explorers navigated the seas in search of wealth and power . Students are then immersed in the study of VI history, beginning with an exploration of Taino and Caribe Native American cultures. Next students study periods of European colonization, and significant events in VI history: Emancipation, Labor revolts, and the transfer from Denmark to the United States in the twentieth century. History comes alive with special guest and field trips to Whim Museum, the Christiansted Fort, or Salt River.
  • Technology

    The Technology curriculum develops young learners to be the next generation of creative thinkers and problem solvers. Computer and classroom teachers collaborate to make connections between computer and core classes. As students move to fifth and sixth grade, they deepen their understanding of software applications (Microsoft Word, PowerPoint , Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, GarageBand, iMovie, Lego Digital Design Studio, 3D Tin), and acquiring applied skills (computer programming, robotics, brainstorming, and financial literacy). Applications gradually advance in difficulty and build upon previous programs. Students apply their knowledge to real-world problems and use their skills to create unique solutions. Technology standards covered in class: Creativity and Innovation, Communication and Collaboration, Research and Information Fluency, Computational Thinking, Technology Operations and Concepts, and Digital Citizenship.
  • Art

    The focus of Fourth Grade Art is on aesthetics, balance and creativity – the ABC’s of art. Throughout the year children develop an appreciation for diverse art forms, work to respect individual and group needs and use their creativity as a hands-on approach to problem solving. The art curriculum is organized into units involving sculpture, design, drawing, and art appreciation. When appropriate, art projects are coordinated with social studies, language arts, science and computer classes. Students enjoy participating in local and national art competitions when possible. Student art is showcased at the annual Student Art Show in April.
  • Spanish

    The Spanish program focuses on building a strong foundation in the four areas of foreign language study: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Students develop correct pronunciation and build their repertoire of practical vocabulary. Teachers emphasize correct pronunciation, intonation, fluency, grammar and verb conjugation. Students practice verbal skills while performing skits, singing traditional songs from Latin America, and playing group games. Through craft-making activities, reading stories, and watching foreign language videos, students also learn about Latin American customs and holidays, such as the Day of the Dead, Cinco de Mayo and Navidad.
  • Music

    Fourth graders have chorus with an introduction to musical theater and opera. In the second half of the year, students are introduced to band instruments in preparation for that exciting time when each child chooses which instrument he or she will play in fifth grade. There are so many benefits to learning to play an instrument, that we feel all students should be exposed to instrumental instruction in the fifth grade. Many studies show that playing an instrument helps a child develop abstract reasoning skills necessary to learn math and science.

Fifth and Sixth Grades

  • Language Arts

    Fifth to sixth graders read a wide range of children’s literature.  Some units are approached using a whole class structure; while other units include small literature circles or independent reading.  The Units of Study Writing Program, developed by Lucy Calkins at Columbia Teachers College, provides the foundation of the writing program from Pre School to Eighth grade. The essential aspects of the program are that
    • Writing needs to be taught with explicit instruction.
    • Children deserve to write for real, to write the kinds of texts that they see in the world
    • Children need to be immersed in a listening and storytelling culture where their voices are valued and heard.
    • Children need explicit instruction in spelling and phonemic awareness. K to Grade 3 students receive daily training in phonological awareness, phonics and word study, fluency, spelling, and handwriting based on the Wilson Fundations program.   There is a scope and sequence for spelling and grammar instruction from first to eighth grade.
    • Writers read! For children to write well, they need opportunities to read and to hear texts read and to read as insiders, studying what other authors have done that they too could try.
    • Children need clear goals and feedback.
    In the Units of Study program, each grade level includes four six week units of writing with some combination of the following: narrative, opinion/persuasive/ argument,  and informational.  Instruction builds on itself from one year to the next.  Teaching follows the gradual release of responsibility model of teaching. Students can first learn from a demonstration, accompanied by explicit teaching, then from guided practice in which the amount of scaffolding they receive lessens over time. 5th Grade Language Arts Curriculum Map 6th Grade Language Arts Curriculum Map
  • Math

    In the 5th and 6th grade we build upon the foundations taught in 4th grade to a deeper degree.  We begin with number sense to gain a strong base to start the year.  Several lessons are spent reinforcing operations with fractions and decimals.  We introduce algebra concepts early, and in the 6th grade concepts are aligned to Middle School expectations.  Geometry is a major topic in both grades; students will calculate the perimeter, area, and circumference of a variety of shapes.   Throughout the year 6th grade relates algebra to topics covered such as geometry, and solving equations with fractions and decimals.   End of chapter assessments are used to measure students’ mastery of the material covered.  Pearson’s enVision Math textbook and supporting materials are used in these courses. 5th Grade Math Curriculum Map 6th Grade Math Curriculum Map
  • Social Studies and Science

    Memorizing facts and information is not the most important skill in today’s world. Facts change, and information is readily available. Our goal is to develop and nurture in our students the inquiring attitudes necessary to continue the generation and examination of knowledge throughout their lives. Developing thinking skills helps students become effective learners.   Important skills include inquiry, creative thinking, information processing, reasoning, and evaluation. Essential personal skills include communication, diligence, reliability, the mindset necessary to improve, collaboration, and ethical awareness. Science topics for sixth graders include properties of matter, atoms and elements, world biomes, electricity, and the nervous system.   Inquiry Projects, with a focus on technical writing, are displayed at the GHCDS Science Fair, where students have the opportunity to present their research to an audience of professionals and parents. In the fifth and sixth grade social studies is organized on a two year rotation; with the focus of the first year on geography of the eastern hemisphere; and the second year geography of  the western hemisphere.  In the third quarter the social studies and science curricula are integrated in preparation for the Science Fair.  In the fourth quarter students are involved in a World Religions unit in the first year rotation, and in an oral history project in the second. 5th Grade Social Studies Detail 5th Grade Science Curriculum Map 6th Grade Social Studies and Science Information
  • Technology

    The Intermediate Technology curriculum develops young learners to be the next generation of creative thinkers and problem solvers.  Computer and classroom teachers collaborate to make connections between computer and core classes.  As students move to fifth and sixth grade, they deepen their understanding of  software applications (Microsoft Word, PowerPoint , Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, GarageBand, iMovie, Lego Digital Design Studio, 3D Tin), and acquiring applied skills (computer programming, robotics, brainstorming, and financial literacy). Applications gradually advance in difficulty and build upon previous programs. Students apply their knowledge to real-world problems and use their skills to create unique solutions. Technology standards covered in class: Creativity and Innovation, Communication and Collaboration, Research and Information Fluency, Computational Thinking, Technology Operations and Concepts, and Digital Citizenship.
  • Spanish

    The Intermediate Spanish program focuses on building a strong foundation in the four areas of foreign language study:  listening, speaking, reading, and writing.  Sixth graders develop correct pronunciation and build their repertoire of practical vocabulary related to topics such ass school, home, family, food, and daily routines.   An emphasis is placed on correct pronunciation, intonation, fluency, grammar and verb conjugation. Students practice verbal skills while performing skits, singing traditional songs from Latin America, and playing group games. Through craft-making activities, reading stories, and watching foreign language videos, students also learn about Latin American customs and holidays, such as the Day of the Dead, Cinco de Mayo and Navidad. 5th Grade Spanish Curriculum Map 6th Grade Spanish Curriculum Map
  • Art

    The focus of Intermediate Art is on aesthetics, balance and creativity – the ABC’s of art.  Throughout the year children develop an appreciation for diverse art forms, work to respect individual and group needs and use their creativity as a hands-on approach to problem solving. The art curriculum is organized into units involving sculpture, design, drawing, and art appreciation.   When appropriate, art projects are coordinated with social studies, language arts, science and computer classes.  Students enjoy participating in local and national art competitions when possible.  Student art is showcased at the annual Student Art Show in April. 5th Grade Art Curriculum Map 6th Grade Art Curriculum Map
  • Music

    Sixth graders are given the choice of taking band or chorus.  New students entering sixth grade who would like to play an instrument but have not had fifth grade band must attend weekly after school help sessions for ½ hour when they can learn the band instrument that they have chosen with individual instruction.  This afforest the students the opportunity to catch up to the level of the rest of the band and be able to participate in the holiday concert. 6th Grade Music Curriculum Map
  • Physical Education

    In Physical Education students are introduced to the following activities: volleyball, soccer, basketball, softball, fitness activities/games, cooperative games and aquatics.  Sportsmanship and cooperation take precedence over winning.   The focus is on physical fitness, skill development, knowledge of the game:  positioning and in some cases the history of the game. This year we will use FitnessGram to assess our students’ physical fitness.  FitnessGram  is the most widely used youth physical fitness assessment, education and reporting tool in the world. Based on Healthy Fitness Zone® standards, FitnessGram uses criterion-based standards, carefully established for each age and gender to assess the five components of health-related fitness: Aerobic Capacity, Muscular Strength, Muscular Endurance, Flexibility, and Body Composition.  In comparison with the former Presidential Fitness program, FitnessGram offers more options for evaluating each student, which will make the experience more comfortable for a wide range of students, and in turn provide a more accurate view of each student's fitness level.  Students will be introduced to the components in the fall so that they can set physical fitness goals for themselves.  In the first year of implementing the program, we will formally asses once in the third quarter.   Our goal in the second year is to assess twice. Intermediate School PE Curriculum Map