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Our School

and Curriculum 2018–2019

Learning at NPS National Presbyterian School is committed to safeguarding the all-important decade of childhood —the years from Age 3 to Sixth Grade. We believe that love is a precondition to excellent learning. By presenting a challenging academic program in a nurturing school community, we give children the intellectual, spiritual, personal, physical and emotional foundations that will enable them to be successful learners and good people.


2 Benefits of Age 3 to Sixth Grade



13 Curriculum Overview

30 Nursery

3 Seventh Grade Placement

14 Philosophy of Early Childhood Education

31 Sample Nursery Day

4 About NPS

15 Project Zero

33 Sample Pre-Kindergarten Day

16 Professional Development STUDENT LIFE

17 Reading

32 Pre-Kindergarten 34 Kindergarten 35 Sample Kindergarten Day

8 Diversity and Inclusion

18 Language Arts

9 Social & Emotional Development

19 Mathematics

36 Kindergarten–Sixth Grade Subject Frequency Chart

10 Service Learning

20 Science

37 First Grade

21 Social & Global Studies

38 Second Grade

22 Spanish

39 Third Grade

23 Chapel & Religious Studies

40 Fourth Grade

24 Physical Education & Recess

41 Fifth Grade

25 Music

42 Sixth Grade: A Capstone Year

11 Morning Meetings & Assemblies 12 Athletics

26 Visual Arts 27 Drama 28 Library 29 Technology



Benefits of Age 3 to Sixth Grade important factor in school choice. So why choose NPS,

NPS graduates are highly sought after by a wide array of schools in Seventh Grade.

a school for 3 year olds through Sixth Grade?

Our students are renowned for academic sophistication,

We understand that grade range is and should be an

confidence, and compassion. Admissions officers,

We believe the Age 3 to Sixth Grade model is best for children.

heads of school, and faculty who receive our students consistently comment to us that NPS is a favorite feeder

We specialize in the “decade of childhood,” from the

because our graduates transition seamlessly both

time that children are ready for an independent school

academically and socially.

experience until they are 12 years old and sit on the cusp of adolescence. As an elementary-only school,

Seventh Grade is the ideal time to make a change.

we celebrate these fleeting and foundational years,

NPS’s elementary school experience enables parents

and we’re experts in serving the intellectual, spiritual

to make an informed decision about the best middle and

and ethical formation of children.

high school fit for their child among the many and diverse options in the DC area. Students, meanwhile, are ready

At NPS, children can remain children longer.

for a change, and they’re excited about the opportunity

The oldest students at NPS benefit from focused attention

to reinvent themselves when they transition to their

without the presence of teenagers in Seventh and Eighth

new schools.

Grade. Sixth Graders are intellectually mature and ready to expand their world views, yet they remain receptive to guidance from adults. Freedom from the influence of older students gives Sixth Graders more time to reflect on where they’ve been and who they want to be. They graduate from NPS well-equipped to navigate the challenges that they will face in their teenage years.


Seventh Grade Placement Starting in the spring of Fifth Grade, our Outplacement


Team, comprised of the Head of School, Director of Upper Division and Outplacement, the Sixth Grade Teachers, and the School Counselor, engages students and parents in a hands-on placement process helping


S T U D E N T S applied to


to identify schools that are a strong fit, guiding them throughout the application process, and advocating for children at the schools to which they apply.




were accepted to multiple schools



enrolled members of the Class of 2018

NPS Graduating Class

2016 2017 2018 TOTAL

Placement 2016–2018 in DC area schools

Connelly School of the Holy Child



The Field School




Georgetown Day School



Holton-Arms School





Landon School





Maret School





McLean School



National Cathedral School





Norwood School




Potomac School




Public Schools




5 11

Sidwell Friends School




St. Albans School





St. Andrew’s Episcopal School





St. Anselm’s Abbey School




Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart





Washington Episcopal School





Woods Academy






The School embraces and seeks to engender in its students five Core Values: love, respect, honesty, responsibility, and safety.


National Presbyterian School is proud to celebrate our 50th year in 2018–2019. Founded in 1969 as an educational mission of The

including governance, programming, and use of our common campus and facilities. As always, the School welcomes children of all religions, races, and nationalities.

National Presbyterian Church (NPC), National Presbyterian School is a traditional, co-educational elementary school dedicated to educational excellence in an ecumenical


Christian environment. A loving and inclusive community,

The NPS student body is approximately 300 students,

NPS strives to help children develop intellectual, spiritual,

age 3–Grade 6, enrolled in two divisions:

and personal foundations that will serve them throughout their lives. The history of NPS is tied to that of the National Presbyterian Church. The School was initially a cooperative nursery program for three- and four-year old children of

Lower Division (Nursery–Grade 1): 2 sections of Nursery; 3 sections of Pre-Kindergarten – Grade 1 Upper Division (Grades 2 – 6): 2–3 sections of each grade NPS students come from DC, Maryland and Virginia.

the surrounding community and members of the Church.

31.2% of the student body identifies themselves as African

Over the years, additional grades were added, and the

American, Latino/Hispanic, Asian American, Middle

first Sixth Grade graduated in 1986. Students at this

Eastern America, international, or multiracial.

school benefit from an ongoing partnership with NPC



Nursery and Pre-Kindergarten: Three schedule options are available.

Five mornings, 8:30 am to Noon (Nursery only)

Five mornings, 8:30 am to Noon, plus three afternoons

(Monday, Wednesday, Friday) until 3:15 pm

Five mornings, 8:30am to Noon, plus five afternoons (Monday–Friday) until 3:15 pm Kindergarten–Grade 6: Monday – Friday 8:30 am – 3:15 pm CAMPUS

National Presbyterian School shares the 12-acre campus of the National Presbyterian Church conveniently located in Northwest Washington, DC. The school facilities include

Drop off begins at 8:00 am. For all students, early care (Early Birds) is available from 7:30 am to 8:00 am and after school care (After 3 Club) is available until 6:00 pm every day.

a gym, library, technology lab/makerspace, science lab, multipurpose room, art and music studios. All homerooms in Grades 1–6, and most specialists’ rooms, are equipped with SMART Boards. A securely fenced playground, featuring a sport court area with basketball hoops, playground equipment, amphitheater, and soccer field, is adjacent to the School. The grounds of the Church and School feature sculpture, fountains, gardens, lawns, and mature trees.


NPS has 50 full- and part-time teaching faculty, including homeroom teachers, teaching associates, and specialty teachers in reading, math, science, Spanish, technology, art, music, drama, religion, physical education, counseling, and library. The average tenure is over nine years. Over 69% of lead teachers hold advanced degrees. NPS devotes considerable time and resources to professional development in all areas of curriculum and instruction so that the faculty stays current on best practices in the field of education.




NPS offers a daily hot lunch program to students in Nursery to Sixth Grade on each full day of school. Our caterer, Ridgewells’ Catering, has over 20 years of school lunch catering experience in the Washington, DC metropolitan area and has a proven track record of consistently delivering fresh, healthy dining options that are both allergen conscious and nutritionally balanced. In addition to a hot entrée with a vegetarian option, there are always salad and deli bars. A portion of the proceeds of the lunch program benefits the Jay Roudebush Authorin-Residence program.


NPS students dress according to a dress code. The mission of the dress code is for children to look neat and respectful, but clothing must be suitable throughout an active day which includes recess and physical education.


NPS understands and appreciates the financial commitment families undertake in deciding to send their children to our school. In order to ensure that the NPS community remains inclusive and an option to families at all socioeconomic levels, the School provides over $1.4 million in need-based financial aid annually. For the 2018–2019 school year, approximately 21% of students receive financial assistance to help offset the cost of tuition. Families receiving tuition assistance are also eligible for financial support for before care (Early Birds), after care (After 3 Club), After School Program classes, Lunch Program, and Summer Horizons Camp.



Early Birds The Early Birds program operates from 7:30 to 8:00 am each school day for students in Nursery – Grade 6. Supervision is provided by NPS faculty and staff, and students participate in quiet age-appropriate activities. A variety of snacks is available for Early Birds who have not yet eaten breakfast. Families needing occasional use of the program may utilize the program on a drop-in basis.

After 3 Club After 3 Club is a flexible, extended-day program for all NPS students in Nursery to Sixth Grade which operates from 3:15 to 6:00 pm daily and 12:00 – 6:00 pm on Noon Dismissal Fridays. Students may enroll for an entire school year, a trimester, a specific day or days of the week, or on a drop-in basis. A team of dedicated staff members organizes daily program activities including arts and crafts, cooking, games, and outdoor time. Students also have free time to play with friends. A snack is served at 4:00 pm, and a supervised homework period is part of the program for students in Grades 2–6.

After School Program After school, students may participate in enrichment activities Monday – Friday from 3:15 – 4:15 pm. NPS’s After School Program offers a variety of classes, many of which are taught by School faculty and staff. Classes vary with the season and the interests of the NPS community and have included dance, drama, chorus, cooking, language clubs, soccer, running club, flag football, Tae Kwon Do, school newspaper, LEGO Engineering, and STEAM classes.

Summer Horizons Camp at NPS Summer Horizons Camp at National Presbyterian School offers a safe and exciting program to campers age 3 through Grade 6. Children come to enjoy the summer, have fun, and learn along the way. Campers develop self-confidence as they explore the world around them, create, investigate, play, splash, laugh, try new things, and make new friends. Instructional swimming is a popular option for ages 4 and older. Early drop off and after-camp care are available for busy families.



Diversity and Inclusion at NPS DIVERSITY STATEMENT

NPS students excel at:

National Presbyterian School is committed to being a

Developing a strong sense of identity

community of inclusion that respects the uniqueness and

Recognizing multiple perspectives and differing points of view

dignity of each individual in a manner consistent with the

Engaging in respectful dialogue with all

School’s Core Values.

Demonstrating sensitivity for the needs of others

We believe that diversity is more than tolerance or

Identifying inequality and working towards equity

accommodation but is rather an informed understanding

Community-wide diversity and inclusion highlights:

and acceptance of people, whose sense of identity is

Extensive professional development for faculty and staff

shaped by many factors, which, for example, may be

with Rosetta Lee, diversity and inclusion specialist

influenced by race, color, or national origin, religion or

The NPS Diversity Institute, summer 2017 and 2018

creed, gender, sexual orientation, family composition,

The Diversity and Community Committee

economic status, age, learning style or physical ability.

Use of Teaching Tolerance Social Justice Standards

We believe such inclusivity is an ongoing process that

as curricular framework (N-6)

enriches our school community and prepares our children

Partnership with Teacher of Color Preparatory Institute

for a global, multicultural world.

Accountable Talk framework for respectful dialogue (N–6)

We are committed to building a diverse community and supporting students, parents, faculty and staff through classroom instruction, professional development, and extra-curricular programming. Revised by the faculty and staff of National Presbyterian School and endorsed by the NPS Board of Trustees, September 2016


Faculty and Staff Norms School-wide identity art projects Sixth Grade Drama and Ethics hybrid course Fifth and Sixth Grade Student Council

Social & Emotional Development National Presbyterian School counselors and teachers

NPS students excel at:

guide the social and emotional development of our

Emotional literacy and empathy

students, offering them support and strategies for applying the NPS Core Values to their everyday lives. Counselors lead whole-class lessons in the classroom and meet with students individually or in small groups. In Nursery through Sixth Grade, students learn core social-emotional skills

Making connections with peers and the community Development of caring and effective communication Conflict management and decision-making Social responsibility

and concepts such as emotional literacy, empathy,

Small group activities include:

effective communication, emotion management, problem

Grade-level groups to offer guidance in navigating friendship

solving and self-esteem. As a framework for counseling instruction, the program uses themes from Second Step, a program created by the Committee for Children, and Connected and Respected, a program developed by Educators for Social Responsibility. Counseling services also provide support for families through consultation,

challenges and development of pro-social skills Multi-grade level support groups for children in areas such as grief, divorce, or transitions Grade-level support groups for problem solving and anger management strategies Students in Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Grades participate in

connections to parent seminars and lecture series, and

a Personal and Social Development unit led by the

referrals for private therapy services and support.

counselors and private consultants. It includes topics such as managing stress, puberty, peer pressure, consent, responsible use of technology, and alcohol and drug prevention.



Service Learning Service Learning at National Presbyterian School gives

NPS students excel at:

students the opportunity to meaningfully engage with the

Working in collaboration with the School and local

needs of their community, learn more about themselves,

community to experience a fuller definition and

develop empathy, practice leadership skills, and recognize their shared responsibility to care for others. Service

understanding of neighbor Reflecting upon, thinking critically and learning

learning projects are student-directed, age-appropriate, hands-on, and serve our community in meaningful ways.

from their service experiences Using newly acquired academic skills and knowledge

Outside of classroom-based service learning, NPS holds

in real-life situations in their own communities

Family Service Saturdays throughout the year, giving all

Developing and fostering empathy, leadership skills

family members the opportunity to serve together. Our service learning projects are a clear manifestation of the School’s Core Values and our Christian identity, embracing through service the virtue of love in action.

and civic responsibility

Service Learning program highlights include: Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service Student Council: Community Service Committee Martha’s Table Food Drive Nursing Home Visits Core Cardinals: Student Council Leaders (6) Collecting Sweets for Soldiers Recipient of Center for Spiritual and Ethical Education award for excellence in service learning

Recent Grade Level Service Project Partners Nursery

Washington Humane Society

Pre-Kindergarten National Presbyterian Child Care Center Partnership Kindergarten NPS-NPC Environmental Partnership First Grade

IONA Senior Center

Second Grade Emergency Preparedness and American Red Cross Third Grade

Comfort Cases for

foster children

Fourth Grade Hurricane Relief Fifth Grade Friendship Place and Tenleytown Library Sixth Grade Global Service Learning Projects


Morning Meeting & Assemblies Morning Meeting is a community-building time shared between teachers and students at the start of each day when students practice the social skills of cooperation, empathy, listening, and responsibility. Common Morning Meeting activities include a greeting and opportunities for students to share, review class announcements, and participate in a group activity. Morning Meeting is just one component of the Responsive Classroom approach embraced by the school to build community. Assemblies are held once a month and are an opportunity for the whole school to gather in celebration and to further enrich connections among community members. Students attend assemblies with their buddies dressed in their School Spirit Day attire.

NPS students excel at: Confidently entering and adapting to new social situations Taking social and academic risks Comfortably participating in group activities and public speaking Taking responsibility for their role as a member of our School community Celebrating and appreciating the successes and contributions of all members of the NPS community

Sample Morning Meeting activities include: Greeting each student in the class by name Reviewing the calendar and schedule for the day Choral reading of the morning announcement chart Collective editing of the announcement chart Discussions of the weather and calendar math activities Student-led discussions and oral presentations Games focused on cooperation and community building Group activities focused on academic content and review Class meetings addressing specific community, group or interpersonal issues Students sharing news and announcements



Athletics In addition to its physical education curriculum, NPS offers

participated at the high school level in sports including

a robust athletic program in the upper grades. Whereas

baseball, lacrosse, football, crew, swimming, gymnastics,

many schools do not start organized athletics until the

ice hockey, golf, soccer, squash, field hockey, rugby,

middle school years, NPS students have the opportunity

figure skating, track and field, cross-country, volleyball,

each season to participate in competitive sports beginning

kayaking, and softball.

in Fourth and Fifth Grade. Accordingly, NPS students learn important sport-specific skills, as well as valuable lessons about teamwork, sportsmanship, and competition.

In addition, many have played varsity collegiate sports at a wide range of Division I and Division III schools, including Princeton University, Vanderbilt University,

Fifth and Sixth Graders may participate in interscholastic

University of Pennsylvania, Auburn University, Cornell

single-sex teams for soccer, basketball, and lacrosse, and

University, Colby College, Middlebury College, Denison

Fourth Graders may participate in intramural opportunities

University, Sewanee: the University of the South, College

for each of those sports. NPS teams are led by

of the Holy Cross, United State Naval Academy, Case

experienced coaches with strong backgrounds in the

Western Reserve University, University of Maryland,

sports they coach.

Claremont McKenna College, Dickinson College, and

Following NPS, many of the School’s athletic program

Kenyon College, among others.

alumni go on to play—and star in—sports in middle school

NPS alumna Kat Holmes, Class of 2005, is a US Olympic

and high school. In recent history, NPS alumni have

fencer who competed in the 2016 Summer Games in Rio.



Curriculum Overview The goal of an NPS education is to form students who are confident, skilled, curious, and compassionate, with a strong sense of identity rooted in the School’s Core Values of love, respect, honesty, responsibility and safety. The NPS curriculum offers a rigorous, balanced, and developmentally appropriate academic program. We not only teach students solid academic skills but how to apply them as they explore, question, and think about the ever-evolving world they will inherit. NPS prepares students in the key 21st century competencies: cognition, communication, connection, collaboration, and creativity. COGNITION

Thinking and questioning come naturally to young learners. NPS teachers are highly skilled in harnessing their students’ natural curiosity and in teaching them to think critically about the world around them. All NPS teachers


are trained in and use the Harvard Graduate School of

All children are taught to work together respectfully

Education’s Project Zero thinking routines as a framework

through the framework of our strong social-emotional

for lessons. COMMUNICATION

One of the hallmarks of the NPS program is our focus on communication. Students graduate able to share their thoughts and opinions confidently, effectively, and

learning (SEL) program. Led by our two school counselors, all faculty and staff are trained in SEL practices and integrate this training into the daily curriculum. CREATIVITY

NPS students are encouraged to take risks and find

respectfully. They value the opinions of others as they

new ways to accomplish tasks. Teachers recognize

learn to appreciate the many voices of our community.

that creativity is the path to invention and innovation and


NPS students are connected to both local and global

work collaboratively on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Math) and integrated arts projects at all grade levels.

communities through projects in and out of the classroom. As students move through the grades, their sphere of exposure expands from that of their family, to the cultures and traditions of their classmates’ families, to those of the world at large through a hands-on, integrated social studies, art, drama, music, and service learning curriculum.



NPS Philosophy of Early Childhood Education Wherever possible, we must protect and preserve the spontaneous natural flow of learning that occurs when

What does this look like in the classroom?

young children are given appropriate opportunities,

Pre-Kindergarten Penguin Palace

materials, and guidance. Cognitive scientists and

During a study of “P,” the letter of the week, Pre–

developmental theorists agree that play is the work of

Kindergarten students had a single burning question:

young children. It is the foundation upon which all

“What if a group of penguins lived in a palace?” Over the

academic skill is built as it highlights cause and effect

course of several days and guided by the teacher, teams

and nurtures:

of students studied real life penguin habitats and climates; generated a list of supplies to create this palatial habitat; designed and engineered the palace out of blocks and

Executive functioning Self-regulation

penguins how to find their new home; discussed the rules of the palace; and respectfully disagreed at times yet

Motor control and planning

arrived at consensus after debate. The project was

Sensory integration

interdisciplinary in nature, using skills in math, science,


art, and early literacy.

Creative and critical thinking Social-emotional connections


math manipulatives; made signs and maps telling the

Project Zero National Presbyterian School is proud to be a Washington, DC – Project Zero School. NPS teachers are trained in and implement the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Project Zero teaching frameworks including Making Thinking Visible, Teaching for Understanding, Creating Cultures of Thinking and Agency by Design. The work of Project Zero, led by Dr. Howard Gardner, focuses on attention to processes of thinking, learning, and understanding with the goal of making the complex accessible to even our youngest minds. Both Project Zero and NPS believe in the fundamental principle that all learning is a consequence of thinking and that the responsibility of educators is to make student thinking visible throughout the School. This approach creates a dynamic and inclusive learning environment. As a result of the School’s commitment to Project Zero teaching frameworks, NPS students excel at critical thinking, attention to detail, respect for differences of opinion, and collaboration: 21st century skills vital to their future.



Professional Development NPS teachers are dedicated life-long learners.

NPS faculty excel at:

In order to provide all NPS students with an engaging

Understanding and articulating the developmental stages

academic program in a loving environment, faculty and staff participate in year-round professional development and integrate knowledge of effective, research-based pedagogy into their teaching. This ongoing commitment to life-long learning fuels faculty interactions with their students, with one another, and with colleagues at peer schools. Thanks to generous support from the School, NPS teachers strive equally to improve what they teach and how they teach it. This culture of constant curricular improvement puts NPS at the forefront of attracting and retaining exceptional teachers.

and needs of young children Demonstrating compassion and recognizing that social, emotional, and physical well-being are essential to both academic progress and healthy development Cultivating character and ethical development in all NPS students Striving to meet the needs of different types of learners Inspiring students to develop a passion for learning by teaching with an open mindset, enthusiasm, flexibility, humor, and a wealth of background knowledge Communicating effectively with families in support of the crucial partnership between parents and the School

Professional Development highlights: NPS Diversity Institute with Rosetta Lee Implementing Project Zero Ideas in the Elementary Classroom Agency by Design for Makerspaces Columbia University, Teachers College Reading and Writing Institutes NOAA Climate Stewards Education Program Active Learning Adventure for Preschool Teachers Santillana Descubre Spanish Language Workshop Mindfulness in the Classroom Educating Girls Symposium Institute for Social and Emotional Learning


Reading National Presbyterian School strongly believes reading skills should be built to last and to enrich for a lifetime. This belief is the foundation of the curriculum and directs the instructional program in the five essential components of reading: phonemic awareness, phonics, reading fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. The School provides explicit instruction in phonemic awareness and phonics in Pre-Kindergarten through Second Grade. Word Study begins in First Grade and continues through Sixth Grade as students learn strategies to decode and understand vocabulary encountered in increasingly complex texts. At all levels, students learn that reading is an active process, and that they must use various strategies to integrate information from the text into their present knowledge base. In addition, Reading Workshop is utilized in Kindergarten – Sixth Grade as part of a balanced

NPS students excel at:

literacy program.

Sharing their thinking about literature through

Children enjoy many opportunities to discuss and evaluate

Visualizing, making connections, asking questions,

the information they gain as they read and are read to. Students are exposed to rich, engaging literature through a variety of reading experiences. You will find

discussion, writing, art, and drama and determining important information Literary analysis and critical thinking

Kindergartners reading big books together, Second

Highlights of the NPS Reading program include:

Graders in a guided reading group, Third Graders

A diverse selection of fiction and non-fiction texts that

dramatizing a favorite scene in Reader’s Theater, and Sixth Graders conducting their own discussion in literature circles. Students in all classes and at all levels enjoy read-aloud books and participate in a weekly Library class to select books for personal enjoyment. This multi-faceted approach to reading instruction develops

allow each NPS student opportunities to identify with characters and experiences Average student-to-teacher instruction ratios of 10:1 in Kindergarten through Sixth Grade Two reading specialists and one learning specialist to offer individual and small group instructional support

strong comprehension skills and nurtures a life-long love

Annual Author-in-Residence Program

of reading and literature. NPS draws from a wide range

Cross-curricular reading projects and presentations

of resources to best support students in our balanced

Book Week

literacy model including: Zoo Phonics (N–K), Wilson

Literature Dress-Up Day

Fundations, Orton-Gillingham, Fountas and Pinnell, and Columbia University Teachers College Reading Workshop.



Language Arts Our language arts program is rooted in the belief that oral

NPS students excel at:

and written communication skills are essential to helping

Understanding the connection between reading

students develop a sense of themselves and to share their diverse experiences and perspectives with others. Nursery and Pre-K students begin their journey as natural oral storytellers. Homeroom and drama teachers nurture this talent and build upon it with opportunities to reenact events or dictate ideas into a journal. As the children move into Kindergarten to Sixth Grade, teachers introduce them to the Writing Workshop model from Columbia University’s

and writing Thoughtfully planning, composing, revising, and publishing their writing Incorporating sophisticated vocabulary and proper writing mechanics into their writing Confidently and eloquently expressing themselves, both orally and in writing

Teachers College. Writing Workshop focuses on select

Special student publications include:

units of study including narrative, opinion/argument,

The Creative Cardinal: the NPS literary journal

and information writing with the goal of increasing the

The Nebraska Avenue Times: the NPS school newspaper

complexity and sophistication of student work. The School

Regularly published articles in The Northwest Current

uses Handwriting Without Tears for both print (PK–2) and cursive (3–4) instruction.

Language Arts enrichment activities include: Annual Author-in-Residence program Authors’ teas and publishing parties


Mathematics Math at NPS is taught with the goal of developing

NPS students excel at:

creative, competent, and flexible problem solvers who

Real-life, authentic problem solving both individually

are comfortable taking risks. As all students are natural mathematicians, homeroom teachers, with the support of the School’s full-time math specialist, provide a variety of math experiences through direct instruction, independent practice, cutting edge cooperative projects,

and collaboratively Mathematical communication in both discourse and writing Efficient, accurate, and flexible computation Integrating technology as a useful tool for problem solving

and game-playing. NPS has an innovative and well-

Math enrichment projects include:

researched curriculum that addresses the foundation

Maryland Math Contest

of mathematics: numbers and operations, geometry,

Dreambox and IXL online math learning

patterns, functions, algebraic thinking, data analysis, and

Grade-specific project-based learning such as:

measurement. Students as young as three years old begin

Imagination Playground (N)

to develop number sense, a mathematical vocabulary,

Matching Mitten Pattern Project (PK)

and a logical approach to solving problems that enables

3-D Rocket Ship Design (K)

future application of mathematical reasoning to real-world

Block Town (1)

questions. To maintain a dynamic learning environment

Measuring for the Art Show (2)

that accommodates a variety of learning styles, NPS

T-shirt Factory (3)

utilizes the most effective activities and best practices

The Teachers’ Lounge (4)

from several mathematics curricula including Everyday

Million Dollar Project (5)

Math, Investigations, Contexts for Learning by Cathy

Business Simulation (6)

Fosnot, the National Science Foundation’s Rational Number Project, and Number Talks by Sherry Parrish. The School also supplements and differentiates instruction with engaging online content from the Dreambox and IXL companies.



Science Because we believe that science is best learned by being

NPS students excel at:

scientists, instruction at National Presbyterian School

Actively constructing ideas through their own inquiries,

teaches processes and concepts through inquiry-based,

investigations, and analyses

hands-on/minds-on activities. Through their own

Integrating an understanding of both what they know

investigations and analyses, students appreciate the

(content) and how they come to know it (process)

scientific enterprise, learn important scientific and

Appreciating the inter-disciplinary connections between

engineering concepts, and develop their own questions

science, other school subjects, and “real-life”

and answers in a creative, yet logical way. NPS students

Science program enrichment activities include:

develop a strong foundation in scientific literacy in life sciences, earth and space sciences, and physical sciences.

Engineering Design Challenge

The program, aligned with the Next Generation Science

Fossil Dig (2)

Standards, emphasizes fundamental themes, skills and

Overnight environmental education and adventure program (5–6)

attitudes of science and engineering design.

GLOBE (NASA, NSF and NOAA sponsored)

Students in Kindergarten–Sixth Grade use Full Option

environmental and weather research projects

Science System (FOSS), an award winning, standards-

Signs of Spring: Citizen-Science Program

based, inquiry-based curriculum developed at the

Field trips to the Smithsonian Natural History Museum

University of California, Berkeley.

forensic anthropology exhibit, and the National Zoo

Students in Third through Sixth Grades spend formal time

Family STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering,

in the science lab. In Nursery through Second Grades,

Arts, Math) Night

science experiments and STEAM projects take place in the homeroom.





Water Exploration

Life Cycles & Health




Magnets & Temperature

Senses, Polar Animals & Birds


Tree Structure

Fabric & Wood

Tree Changes

First Grade

Air & Weather

Balance & Motion


Second Grade

Fossils & Dinosaurs

Solids & Liquids


Third Grade


Measuring Matter &

Structures of Life

Physics of Sound and Light

Fourth Grade

Soil, Rocks & Landforms

Energy & Electromagnetism

Human Body

Fifth Grade




Sixth Grade

Weather on Earth


Cellular Biology & Diversity of Life


Social & Global Studies The social and global studies curriculum at National Presbyterian School is a culturally responsive program that focuses on helping our students appreciate and respect the diversity, history, and commonalities in our communities and in the world. Students study topics aimed at highlighting their responsibilities as community members and citizens as well as understanding the foundations of our country and other world civilizations. Social and global studies units integrate many curricular areas including math, art, music, religion, literature, and technology. Students in the Upper Division participate in extensive investigations of their historical eras which include research projects, field trips, book studies, and historical simulations. The social and global studies program in each grade balances civics and government, service learning, geography, history, and world cultures.

Social and Global Studies enrichment activities include: NPS students excel at:

Annual Geography Bee

Understanding the responsibilities of community

Current events study through TIME for Kids,

and citizenship

Junior Scholastic, and The Washington Post

Appreciating the growth of American democracy and democratic institutions

cultural exposure through the Spanish program

Embracing the cultures and traditions of others in our global community

Units of study include:

Guest speakers from the local community Field trips throughout the Washington, DC

Showing stewardship for our shared resources

Spanish, South American and Central American

metropolitan area



Diversity Among Us: I am Special, You are Special


Diversity in Our School


Diversity in Our School and on Our Church Campus

First Grade

Diversity in Our Neighborhood: Tenleytown

Second Grade

Communities and the Washington, DC Experience

Third Grade Environmental Sustainability: Native Americans and Early Settlers

Fourth Grade

Finding Your Voice: Democracy in Action

Fifth Grade

Migration: Then and Now

Sixth Grade Global Citizenship: World Geography, Cultures, and Current Events



Spanish Language and communication are at the heart of the

NPS students excel at:

human experience, and they are increasingly more

Acquiring basic vocabulary, pronunciation,

important in our pluralistic society, in the USA and abroad. National Presbyterian School begins formal Spanish instruction in Pre-Kindergarten to foster appreciation of both foreign languages and cultures. Early instruction is focused on an active exploration of Spanish language and culture through reading, writing, poetry, authentic videos

and oral communication skills Understanding and appreciating Spanish and Latin American traditions and cultures Demonstrating an enthusiasm and interest in learning a foreign language

from the Hispanic world, games, projects, various oral

Spanish enrichment activities include:

activities; collaborations with art, science, and drama.

Online learning through various tools

Emphasis is placed on building a strong foundation in

Listening to recordings to improve listening

the Spanish language by increasing vocabulary, mastering

comprehension and pronunciation

basic conversational phrases, developing confidence

Holiday studies

in listening and speaking; acquiring reading, writing

Games from the Spanish-speaking world

and grammatical skills; and exploring Spanish

Student-created videos, plays, and audio recordings

speaking countries.

Student-led calendar and weather routines Collaborating with other teachers to study the history of Spanish-speaking countries and enhance language use Participation in the National Spanish Exam (6)


Chapel & Religious Studies All members of the National Presbyterian School community participate in weekly Chapel, a time to nurture the community’s spiritual life through Scripture lessons, sacred music and prayer. Chapels reinforce the School’s Core Values and belief in a Judeo-Christian system of values, including love for God, for others, and respect for other faith traditions. Lower Division students attend Chapel service in Jones Hall, while Upper Division students attend Chapel in the National Presbyterian Church’s Chapel of the Presidents. The oldest students in each service—First Graders and Sixth Graders—serve in leadership roles as greeters, readers and acolytes. In addition, the Chaplain, faculty, and NPC pastors deliver homilies. All students contribute to the Prayers of the People. The entire school community gathers for special services for Opening Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Graduation in the Main Sanctuary of the National Presbyterian Church. The Religious Studies curriculum encourages each student’s spiritual growth while providing a foundation of Biblical and religious literacy. Built on a Christian foundation, Religious Studies classes provide a welcoming and safe environment for students of all religious backgrounds to learn and grow. Through intentional incorporation of the Core Values and themes from Chapel, classes foster a loving environment for children to listen to each other’s beliefs, practices and questions. Attention is paid to connecting the students’ experiences at school, in Chapel and class, to their decision making and sense of themselves.

NPS students excel at: Connecting the Core Values to lessons in Scripture Actively and respectfully participating in worship services Respecting the diversity of religious faith and practice in the world and within the Christian tradition Connecting lessons from scripture to everyday decision-making Actively listening to the ideas, beliefs, and questions of their peers Engaging with Bible stories through skits, songs, art, sign language, and class discussion

Recent Religious Studies activities include: Dressing as Israelites and following Moses on a two-day journey to the Promised Land through the school (2) Making a book of drawings of New Testament stories (3) Visiting the National Presbyterian Church sanctuary to study the stained glass windows, learn the parts

Second Grade

Old Testament

Third Grade

New Testament

Fourth Grade

Christian Life

Fifth Grade

Abrahamic Faiths

Sixth Grade


of the church and the basics of Christian worship (4) Celebrating the end of each Religious Studies unit with a special lunch and a visit to a synagogue, church, and mosque (5) Writing ethical case studies for their peers and creating digital self-portraits reflecting their identities (6)



Physical Education & Recess The NPS physical education program provides an engaging environment where children learn the importance of prioritizing health and wellness in their lives. Children build character as they develop skills in safety, sportsmanship and cooperation. At all levels, physical fitness activities encourage the children to challenge themselves. As students participate in a variety of different movement and body control exercises, they also learn the rules and strategies of organized team sports and games. From the youngest children who run, skip, jump, and hop to the oldest students who refine their skills and learn team sports, teachers challenge each student to develop his or her individual skills and talents. In addition to physical education, NPS students have multiple opportunities throughout the course of the

NPS students excel at:

school day to go outside for recess. Recognizing that

Appreciating and exhibiting good sportsmanship

unstructured, outdoor free play is vital to developing

Participating in all activities with earnest effort and enthusiasm

social skills and to energizing both the body and the mind,

Demonstrating proficiency at a variety of athletic skills

students are encouraged to play pick-up soccer games on

Displaying knowledge of the rules and strategies

the field, to develop gross motor skills on the monkey bars and swings and fine motor skills digging in the sand, to

of sports and games

create structures with the outdoor Imagination Playground,

Highlights of the physical education program include:

or to just sit on a bench for a conversation with a friend.

Field Day (N–6) Magic Club ball skills program (1–3) Jump Rope Club (1–6)


Music The music program at National Presbyterian School fosters a love of music and strives to educate independent, lifelong music makers. Music classes in Nursery–Grade 2 are taught through the Kodály approach to music education. Students sing and play age-appropriate folk songs and singing games and become familiar with the fundamentals of music through experience-based learning. Students in Grades 3–6 attend music classes taught through an Orff-Schulwerk inspired approach, allowing them to build upon their musical knowledge and create, compose, arrange, and study more complex musical themes. These programs help students develop music literacy skills and provide positive experiences in speech, singing, instrument playing, moving, and creating. Throughout their time at NPS, students are exposed to a dynamic and culturally rich repertoire of music including: American and international folk songs, art songs, spirituals, Christmas carols and traditional hymns, as well as representative samples from African and Native American music and American jazz. The music program at NPS also strongly encourages a sense of community through common singing and musical sharing in weekly Chapels, holiday services, and other assemblies and programs throughout the school year.

NPS students excel at:

Highlights of the music program include: Many opportunities to share and perform music for the NPS community An extensive collection of tuned (e.g. xylophones) and untuned (e.g. drums) instruments A 4-octave set of handbells Combined drama and music instruction to connect sound to movement (N) Experience-based play that fosters musical learning in early childhood (N–PK) Singing, moving, playing, and dancing to build musical skills and understanding (K–2)

Working cooperatively through music

Instruction on soprano recorders (3)

Reading music in both symbolic and standard notation

Student-produced jazz musical (4)

Critical listening and responding to music

NPS handbell choir performances (5–6)

Leading and participating through music in their community

Collaborative art and music lessons (6)

Performing in public—singing, playing instruments,

Celebration of African Culture (6)

and dancing

Chorus performances in the NPS, NPC, and Washington, DC community (4–6) Spring Musicals: 101 Dalmatians (2009), The Jungle Book (2010), 2 Good 2 Be 4gotten (2011), Aladdin (2012), Annie (2013), Oz! (2014), Peter Pan (2015), Seussical Kids! (2016), Willy Wonka Kids (2017), HONK!, Jr. (2018)



Visual Arts The creative experiences that comprise the NPS visual arts program develop students’ intuition, reasoning, imagination, and communication skills. The art curriculum is rooted in the fundamental elements of art and principles of design while also exploring art history and numerous art media and techniques. Students study and practice art styles and movements from the earliest cave drawings to today’s digital world, inspiring their own creations and interpretations. Through arts integration and the use of thinking routines from Project Zero’s Making Thinking Visible and Agency by Design’s maker-centered learning, students at National Presbyterian School look at subject matter from new and diverse perspectives, making

NPS students excel at:

vital connections across the School curriculum and

Displaying confidence in taking creative risks

deepening their understanding of what they are learning

Developing a love of the visual arts and a knowledge

in the classroom.

of a variety of media Appreciating art history and a diversity of artistic styles Applying the basic elements and principles of artistic design

Highlights of the visual arts program include: Study of master works from classical, modern, and emerging artists Creation of props and sets for, and integration of, student artwork in class productions and musicals Installation of student-created permanent displays Integrated technology projects including Photoshop, video production and editing, and Computer Assisted Design for 3D Printing Student recipient of the Maryland Arts in Education Association Award Student representation at the AIMS Student Art Show Ongoing student art displays throughout the School Lower Division art center designed especially for younger students (K–2) Epson 7800 Color Printer, large format color scanner, and kiln Makerbot Replicator 2x 3D Printer Glowforge 3D Laser Printer Dedicated makerspace for design thinking exploration and projects Photography lessons with Nikon D3100 DSLR cameras


Drama The drama program at National Presbyterian School

NPS students excel at:

provides an opportunity for students to explore curricular

Expressing themselves verbally and non-verbally

areas in creative, dramatic ways. The program stresses the process of creation while also providing students an opportunity to learn performance skills. In the lower grades, the program focuses on process-centered activities to enhance a child’s natural sense of dramatic play and imagination with story drama, movement activities, and imaginative play. Upper Division students use educational drama strategies including process drama, role play, script

with poise and confidence Engaging in problem-solving exercises using teamwork and creative thinking Celebrating the artistic endeavors of all members of the School community Adopting a different perspective by stepping into or creating a character

analysis, and improvisation. Critical thinking, problem

Highlights of the drama program include:

solving, self-expression, and aesthetic appreciation are

Living Museum: 6th Grade Monologue Project

primary tenets of instruction. Students participate in

Field trips to the Kennedy Center and Imagination Stage

developmentally-appropriate performative experiences,

Spring Musicals: 101 Dalmatians (2009), The Jungle Book

ranging from an open class with parent participation in

(2010), 2 Good 2 Be 4gotten (2011), Aladdin (2012),

the Lower Division to musical productions for the school in

Annie (2013), Oz! (2014), Peter Pan (2015), Seussical

the Upper Division. Students are intimately involved in the

Kids! (2016), Willy Wonka Kids (2017), HONK!, Jr. (2018)

creative process of writing, directing, and acting in these

Class presentations of drama skills

presentations. All students also enjoy regular opportunities for dramatic expression through homeroom activities such as simulations, role play, Reader’s Theater, Morning Meeting group activities, Chapel, and assemblies.



Library The library at National Presbyterian School is the heart

NPS students excel at:

of the school. Every child at NPS visits the library weekly.

Critical thinking about books, literature and websites

Here they learn to enjoy literature and to use the library as a tool for research and learning. NPS believes that books are a window to learning about our Core Values, ourselves and our world. Our growing collection of over 13,000 books supports a love of literature and the research needs of students, staff and parents. A brand new, state of the

Reading across all curricular areas Using call numbers to locate books in the library Using an online database to research specific books Researching complex topics Critically evaluating information

art library space provides an age-appropriate atmosphere

Learning to love literature

for all students. Children learn to use a web-based library

Highlights of the library program include:

catalog to locate books for independent reading and research needs. Through collaboration with the Education Technology Specialist, children learn to evaluate the relative merits of print and online sources to prepare them for a complex and diverse information landscape.

Author in Residence Book Week Literature Dress-Up Day Parent reading program (N–PK) Grade-specific interdisciplinary projects Adopt-a-Shelf program (4) iPad programs and technology integration Recipient of NEH and ALA Picturing America grant to promote democracy through art and literature Annual Parent Book Club in collaboration with the NPS counselors


Technology At National Presbyterian School, technology is used as a learning tool to enrich the core curriculum in all grades. While NPS is committed to preparing students for a future in our dynamic, information-based society, the School carefully considers the implications of technology use on the young brain. NPS thus chooses to enhance curriculum with technology in measured steps, allowing best practices in child development to dictate use, rather than current trends. Students in Second through Sixth Grade attend classes with the Education Technology Specialist to learn fundamental technology skills, which in turn are integrated into classroom activities throughout the day. Students learn proper research skills and abide by the acceptable use and safety policies when using computer equipment and the internet. Emphasis is placed on helping students become safe, ethical, and educated consumers of electronic media both within the School’s walls and beyond. Specific subject-related software and relevant internet websites reinforce concepts in language arts, math, science, social studies, Spanish, music, art, and drama.

Hardware and software: Technology Lab with Microsoft Surface Pros Makerbot Replicator 2x 3D Printer Glowforge 3D Laser Printer Apple TV in the Technology Lab

NPS students excel at: Navigating the Microsoft Office suite (e.g., Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Publisher) Mastering proper keyboarding techniques Practicing safe and responsible computer and internet use Applying technology skills in the general curriculum

Technology program highlights include: Mystery Skype sessions with classrooms across the country Global collaboration projects with classrooms around the world Digital Citizenship curriculum Curriculum-based maker projects Calculating weight of supplies on the Oregon Trail in Excel Designing travel brochures in Publisher

SMART Boards (1–6) SMART Table for pre-primary grades SMART response systems Education Technology Specialist is a SMART Notebook Certified Trainer Portable laptop cart One-to-one laptops (5–6) iPads with learning applications Photoshop Elements Timeliner XE software Dreambox subscriptions IXL subscriptions and Keyboarding Without Tears accounts for keyboard instruction Digital and video cameras

Creating charts and graphs to represent survey data in Excel Illustrating books in Microsoft Paint Creating self-portraits in Photoshop



Nursery MATHEMATICS Develop intuitive understanding of numbers through exploration, hands-on experiences, and games Explore numbers, including the concept of none and one-to-one correspondence Authentic integration of math concepts in everyday life Learn the language of math, including directional language Introduce patterns, colors, and shapes PRE -READING Actively engage in read-aloud activities including listening to stories and using different media such as books and felt board Repeating rhymes, poems, and songs to develop phonemic awareness Reading readiness through manipulation of sounds and association of sounds to letters Select books and explore independently

SOCIAL & GLOBAL STUDIES Theme—Diversity Among Us: I am Special, You are Special

LANGUAGE ARTS Dictate ideas and use drawings to share stories Develop fine motor skills for pre-writing foundation

Family sharing to broaden students’ understanding of the world SCIENCE

Tell stories through dramatic play Develop expressive language through “Show and Share”

Seasons and Weather Weather Water exploration Color mixing with paint and play dough Cooking HIGHLIGHTS Leader of the Day Sensory investigation Math centers Participating in school-wide events and celebrations First field trips Specials: Music, Library, PE, Drama


Sample Nursery Day 8:00 to 8:30 am Arrival 8:30 am Free Choice Teachers greet and guide children in putting their belongings away and choosing their next activity. Free time in a purposeful play environment helps children develop key academic and executive function skills. Activity choices relate to the classroom theme—a topic explored throughout the day for two weeks.

9:00 am Morning Meeting and Bathroom Time Morning meeting is a daily gathering with a consistent format for friendly greetings, sharing of news, and warming up for the day ahead. Activities include a discussion of attendance, weather and the calendar. Children choose the leader of the day through a process of elimination game and they conclude with a trip to the bathroom.

9:30 am Arts or Physical Education Children attend a Drama, Music or P.E. class, offering additional opportunities to move their bodies, develop gross motor skills, and express themselves in creative ways.

10:00 am Investigation and Exploration Teachers introduce ideas related to the core themes and subject areas with activities such as nature walks, cooking projects, and building. They then guide students

10:45 am Literacy While literacy is woven throughout the day, this dedicated time includes reading and telling stories, rhyming games, and literacy movement activities with music.

11:15 am Recess Recess is a critical time outside to exercise, navigate social dynamics, and prepare their minds and bodies for further classroom learning.

11:50 am Departure or Lunch Half-day students are escorted to their caretaker for pick up. Those staying the full day take a bathroom break and eat lunch in the classroom. Children may bring lunch from home or participate in the Hot Lunch Program, pre-plated for Nursery students.

1:00 pm Rest time Children lie down to soft music with a blanket and stuffed animal brought from home. This is a much needed time to decompress after a busy day.

2:00 pm Story, Bathroom, Snack and Recess As children rise from their nap, teachers read a story, children take a bathroom break and eat another NPS provided snack before heading outside.

in a project involving open-ended exploration and

2:45 pm Closing Circle


Time to gather as a classroom community to read a book and share reflections of the day.

10:30 Snack NPS provides a healthy snack in the classroom, and when

3:15 pm Departure

finished, teachers open the divider wall allowing children to play in either of the two Nursery classrooms



Pre-Kindergarten MATHEMATICS


Recognize and read numbers 0–10

Theme—Diversity in Our School

Count forwards to and backwards from 20

Conducting interviews and making projects with

Recognize, create, reproduce and extend simple patterns Interpret data with simple bar graphs and yes/no tables Identify 2D shapes (circle, square and triangle) Compare objects by size, weight, height and length

school community members to broaden students’ understanding of the world SCIENCE Temperature

PRE -READING Handle books appropriately and respectfully Identify the beginning, middle and end of stories Explore literature through read-alouds and parent reading Reading readiness through manipulation of sounds and association of sounds to letters LANGUAGE ARTS Use symbols and drawings to represent ideas Dictate stories and captions for pictures in journals Identify upper and lower case letters Fine motor skill development


Five senses Magnets Polar animals Insects HIGHLIGHTS Third Grade buddies Using the full playground Specials: Music, Library, PE, Drama, Spanish

Sample Pre-Kindergarten Day 8:00 to 8:30 am Arrival 8:30 am Free Choice Upon entry, children put away their belongings and answer the question of the day associated with the week’s letter study. Free time in a purposeful play environment helps children develop key academic and executive function skills. Activity choices often include games that reinforce literacy, math and fine motor skills.

9:00 am Morning Meeting Morning meeting is a daily gathering with a consistent format for friendly greetings, sharing of news, and warming up for the day ahead. Activities include a review of the morning message, discussion of the question of the day, and calendar work.

9:30 am Arts or Physical Education Children attend a Drama, Music or P.E. class, offering additional opportunities to move their bodies, develop gross motor skills, and express themselves in creative ways.

10:00 am Math and Science The teacher leads a whole-group lesson for 5 to 10 minutes followed by small group or individual hands-on activities and games to explore and reinforce the concept using manipulatives and other instructional tools.

10:30 am Snack NPS provides a healthy morning snack.

11:00 am Literacy Pre-Kindergarteners engage in activities to enhance emerging reading skills. With a focus on building phonemic awareness, teachers read aloud throughout the day, and during literacy time lead multi-sensory

11:30 am Recess For Pre-Kindergarten, this is a critical time outside to exercise, navigate social dynamics and prepare their minds and bodies for further classroom learning.

12:00 pm Departure or Lunch Half-day students are escorted to their caretaker for pick up. Those staying the full day eat lunch in the classroom. Children may bring lunch from home or participate in the Hot Lunch Program, pre-plated for Pre-Kindergarteners.

12:30 pm Quiet Choice Time Children wind down in preparation for rest time. Activity choices include books, puzzles or other quiet, independent activities.

1:00 pm Read Aloud This is another opportunity to foster a love of reading through literature. When reading aloud, teachers engage students in language-rich stories while revisiting curricular concepts.

1:15 pm Rest Time Children lie down to soft music with a blanket and stuffed animal brought from home. This is a much needed time to decompress after a busy day.

1:45 pm Pack Up Students put rest items away and pack up their red bags to prepare for dismissal.

2:00 pm Closing Circle, Music and Movement The class gathers to share reflections of the day and play singing and movement games reinforcing concepts and connections.

activities—such as letter hunts and rhyming games—

2:30 pm Recess

connected to the weekly letter study.

The second recess is an opportunity to move and engage with classmates before departure.

3:15 pm Departure



Kindergarten MATHEMATICS Develop intuitive understanding of number sense Count to 100 Read and recognize numbers to 50 Skip count by 2s, 5s, and 10s 2D and 3D shapes Solve addition and subtraction problems Organize and analyze data on charts and graphs READING Reinforce letter sound recognition Introduce decoding skills and sight words Read books with predictable patterns and vocabulary Reading Workshop Zoophonics LANGUAGE ARTS

HIGHLIGHTS Fourth Grade buddies

Learn to print: Handwriting Without Tears

Living nativity in the Christmas pageant

Use letters to represent sounds in writing

Class mascot Wishie

Write words and sentences

Specials: Music, Art, Spanish, Library, PE, Drama

Journal writing, class books Word Wall for sight words Writing Workshop SOCIAL & GLOBAL STUDIES Theme—Diversity in Our School and on Our Church Campus Exploration of our campus to broaden students’ understanding of the world Historical figures associated with holidays SCIENCE Trees and sustainability: growing acorns; adopting a class tree Fabric: weaving Wood


FIELD TRIPS Apple picking Maple syrup tapping Nature walks

Sample Kindergarten Day 8:00 to 8:30 am Arrival 8:30 am Free Choice Free time in a purposeful play environment remains important to Kindergarteners, helping them to develop key academic and executive function skills.

9:00 am Morning Meeting Morning meeting is a daily gathering with a consistent format for friendly greetings, sharing of news, and warming up for the day ahead. Components include a written morning message that reinforces instruction in sight words and phonemic awareness. Students also answer a question of the day where every student’s input is displayed in a different type of graph each month.

11:20 am Recess The second recess is much needed after a busy time in the classroom.

11:45 am Lunch Children may bring lunch from home or participate in the Hot Lunch Program in which Kindergarteners make their own choices with adult guidance in the lunch service room.

12:15 pm Quiet Time Children decompress by napping or engaging in a quiet activity such as reading or coloring.

12:45 pm Arts or Physical Education Children attend a Drama, Music or P.E. class,

9:20 am Math The teacher leads a whole-group lesson for 5 to 10 minutes followed by small group or individual hands-on activities and games to explore and reinforce the concept using manipulatives and other instructional tools.

offering additional opportunities to move their bodies, develop gross motor skills, and express themselves in creative ways.

1:30 pm Science In their study of science, students engage in hands-on

9:50 am Snack NPS provides a healthy morning snack.

10:00 am Recess The first of three recesses for Kindergarten, this is a critical time outside to exercise, navigate social dynamics and prepare their minds and bodies for further classroom learning.

10:30 am Literacy Kindergarten reading takes a range of forms which includes using pictures to tell a story, creating and telling their own stories and independent reading of text. Teachers begin with a short whole class lesson followed

experiences exploring Trees, Wood, and Fabric, learning to use their senses to observe and explore questions about everyday items.

2:00 pm Spanish Students engage in the study of Spanish language and culture. The teacher lays the foundation for an immersive experience in the classroom.

2:30 pm Recess and Pack Up More time to move and bring closure to an active, enriching day.

3:15 pm Departure

by small group or independent reading activities. In addition to developing emerging reading skills, children learn to write letters and write narratives with a beginning, middle and end.



Kindergarten–Sixth Grade Subject Frequency per 6-Day Cycle The chart below includes the minimum number of times a subject area is taught during the course of a 6-day cycle. Teachers frequently collaborate on projects across the curriculum to further enrich and integrate the NPS program. In Nursery and Pre-Kindergarten, reading, language arts, math, social studies, and science are integrated throughout daily classroom activities. Our youngest students are instructed by specialists in physical education, music, drama, art, library, and Spanish (PK only) on a weekly basis.








Reading & Language Arts


6 6 6 6 6 6



6 6 6 6 6 6

Social Studies


2 2 3 5 4 4

Science 2 2 2 3 3 4 4 Physical Education


3 3 2 2 2 2



3 3 3 3 3 3


2 2 3 3 3 3



1 1 1 1 2 2



1 1 1 1 1 1


1 2 2 2 3 3



Religious Studies

1 1 1 1 1


1 1 2 1 1




Place value to 100

Fifth Grade buddies

Identify patterns on the hundreds chart

Building Tenleytown with blocks

Addition and subtraction facts to 20

Publishing party

US coins and their values

Building roller coasters

Time to the hour and half hour

Leading Lower Division Chapel

2D and 3D shapes

Specials: Music, Art, Spanish, Library, PE, Drama



Reading Workshop and Guided Reading Groups

Smithsonian Discovery Theater

Individualization based on reading level and interest

Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

Letter-to-sound correspondence

Tenleytown walks

Basic and advanced phonetic code

American University Katzen Arts Center

Decode one-syllable words

Visit from Reptiles Alive!

Expand sight word recognition and story elements LANGUAGE ARTS Learn to print: Handwriting Without Tears Word families and word study End punctuation and capital letters Writing Workshop SOCIAL & GLOBAL STUDIES Theme—Diversity Within Our Neighborhood: Tenleytown Exploration of the neighborhood and mapping to broaden students’ understanding of our world SCIENCE Air and Weather Balance and Motion Plants and Living Things Reptiles



Second Grade MATHEMATICS Place value to 1,000 Addition and subtraction facts through 20 2-digit addition and subtraction Telling time to 5 minute increments Measure length in standard and metric units Project Units: Ages and Timeline, Measuring for the Art Show Dreambox online math program READING Reading Workshop Exploration of character development Non-fiction reading and research Book clubs Year-long study of different literary genres Oral biography book report Reader’s Theater fluency practice Focused phonics instruction LANGUAGE ARTS Writing Workshop: narrative, informational, poetry, and opinion writing

HOMEWORK Four nights a week: 20 minutes Independent reading HIGHLIGHTS Sixth Grade buddies

Parts of speech

Hatching butterflies and other insects

Paragraph introduction

Emergency Preparedness Project

Writing celebrations

Authors’ Tea


Snazzy Snack Polar Express Day

Theme—Communities and the Washington, DC Experience

Dinosaur Dig Day


Specials: Music, Art, Spanish, Library, PE, Technology,

Geography and Map Skills

Drama, Religious Studies



Solids and Liquids

National Building Museum


Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Fossils, Rocks, and Dinosaurs

Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Visits from Japan in a Suitcase and the Insect Lady





Place value to the ten thousands

Four nights a week: 30 minutes

Multi-digit addition and subtraction

Independent reading

Multiplication and division facts and concepts Interpret data using maximum, minimum, and range


2D geometry and measurement

Pre-Kindergarten buddies

Introduction of fraction concepts

Ringing the school bell


Playing the soprano recorder Attending science class in the science lab

Reading Workshop and Guided Reading Groups

Native American Independent Learning Day

Story elements and character analysis

The T-Shirt Factory Project

Reader’s Theater

Curriculum-based Reader’s Theater project

Book reports

Specials: Music, Art, Science, Spanish, Library, PE,

Genre study: non-fiction, realistic fiction, and poetry

Technology, Drama, Religious Studies



Writing Workshop: personal narratives, informational writing,

National Museum of the American Indian

persuasive writing

Historic St. Mary’s City, MD

Letter and journal writing

Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

Mastery of the sentence: punctuation and capitalization,

Locust Grove Nature Center

fragments and run-ons, types of sentences Grammar Introduction to cursive handwriting SOCIAL & GLOBAL STUDIES Theme—Environmental Sustainability: Native Americans and Early Settlers Early settlements: Roanoke, Jamestown, Plymouth, and first 13 American colonies Native Americans Map skills Research skills SCIENCE Properties of Water Measuring Matter Physics of Light and Sound Structures of Life



Fourth Grade MATHEMATICS Place value to the millions and thousandths Multiplication and division facts through 10 Multi-digit multiplication and division Fractions and decimals Geometry Pre-Algebra: Hands-On Equations Problem solving with real world application Measurement READING Reading Workshop and Guided Reading Groups Comprehension strategy instruction Character development Novel studies

SCIENCE Soil, Rocks, and Landforms Energy and Electromagnetism Human Body

Author study: Roald Dahl Genre study: tall tales Examining perspectives through historical fiction Nonfiction reading strategies LANGUAGE ARTS Writing Workshop: research report, biographies, personal narratives, perspective writing, poetry Mastery of the paragraph: topic sentence, supporting details, closing sentence Weekly spelling, vocabulary, grammar and handwriting assignments SOCIAL & GLOBAL STUDIES Theme—Finding Your Voice: Democracy in Action Early American history: Colonial times to the Civil War US geography

HOMEWORK Four nights a week: 40 minutes Independent reading HIGHLIGHTS Kindergarten buddies Student-led portfolio conferences Chorus Jazz Musical Mentor program with NPS faculty and staff Interscholastic sports Specials: Music, Art, Science, Spanish, Library, PE, Technology, Drama, Religious Studies FIELD TRIPS

US government and civics

Tudor Place

Evaluating primary and secondary sources

Mount Vernon

Note taking

National Mall & US Branches of Government

Pioneers simulation: examining westward travel through

Claude Moore Colonial Farm

teamwork, decision making, and risk assessment Culture study of Kenya

Smithsonian Forensic Lab National Portrait Gallery Calleva Outdoor Adventure




Divisibility rules and factorization


Addition, subtraction, multiplication and division


of whole numbers, fractions and decimals


Analyze data using statistical landmarks Measure and classify angles Identify and graph points on a coordinate grid Million Dollar Project Pre-Algebra: Hands-On Equations

HOMEWORK Five nights a week: 50 minutes Independent reading

Fraction concepts



First Grade buddies

Reading Workshop Comprehension strategy instruction: prediction, inferences, and summarization Independent reading Maroo of the Winter Caves, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, Favorite Greek Myths, A Long Walk to Water Author study: Avi Genre study: Greek myths LANGUAGE ARTS Writing Workshop Mastery of the 3-paragraph essay Weekly spelling, vocabulary, grammar and handwriting assignments Culminating interdisciplinary research projects:

Student-led portfolio conferences Overnight environmental education and adventure program Interscholastic sports teams Writing for The Nebraska Avenue Times Student Council Shakespeare performance Handbell choir, chorus, and the spring musical Service learning project related to homelessness Specials: Music, Art, Science, Spanish, Library, PE, Technology, Drama, Religious Studies FIELD TRIPS The Walters Art Museum Washington Hebrew Congregation Islamic Mosque and Cultural Center

ancient civilization travel brochures, ancient Greek alphabet books, Roman newspaper SOCIAL & GLOBAL STUDIES Theme—Migration: Then and Now Prehistoric life, Mesopotamia and the Fertile Crescent Ancient Egypt and ancient Greece Roman Empire Geography



Sixth Grade: A Capstone Year In their capstone year at NPS, Sixth Grade students bring together knowledge and skills from previous years and push themselves to new levels as the leaders of the School. A major emphasis in this year is the importance of perspective-taking in order to understand themselves, others, and the world in a more nuanced and empathetic way. Experiences like the Living Museum, group research projects on global issues, and the business simulation give students the opportunity to expand their thinking beyond their own experiences and to practice the important work of engaging with their own values, beliefs, and assumptions. Students also have numerous opportunities to become involved as a leader in the school from their roles as Chapel leader, Core Cardinal or student council member, or as a role model to their Second Grade buddies; NPS Sixth Graders are encouraged to look for ways to include others and model leadership for the rest of the school. Sixth Graders continue to build


a strong academic foundation that will carry them

Pre-algebraic concepts and algebraic equations

successfully into their lives after NPS, but they are also

Proportion, rate, and ratio problems

pushed to be independent and flexible thinkers through

Analyze and summarize real-world data

Writing Workshop, book clubs, and problem-based

and statistics in conjunction with science

learning. Students also continue to focus on their

Business Simulation

understanding of their own social and emotional

Integration of traditional algorithms

selves during this time of transition to middle school.

Emphasis on real world application of problem solving skills READING Reading Workshop and Literature Circles Genre, figurative language, point of view, tone, theme Esperanza Rising, The Giver, March Trilogy Nonfiction texts and note taking skills Stories that emphasize a broadening of perspective




Writing Workshop

Five nights a week: 60–90 minutes

Mastery of the 5-paragraph essay

Independent reading

Word study, vocabulary, and grammar assignments Greek and Latin roots-based vocabulary and grammar study


Literary character monologue project

Second Grade buddies

Oral presentations and public speaking

Leading Chapel and assemblies

SOCIAL & GLOBAL STUDIES Theme—Global Citizenship: World Geography, Cultures, and Current Events

Living Museum Monologue Project Visits from families to discuss immigration experiences Hosting Open House tours Overnight environmental education and adventure program

World Geography: Asia, South America, Africa

Interscholastic sports teams

Discussions of current events: geopolitical,

Group and individual research projects

economic, and social SCIENCE Weather on Earth Robotics Cellular Biology and Diversity of Life

Student Council Handbell choir, chorus and the spring musical Specials: Music, Art, Science, Spanish, Library, PE, Technology, Drama, Ethics FIELD TRIPS National Portrait Gallery Sackler Gallery National Museum of African Art Newseum



National Presbyterian School 4121 Nebraska Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20016

National Presbyterian School Curriculum Guide 2018-2019  

Our School and Curriculum: a publication of National Presbyterian School, an independent elementary school in Washington, DC

National Presbyterian School Curriculum Guide 2018-2019  

Our School and Curriculum: a publication of National Presbyterian School, an independent elementary school in Washington, DC