Learning at the Primary School
Faculty inspire students’ love of learning and foster their limitless potential by designing classrooms where students are encouraged to explore ideas, value creative expression and take risks. Students develop both academic and social/emotional skills as they grow, achieve and thrive as lifelong learners.
To view an interactive version of the Curriculum Guide, click here.
To download a PDF of the Curriculum Guide, click here.
At MKA, we learn by asking many questions because we are curious!
- A kindergarten student
Student-centered classrooms buzz with energy as small groups and pairs of students work together to share, collaborate, create and solve problems. In a Reggio Emilia-inspired early childhood program, students’ ideas and questions shape their dynamic explorations, providing the foundation for their learning throughout the Primary School. Students develop their voices and explore their interests and passions through the choices they make—in their home classrooms and their encore subject classrooms.
Beginning in kindergarten, reading, writing and math workshops are punctuated by quiet learning times, when students concentrate on their individual work to develop skills, make novel connections, write with purpose and prepare to share their thinking with others. Teachers confer with, support and challenge students, not only to help them reach academic goals, but also to stretch them as learners.
Classrooms are designed as spaces to think, reflect, collaborate and explore. Each room invites students into a print-rich learning environment, where student work is prominently displayed, student work spaces are organized in groups and a gathering area (“on the rug”) provides a defined community space.
Students use a variety of resources to support and expand their learning. They research and better explain their thinking with the aid of iPads and laptops, experiment and consolidate concepts with manipulatives, easily browse and access a wide variety of reading choices thanks to the classroom library, create imaginary communities with stones on the playground and even enhance their thinking and their friendships through conversations with peers.
Primary School classroom teachers are elementary education specialists, who understand and celebrate the academic and social/emotional growth of the young learner. They are also advisors, who see students for much of the day and establish close relationships with them (and their parents) that honor the uniqueness of the individual. Our teachers truly know their students and understand each one’s interests, strengths and challenges—building magical learning partnerships.
Our encore teachers are specialists in their fields (science, world language, physical education, library, dance, music and visual arts) and bring professional expertise and personal passion for their craft. Because they teach all grade levels, encore teachers maintain relationships with students throughout their Primary School years and oversee each student’s growth over time. With their teachers’ support and guidance, students become confident, independent learners who take risks and accept challenges.
All Primary School teachers value their own growth as professionals just as they value the growth of their students. They continually refer to current research on best practices in teaching and learning and to patterns in their students’ learning to inform curricular and instructional decisions.
The daily schedule of the Primary School comprises a broad range of enriching, developmentally appropriate experiences and intentionally reflects students’ developmental needs and attention spans. Students spend most of their day in their grade-level classroom, where the day begins with a Morning Meeting, rooted in the Responsive Classroom approach. Routines and teaching points included in Morning Meeting help to establish a strong classroom community, built on mutual respect and care.
Students travel from their home classrooms to encore classes (in science, world language, physical education, library, dance, music and visual arts), which provide a change of pace and opportunities to move. Morning snack, lunch and recesses are scheduled at intervals to provide students with time to socialize and choose their activities.
of Primary School students learn a world language and develop excellent accents.
of Primary School students have fun thinking in computer code each year.
of students in grades K-3 participate in a class play, including designing their own sets.
of Pre-K students participate in service-learning activities with the mentoring of their third-grade buddies.
of students in grades K—3 research and share their findings on a topic of their choice.