Children learn best by doing. Experiencing learning through a wide variety of activities is the focus of our elementary program. When young students learn this way, they make deep connections to concepts and better understand the world around them. Our relational class environments have a 6:1 student-teacher ratio, ensuring each individual is seen, heard, encouraged, and challenged.
Kindergarten is foundational to a child’s educational journey. Our experienced, licensed educators create an environment that feels like play, but is actually building foundational skills and promoting a culture of lifelong learning. Our first and second-grade students continue building upon their skills through developmentally-appropriate methodologies and pedagogy. Students participate in hands-on learning that involves critical thinking, resilience, and cooperation.
Students in Grades 3-5 transition from “learning to read” to “reading to learn.” At this level, students are more independent, better able to understand concepts, and can begin to make deeper connections with people and ideas. Project-based learning and hands-on activities make learning engaging and relevant.
English Language Arts (ELA)
Reading & Writing
Kindergarten early literacy instruction features the development of key literacy skills and behaviors as students process engaging texts and become immersed in examples of powerful writing. Our elementary school Reading and Writing Workshop is structured to teach reading, writing, and comprehension as an active, student-centered process. Our literacy program is dedicated to fostering a lifelong love of books, reading, and written expression. This program is shaped by student-driven interests, projects, and presentations that motivate both individual and group learning. Students develop their skills through rich, literature-based activities in reading, writing, listening, and speaking.
During Word Study, kindergarten students are taught proper letter formation through formal handwriting instruction and learn to recognize the alphabet, individual sounds and words, letter/sound relationships, and spelling patterns using a research-based approach to instruction. Word Study in Grades 1-5 integrates phonemic awareness, phonics, spelling, and vocabulary instruction in one comprehensive program with grammar beginning in first grade. This challenging curriculum component teaches students how to look closely at written language to discover patterns of spelling rules and generalizations while learning the meaning of words.
Math at the kindergarten level is designed to foster problem-solving skills. During Math Workshop, students are engaged in calendar math, which introduces the concepts of geometry, measurement, time, money, and graphing. These concepts lay a strong foundation for the understanding and development of number sense. This hands-on approach, through the use of manipulatives, helps students to understand the concepts of order, numeration, patterning, estimation, and classification. In Grades 1-5, students develop a deeper understanding of math as well as powerful, lifelong habits of mind such as perseverance, creative thinking, and the ability to express and defend their reasoning.
Kindergarten students are encouraged to ask questions, make predictions, and draw conclusions about their surrounding world. Using hands-on activities, the elementary school science curriculum gives students the opportunity to apply scientific and engineering practices to address local and global challenges. Through investigative labs, students transition from teacher-directed inquiry to more independent activities, where they test hypotheses, make observations, and collect and interpret data.
The elementary school social studies curriculum focuses on collaboration and cross-curricular integration activities to encourage students to discuss social studies topics. Kindergarten students explore topics such as community, citizenship, historical figures, holidays, and culture in social studies. Students in Grades 1-5 learn about American history, geography, economics, civics, and government with a focus on the traits of a responsible citizen. Our interdisciplinary approach provides students with the opportunity to make connections between what they are learning in class and the world around them. Students are given opportunities to ask and investigate authentic questions about historical and current events so they can become independent thinkers and problem solvers.
Students learn about God and interact with His Word each day by reading the Bible, singing songs and praying. Each month, students learn heart words and Bible passages, which promote a deeper understanding and appreciation of God’s Word. Combining Biblical worldview and Bible survey, Homeroom Shepherds guide students through the concepts of creation, fall, redemption, and restoration.
World Language & Culture
Students develop conversational skills and cultural appreciation by learning about art, architecture, history, games, and food from around the world in World Language and Culture. Through the exploration of different religions and cultures, students develop a broader worldview and learn to value all people as image-bearers of God.
The aim of Art at OCS is to foster creativity through a variety of experiences. Through practice and observation, students learn the formal principles of art and how to implement them. Students also discover visual arts and learn about drawing and painting techniques, collage, clay and pottery design, recycled art and sculpture, weaving, and art history and appreciation.
Music at OCS encourages students to learn musical skills through listening, moving, singing, playing, creating, and performing. Exploration of different rhythms, tones, melodies, harmonies, and timbres encourages creativity and higher-level thinking skills.
Students learn about responsibility for physical wellness through physical education at OCS. The curriculum includes activities designed to improve skills, knowledge, and attitudes regarding total wellness.
In the elementary grades, each student is paired with a Homeroom Shepherd, a faculty member dedicated to their holistic development. Homeroom Shepherds steward the social, emotional, and spiritual growth of our students. This role is designed to support, nurture and inspire students to develop habits of mind, a foundation of scripture, habits of prayer, and a love for God. Homeroom Shepherds also partner with educators to help individualize learning and meet the educational needs of each student.