The Nelson Elementary School Curriculum

Instruction at Nelson School is delivered in small multi-grade classrooms. Within each classroom students learn through one-on-ones, small and large groups, partner work and differentiated instruction. Beyond the classroom structure, students participate in weekly all-school learning experiences that include all-school sings, family-style lunches, multi-age recess, assemblies, multi-age community service, and whole school projects. The tenets of the Responsive Classroom are the backbone of our philosophy and guide our instruction in the areas of reading, integrated language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, and the integrated arts. Technology is woven into all aspects of the curriculum.

ceilingdance.jpgNelson School nurtures students to become life-long readers and to view reading as part of their everyday life. This is accomplished through literature based classroom instruction and daily family/home reading. With reading being one of the most important foundation skills, it is integrated into all content areas.

The Nelson School staff has been implementing Everyday Mathematics as its core math curriculum for over sixteen years. This program provides students with a strong math vocabulary and problem solving skills. Each year our students score consistently high on the NECAP math test and go on to experience success as they transition to Keene Middle School.

Three science units per year are taught in each multi-grade classroom. These units operate on a two-year rotation, ensuring that each student is exposed to each unit twice during their seven years with us. Nelson School has had a partnership with the Harris Center for Conservation in neighboring Hancock, New Hampshire. Each classroom participates in an annual six-visit residency tied directly to one of their science units. Students in the fifth and sixth grade, participate in a week-long residential Ecology Camp experience at Ferry Beach Ecology School in Saco, Maine. Students in grades 3-6 participate in a Science Fair designed to create and provide students with opportunities to acquire the knowledge and methodology of the scientific process. Being an environmentally conscious school, we have an all-school recycling program.

Social Studies is offered at all grade levels. In kindergarten through second grade, the focus is self, family, school community, and local community helpers. During the third and fourth grade years, the focus shifts to Nelson history and New Hampshire history. In their fifth and sixth grade years, students expand their knowledge of United States history and geography and expand their knowledge of other countries and ancient civilizations.

Nelson School's Music ProgramThe music program at Nelson School consists of weekly music classes for all grades, a weekly all-school sing, as well as after-school band and strings programs. What is unique at Nelson is the remarkably strong singing culture, lively folk dance at all school gatherings which strengthens our school community, and the effective use of instruments for instruction and performance.

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