Reading skills are taught in a rich learning environment. We begin with the youngest students by teaching them the individual speech sounds.
As the children continue to emerge as readers, they are introduced to exciting vocabulary and begin to work towards developing phonics skills and comprehension.
As the students move into kindergarten and the grades, their reading experiences are varied and encompass many different types of text, using both well-known and innovative curricula, and sharing published literature within each classroom. Because of the structure of our program, the team teaching, and the systematic curriculum, the students build success as readers as they progress through Country Day.
Math is often taught as "all scales and no music", but at Country Day, the math program encourages children to learn the "scales" and to appreciate the "music". From the earliest numerical experiences, the students move toward developing logical reasoning skills through problem solving and concept development. As they do so, they discover how elementary math skills are connected to their world and how they can apply them in their daily lives. The students are enthusiastic about math class because they get the opportunity to play games, explore problems with classmates, and build confidence with mathematical concepts.
The Master Instructor of Mathematics collaborates with the classroom teachers to plan and implement lessons. This affords the flexibility to work in small, differentiated groups and to offer a wide variety of experiences.
Capitalizing on the benefits of having two teachers, the school is also able to provide remediation, extra practice, or enrichment according to each child’s needs. With a Master Instructor who works with each class and each teacher year after year, the math curriculum provides continuity and builds logically and sequentially among the grades. By the time they graduate from fifth grade, Country Day students have a strong foundation in number operations, computation, data analysis, measurement, geometry, and algebraic thinking. Best of all, perhaps, is that the children emerge into middle school filled with a curiosity and enthusiasm for mathematics.
Country Day is filled with stimulating activities in our spacious science lab. Students engage in hands-on explorations of various areas from earth, life and physical sciences. Each lesson begins with a question and the students explore the answer through observations, role-playing, model-making, demonstrations and experimentations.
Students have a chance to carefully observe ordinary phenomena with fresh and curious eyes. Inferential thinking skills are built through the process of questioning and recognizing patterns to build connections. The language of science is constantly developed and reinforced through class discussions, in drawing and writing, and the organization of information in diagrams and charts. Children work cooperatively on various projects and learn what it takes to be a part of a team to accomplish a task.
Environmental education is an important part of the curriculum. A few steps outside the science lab is our outdoor classroom. Surrounding woods and fields and a nearby stream provide the school with a “living textbook” full of wondrous chapters to explore. Students participate in many walks through the school grounds and hikes in the woods to learn about the natural world. They also have opportunities to freely explore the ever-changing science lab exhibits in the classroom. The hands-on exhibits include living animals, animal mounts on loan from the Carnegie Museum, nature displays, animal puppets, building activities and other exciting activities.
Our science program is stimulating, full of explorations and discovery, and unique because of the many opportunities to take advantage of the beautiful outside campus.
The language arts are central to all learning. The overall purpose of the curriculum is to guide the continuous growth and development of thinking and language abilities from junior pre-kindergarten through fifth grade. This focus enables students to understand and appreciate language and to use it in a variety of situations for communication, personal satisfaction, and learning.
The aim of the program is to ensure that FCCDS students, upon leaving the fifth grade, are competent and confident in using language for functional and aesthetic purposes.
The social studies curriculum at Fox Chapel Country Day School is designed to give students knowledge and an appreciation for the physical and cultural world around them. It is also designed to promote self-esteem and confidence as children learn more about who they are and how they connect to the past, the present, and the future. They learn about how their individuality enables them to exert positive influences on the world around them.
Cultural and individual diversity is celebrated and encouraged at each grade level. Different cultures are introduced in each grade as students are taught that diversity is a natural and positive element of their environment. They learn that each group of people is unique and that heritage and environment play major roles in how people meet their needs and wants.
In addition to learning about how people live, the students learn about the importance of geography and how it factors into the bigger picture. As they move through the grades, students gain a broad foundation in their knowledge of cities, states, countries, continents, and bodies of water and how they impact people’s lives.
The curriculum also aims to promote an awareness that the world continues to need young people to understand, analyze, evaluate, and create new ideas.