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The Upper Elementary program is a two-year program designed to transition students from the Montessori classroom to the innovative, progressive education in the Upper School. These 4th and 5th grade students are engaged in interdisciplinary, personalized learning with an emphasis on Math and English. In understanding the unique developmental stage of this age group, social-emotional learning is infused in the curriculum, fostering the growth of the whole child.

Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember.
Involve me and I learn.

Benjamin Franklin

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Spaces that Inspire

The open, innovative design of the building and classrooms builds upon the open environment of the Montessori classroom and mirrors the innovation of the middle school learning spaces. In addition to helping students feel comfortable and secure in their environment, this allows for ongoing collaboration among teachers and students throughout the
school day.

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Master Teachers

The UE teaching team is composed of dedicated teachers who are experts in their fields of study. Having the same teachers for two years provides for a seamless transition from fourth to fifth grade, as well as allows for an effective, productive relationship between teacher and student. Working collaboratively, the teaching team nurtures and inspires the students while preparing them for the rigor of middle school.

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Mathematics Made Meaningful

The Upper Elementary Math program seeks to use mathematics to explain the world around us. Students experience a personalized approach to learning by incorporating mastery-based practices and intervention strategies. The use of hands-on materials helps students connect the concrete concepts to higher level abstract thinking. By presenting concepts in a variety of ways, students make meaningful connections to the real world while developing their problem-solving skills.


Multisensory English Studies

Language is the basis for all communication, allowing humans to broaden their thinking and connect to the world. The Upper Elementary English program is a literature based reading and writing program designed to create a love of reading and expression through oral and written language. Students acquire a formal understanding and execution of the English language that we read, speak, and write. Through a variety of genres, students are exposed to rich literature, providing the opportunity to strengthen their vocabulary and comprehension skills. Students respond to their reading through oral and written expression. Lessons on Morphology provide students the tools needed to read and understand complex words and text. The students are engaged in rich, multisensory lessons, which foster critical thinking while strengthening reading, vocabulary, grammar, morphology, and writing skills. 


Historical Connections

Fourth and fifth grade Humanities offers students the chance to explore and analyze important historical figures, art, literature, music, and events related to Florida and World History. Historical inquiry and analysis, chronological thinking, geography, economics, as well as civics and government concepts infuse a curriculum that fosters critical thinking while strengthening reading, writing, public speaking, and research skills. Students are encouraged to use their creativity and to utilize technology to understand the lives, practices, and struggles of other humans, first throughout Florida history, then eventually the history of other humans around the world; helping them to develop a broader perspective and a sense of belonging to the global community. 

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Exploratory Sciences

The interdisciplinary approach to science in Upper Elementary exposes students to key concepts in life, physical, earth, space, and environmental sciences. Each unit focuses on mastery of key learning goals that provide the foundation for the high school level courses in our middle school. Students explore concepts such as composition of matter, interactions in ecosystems and the human body through a hands-on, inquiry based approach. Life science concepts are anchored in animal science for a truly experiential curriculum. Through labs, projects and collaboration, students learn to truly think like a scientist.


Multiple World Languages

Upper Elementary students continue their learning of both Spanish and Mandarin Chinese. Students begin to transition from engaging with each language 1-2x a week in Primary/Lower Elementary to a daily rotation between the two languages. Students aim to build a strong vocabulary while integrating basic grammar, isolated structures, and verb conjugations. In order to help students make meaningful connections between the two languages, students study related vocabulary in Chinese while expanding their toolbox of Chinese characters.


STEM & Technology

The Upper Elementary program is 1:1 iPad, where technology is used as a tool for learning. Technology in the classroom prepares students for productive engagement with an increasingly digital society, including researching, creating, and communicating. STEM enrichment courses build on the core concepts of math and science, connecting engineering and computer science principles.


Comprehensive Arts Programs

The well rounded, comprehensive education of the Upper Elementary program is enhanced by the arts enrichment program. Students continue studies in visual arts and music from Lower Elementary and add performing arts as a discrete course. Driven by a curriculum that includes techniques in acting, singing, movement, improvisation, scene development, and production principles, the addition of performing arts instills confidence in public speaking and effective communication skills.


Athletics and Physical Education

Upper School students participate in PE daily, with flexibility during that time to ride at CDS Equestrian. The PE curriculum focuses on the development of teamwork, collaboration, and athletic skills. The interscholastic athletic department offers both boys and girls volleyball, soccer, basketball, and football beginning in 5th grade.

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Academic and Personal Support

Upper Elementary faculty serve as mentors and guides to students in their personal and academic growth. Students are assigned an academic advisor for their two years in the UE program. This student-teacher relationship provides tailored support as children move from the Montessori environment to the preparatory nature of the Upper Elementary program. The advisor also plays an important role in parent communication as students grow into adolescents ready for middle school.

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Whole Child Development

Development of social emotional, critical thinking and executive functioning skills are incorporated across the curriculum. As children become adolescents, teachers are cognizant of nurturing and developing the whole child. The Four Pillars of Wellbeing, mindfulness, community, self-curiosity, and contentment & balance, guide social emotional curriculum and development. Drawing literary conclusions in English, making real world connections in math, collecting data in science and analyzing historical perspectives all compose the World School hidden curriculum, in which each learning experience is curated to develop the early adolescent brain.

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