Elementary: Grades 2-5
Recognizing the unique interests and developmental levels of each child, we strive to build solid academic, aesthetic, social, and spiritual foundations. Children are actively involved in:
- Academic learning
- Technology exploration and application
- Science investigation
- Conversational French
- Music appreciation and performance
- Physical activity
- Integrated art/classics program
Our uniquely small class size contributes to our success in providing appropriate instruction to meet the interests and developmental levels of our students.
Subject specialists teach core subjects (Reading, Writing, Math, and Social Studies). Students travel by grade level for instruction with specialists in each discipline. When students enter the specialist’s classroom, they become immersed in the subject and are instructed by teachers with a deep commitment to both content knowledge and pedagogical knowledge. Active inquiry and problem solving, in addition to skill and knowledge acquisition, are integral components of our programs
Enhanced academic programs provide both rigor and support.
- All disciplines draw on the strength of the language foundation: separating language arts into two specialized parts (reading and writing) gives students stronger fundamentals in both areas and better preparation for advanced coursework.
- The mathematics specialist has the subject expertise and understanding of developmental learning to help each student become proficient with math skills, procedures, concepts, and problem solving.
Thematic Units and organizing questions spark student engagement, guide inquiry and learning, and provide the mental glue and reinforcement for increased retention. Cross curricular themes (reading, writing, social studies and other classes when relevant) help students make meaningful connections, identify patterns, and make and explain inferences across disciplines.
Mixed-grade homerooms encourage self-discovery, social development, and leadership opportunities. Starting and ending the day in homeroom, students enjoy opportunities to share exemplary work, build friendships, and develop an appreciation of their unique personal qualities and contributions of others.
Special subject programs in art, music, science, French, Latin (grade 5), religion, world religions, and physical education enrich the core curriculum.
Weekly trips to the Enoch Pratt library promote reading as a life long habit and extend our dedication to develop in each student an appreciation of the independence, power, and pleasure brought about by competence in reading, writing, listening, and speaking..
For Wilkes School students, our Mount Vernon neighborhood provides the ideal setting and inspiration to begin exploring the influence of ancient cultures and our classical roots.
- Through our art/classics program, for example, third graders explore the wonders and intrigue of ancient Egypt through activities at school, at the Walters Art Museum, and the Enoch Pratt Library.
- As our fourth graders study Greek civilization, they observe the influence of Greek architecture, identify the Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian columns on the Mount Vernon square, and apply their knowledge in drawings and prints, designed to illustrate classic Greek symmetry and proportions.
- Geometric patterns, mythological heroes, and sports figures found on exquisite Greek vases inspire students to create their own clay pieces in the style of the ancients.
The links of Ancient Roman culture also abound in our Mount Vernon neighborhood and throughout the city, and our fifth graders learn to recognize the Roman influences in the design of buildings, parks and cities, coins, and the influence on our form of government. They identify and manipulate Roman numerals and explore the roots of our language through Latin vocabulary study and simple translations. Creating curricular connections strengthens both conceptual understanding and the ability to recall and apply knowledge acquired and stored through multiple pathways.
The Wilkes School embraces character education as a shared responsibility with the child’s home and religious institution. We believe that virtues are learned by example and that building social awareness and a sense of civic pride and duty can be sensitively advanced even in our very youngest students. It is the role of our faculty and staff to model and promote both a love of and respect for learning and love and respect for one another.