Evergreen Country Day’s Elementary School cultivates a love of learning through creativity, curiosity, problem solving, critical thinking, and project-based activities. Students in elementary thrive through daily exposure to real-world tasks and high expectations from nurturing and experienced teachers. Our students benefit from our focus on cultivating character through community and social-emotional learning. Our small-by-design classes allow for differentiation for individual students, as well as early identification of different learning styles.
Elementary students also explore their passions in what we call “specials,” classes taught by experts in the fields of art, music, science, computer science, physical education, and Spanish. Weekly engagement with “Specials” along with a robust character education emphasis prepare students academically and socially for middle school and beyond.
Each year, students look forward to traditions we share together. Our graduates reflect on the fun they had during their elementary years. They remember: camping without their parents at Chief Hosa in Kindergarten, the Kindergarten and 1st grade 100th Day of School Fashion Show, hosting a reading restaurant in 2nd grade, visiting the Western Stock Show in 3rd grade, setting off volcanoes in 4th grade, and many other adventures. Our goal is to inspire our students to thrive, and we are equally inspired by our students every day.
To learn more about our daily rhythm, please explore the sample schedule to the right and our class descriptions below.
Explore our classes
We believe that social-emotional and character education are just as important as academics (and sometimes more so). We are a caring community that shows patience and compassion and expects students to do so as well. Through our daily morning meetings, we build expectations, strong relationships, and trust in order to maintain a safe, fun, and effective learning environment. The Responsive Classroom program, a student-centered social-emotional approach, focuses on cooperation, assertiveness, empathy, responsibility, and self-control. Along with these values, our whole-school house system helps students feel a sense of belonging and fosters vertical friendships across the grades. Older students act as leaders and younger students benefit from the modeling of their older peers. Additionally, all students practice public-speaking skills through whole-school presentations at Town Meeting and greeting visitors to our school. Throughout the elementary journey at ECDS, teachers walk alongside students to guide them with life skills like holding the door for others, apologizing with sincerity, or reciprocating in conversation. With the strong focus on these “soft skills,” students build a comprehensive social-emotional toolkit to support their experience in middle school and beyond.
Elementary school is a critical window for students to learn to read and write, and we believe that process should be a joyful experience. In Kindergarten through second grade, students primarily learn to read, and in third and fourth they primarily read to learn. Through a balanced approach of phonemic awareness, phonics and word study, reading and writing workshops, along with rich literature read-alouds and guided reading groups or book clubs, our elementary students have a strong understanding of the English language and how to use it and understand it. By integrating social studies concepts and content based on Common Core state standards, students learn language arts skills while also learning about the world around them. Students have ample opportunities to read and write every day, to participate in hands-on learning and projects, and have access to reading support teachers if they need an extra boost. The result is that our elementary scholars transition to middle school ready to continue their lifelong love of learning through reading and writing.
Instilling self-belief into our youngest scholars is one of our math program’s primary aspirations. Based upon the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) standards, our elementary math efforts engage students in collaborative and active learning while providing each child with math confidence-building experiences. Through scaffolding, exploration, hands-on activities, games, and technology, our emerging mathematicians progress from concrete learners to critical and abstract thinkers, building a repertoire of problem-solving techniques along the way. The result is that our elementary scholars transition to middle school equipped with a confident and enthusiastic math mindset and the foundation for future math success.
Rooted in best practices as championed by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), our Spanish program embraces a proficiency-model of world language instruction. Gone are the days of memorizing and regurgitating verb conjugations and being chastised for words we do not know. Instead, we embrace ACTFL’s advocacy of “can do” statements. Emerging linguists are encouraged to embrace all that they do know and to communicate confidently as a result. The five proficiencies of reading, writing, listening, speaking, and culture are all emphasized within a joyful learning environment that celebrates the gift of other cultures and languages.
Our elementary visual arts program finds students sculpting clay, rolling ink, blending paint, drawing from observation, and experiencing thoughtful play, exploration, and discovery. We’re all about hands-on problem solving and learning to take artistic risks. Walk down our halls, and you’ll see how our young artists get their inspiration—art history, design, literature, and cross-curricular ties abound to connect to students’ academic and personal worlds. We use Habits of Mind to teach a creative, growth mindset and root our learning in the Elements & Principles of Design to hone strong visual vocabularies. With this combination, we cultivate artists who find immense joy in purely creating.
Our elementary music program gets students moving, singing, dancing, and enjoying the celebration that is music. Students build strong foundations in music theory, using the Orff methodology, through singing, rhythmic activities, and instruments. Teamwork and collaboration are emphasized and praised through music games and music generation. Students show off their vocal, instrumental, and performance skills in multiple school-wide celebrations that bring our community together every year. At the heart of every music lesson is an emphasis on the pure joy of experiencing music communally.
Elementary theatre at Evergreen Country Day consists of games and activities that help students with public speaking skills, creative thinking, team building, and self-confidence. Each grade performs for the school community a few times over the course of the year.
In our elementary school, students learn to program Lego Spike Essential and WeDo devices. Students also complete challenges on a variety of coding platforms including Kodable, Artist, Scratch, and Lego Spike. After school, many students participate in the technology and design thinking clubs where they create stop-motion animation videos, program Lego robots, create video games, explore graphic design and much more. Often our older middle school students volunteer to TA these clubs, modeling problem-solving and scientific pathways toward which our elementary students can aspire.
The goal of our physical education program is to promote an active, healthy lifestyle over a lifetime. Physical education is focused on being active, learning new skills, and having fun. Throughout our physical education program, students also learn the importance of good sportsmanship and what it means to be a good teammate. By participating in team-building activities and games, students are challenged, both physically and cognitively, to work together to complete a task or achieve a goal. Our elementary physical education program finds students in kindergarten and first grade enjoying activities that get them moving like creative tag games, performing Crazy 8’s, or enjoying a flamingo contest. Upper elementary students combine more complicated athletic skills into team sports and modified games. Some student favorites include: Roadrunner Tag, Ultimate Ball, Bowling Pin Soccer, and Capture the Flag. You can find our PE classes outside enjoying the 300+ days of Colorado sunshine or playing in our new full-size gymnasium and performing arts center.