The structure of second and third grades at Free Union differs from many other schools. We combine our students in mixed age classes for science and social studies, while they remain with their grade level for homeroom, language arts, and math instruction. This arrangement provides many benefits. Most notably, the older children have opportunities to become mentors to the younger students, inspiring teamwork and cooperation rather than competition in the classroom. Children begin to see themselves as members of the school community, rather than just members of one grade. Teachers, over the course of two years, develop a deep understanding of each child’s strengths and needs. Children in third grade are given greater responsibility in the classroom, both academically and socially, to prepare them for their next exciting Free Union adventure – fourth and fifth grades.
Our second and third graders visit Ellis Island to learn about immigration, and travel by wagon train across the Great Plains to learn about Westward Expansion, through incredible simulations that inspire active engagement in subject matter, creativity, and are loads of fun! This hands-on approach to learning stretches across all subjects. In science students invent simple machines to accomplish tasks, in language arts our buddy program gives second and third graders the weekly opportunity to read to preschool children, and in math our third graders design a city during their study of geometry. Students are challenged to become problem solvers each and every day.
Studying Ancient Egypt