Language Arts

The primary goal of Waterside School’s language arts program is to teach students a range of skills, concepts, and strategies for reading and writing. The comprehensive program offers differentiated instruction to meet the needs of all learners through research-based curriculum and methods, low student/teacher ratios, small-group instruction, and individualized attention. In language arts, children are exposed to multicultural literature in a range of genres; as a result, students’ awareness of the diversity of the School and the world is developed and nurtured. Reading instruction is composed of multi-sensory phonics work, decoding skills, fluency practice, and comprehension instruction. Across grades, the reading program stresses various reading strategies that enable students to read for meaning as well as interpret, analyze, and discuss a range of fiction and nonfiction texts. In writing, the goal is to develop writers who engage in all parts of the writing process. Students learn to brainstorm ideas, select topics, sequence ideas, revise for meaning, think deeply about content, and use appropriate conventions, spelling, and handwriting. Students are taught to write in a variety of fiction and non-fiction genres.


The goal of the Waterside School mathematics program is to introduce and nurture a life-long appreciation of mathematical concepts and an ability to see math in the everyday. The goal for all Waterside students is that they will not only have a procedural understanding of mathematics, but more importantly, a conceptual understanding that will sustain and prepare them for future higher-level thinking. The math program fully supports this mission by exposing students to meaningful mathematical experiences that enrich their ability to think critically, solve problems, and reason in a variety of ways. Waterside uses the Singapore Math Program as the core math curriculum, supplemented by a range of additional materials.

Social Studies

The goal of the social studies program for kindergarten through second grade is to provide a framework for students to learn about themselves and their relationship to other people, to their environment, and to the world. This framework is based on geography, history, culture, and economic and political concepts. It includes teaching problem-solving and decision-making skills that will lead to responsible participation as citizens of their school, their community, and the world. It also includes increasing their ability to apply the vocabulary of social studies and making them aware of current events.

The goals of the social studies program for grades three to five are to increase students’ general knowledge of the United States and the world; encourage critical thinking and problem-solving skills; and generate curiosity about the world around us – past, present and future. Elementary and upper-elementary students begin to build toward a comprehensive understanding of the history of their own country and the world. Students must be knowledgeable about the many cultures and civilizations that have influenced the world they will inherit. The social studies curriculum is a coherent sequence of specific knowledge that builds from year to year.


The goal of the Waterside School science program is to develop and expand students’ understanding and knowledge of concepts in biology, chemistry, and the physical and earth sciences. Students use the scientific method and hands-on activities to develop their understanding of the principles of science. Through the implementation of experiential learning, students become familiar with common tools for scientific inquiry, classroom safety, and content vocabulary.


The goals of the Computer Education program at Waterside School are to help students become well acquainted with the use of personal computers as a tool for study, the presentation of academic work, and to develop technological skills. While earlier grades emphasize motor skills and familiarity with equipment and productivity software, upper grades focus on class projects. Grade-to-grade continuity is maintained by teaching similar material with increasing levels of sophistication, each year building on previous experience. Differentiated learning is implemented in the computer classroom and includes classroom projects that offer opportunities for individualization. Students requiring skills reinforcement receive one-on-one support, while more advanced students are encouraged to go beyond the assignment.

Visual Arts

The primary goal of the visual arts curriculum is to develop, expand, and enrich student experience, using a variety of materials, principles, techniques and vocabulary. Students are encouraged to apply divergent thinking and personal experiences to the creative process as they develop fundamental skills. Students study the work of artists of different periods in time. In preparation for middle-school art, the fifth grade focus is on a more in-depth exploration of a variety of media and famous artists and their styles.


It is often said that music is the universal language, and at Waterside, music is an exciting, “real time” means of expression and communication. In our K-5 music classes we explore music not only through song and movement but we also examine how music is a means of expressing feelings and thoughts for both an individual and a culture. We also examine the powerful role that music has played in social movements throughout history. In addition, we learn to understand the "nuts and bolts" of music: concepts of pitch, rhythm, melody, vocal production, dynamics, symbols, and listening skills. Students use their music theory studies to learn to play instruments and to sing choral music. They also learn to appreciate various cultures and heritages through their study of diverse music genres.

The school year is rich with festivals, holidays, and significant historical events. We explore these special days through music. Some of the highlights are: Hispanic Heritage month, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday, Black History month, Jazz Appreciation month, Asian Pacific American Heritage month, and Cinco de Mayo.

Physical Education

The primary goal of the physical education program is to provide students with opportunities to develop basic skills, promote physical fitness, and experience success through a wide variety of physical activities. Students will learn to follow directions, develop self-confidence, value teamwork, appreciate success, work hard, and increase their sensitivity to each other. The program is designed to develop the whole child and to prepare students for middle school. In addition to promoting a lifetime of physical fitness, the Physical Education program places a strong emphasis on lessons of character, including respect, fair play and good citizenship.