Primary School

Welcome to St. James Episcopal School Primary School. Thank you for entrusting us with your precious children. Modeling our approach to teaching on the tenets of the National Association for the Education of Young Children, it is our privilege to provide a program that demonstrates knowledge of what is typical and crucial at each stage of early development, what is individually most appropriate for each child as an individual, and what values, expectations, and factors shape the lives of our scholars at home and in their communities.

It is our privilege to join with you in providing an innovative, creative, challenging and nurturing environment as we strive together to make our youngest scholars into lifelong learners.

"From little acorns mighty oaks do grow."

English Proverb

The St. James Episcopal School Pre-Primary and Primary curricula provide scholars from two to five years of age with a developmentally appropriate program that builds fundamental competencies and specific knowledge. Learning opportunities are broken down into specific, measurable, and sequential skills, and areas of content utilizing an Interdisciplinary approach to instruction through the application of Multiple Intelligences and the Elements of Depth and Complexity. The goal of the program is to provide the proper balance of academic rigor along with child-nurturance to ensure future academic success.
Primary School scholars are taught to look at the world through the Global Theme lens of Order. Through literature, conversations, and learning activities, scholars develop an understanding of the following essential, conceptual truths (generalizations):

  • Order has a beginning, middle, and end.
  • Order demands respect and cooperation.
  • Order provides structure and safety.
  • Order follows rules.
  • Order allows for predictions.
  • Order brings about change.

Movement and Coordination

The movement and coordination components of the Pre-Primary and Primary curricula include physical attention and relaxation, gross motor skills, eye-hand and eye-foot coordination, group games, and creative movement and expression. Activities are designed to develop body image and capability.
Physical Attention and Relaxation

  • Stop and/or start movement in response to a signal.

Gross Motor Skills

  • Ascend and descend steps.
  • Maintain balance.
  • Situate oneself within defined boundaries.
  • Move through space.
  • Throw or kick an object in the direction indicated.
  • Play catch with a bean bag.
  • Coordinate motor activity.

Group Games

  • Play group games.

Using the Body Expressively

  • Imitate the position or action of another person.
  • Act out a simple pantomime.

Social and Emotional Development

The social and emotional components of the Pre-Primary and Primary curricula provide activities that establish a sense of self, personal responsibility, and independent work habits within the context of the group.

  • Recognize, respond to, and provide first and last names.
  • Name parts of the body.
  • Draw a simple line drawing of a person.
  • Practice good hygiene and appropriate table manners.

Social Skills

  • Recognize and call classmates and teachers by name.
  • Greet adults appropriately.
  • Acknowledge and return greetings, farewells, and requests.
  • Attend, listen, and wait turn while others speak.
  • Carry out chores.
  • Remain in own physical space.
  • Transition from one activity to another.
  • Follow rules for games.

Work Habits

  • Carry out single-step oral directions.
  • Carry out an activity independently for a sustained period of time.
  • Return items to the proper location.
  • Work persistently to complete a task.


The goal of the language program in Pre-primary and Primary classes is to understand and use spoken language. The curriculum is designed to develop scholars’ abilities to communicate needs, understand and give verbal descriptions, sequence events, offer personal opinions, and use pretend language.
Oral Language

  • Adapt volume of one’s voice to different settings and purposes.
  • Verbally express personal needs and desires.
  • Narrate when given pictures or objects.
  • Sequence and describe images or events
  • Describe an event or task in the process of completion.
  • Give simple, single-step directions.
  • Express a point of view and imagine.
  • Use language to organize, relate, and analyze.
  • Pair pictures depicting opposites.
  • Use increasingly precise nouns.
  • Identify and name body parts.
  • Understand verbs related to the five senses.
  • Identify and name colors.
  • Identify and name shapes.
  • Identify more-less (fewer) and numbers, one-four (1-4).
  • Identify sensory attributes.
  • Use temporal words correctly.
  • Use spatial words correctly.
  • Use declarative and imperative sentences with elaboration.
  • Ask and answer questions beginning with who, what, where, when, and why.
  • Use the negative forms of declarative sentences, questions, and imperative sentences.
  • Combine simple sentences using “and”.
  • Use personal pronouns correctly.

Nursery Rhymes, Poems, Fingerplays, and Songs

  • Listen
  • Keep the beat
  • Interpret simple words with gestures and actions
  • Learn rhyming words

Storybook Reading and Storytelling

  • Attend and listen to illustrated picture books with simple story lines.
  • Hold a book correctly, turning the pages in accordance with the story.
  • Find the illustration being described.
  • Repeat the refrain in books.
  • “Retell” a story that has been read aloud.
  • Identify previously read books by the title and cover.

Emerging Literacy Skills in Reading and Writing

  • Identify examples of print in the environment.
  • Dictate a caption for a drawing or photograph.
  • Use a simplified schedule of daily activities.
  • Recognize the initial letter of one’s first name.
  • Recognize the written form of one’s first name.
  • Perform activities requiring small muscle control.
  • Produce written marks on horizontal and vertical surfaces.

Visual Arts

The goals of the Pre-Primary and Primary visual arts programs are to examine, appreciate, and produce art forms using various media and techniques. Graphic representation, focused attention on detail, and visual discrimination help develop prewriting and pre-reading skills.
Attention to Visual Detail

  • Identify pairs of objects or images as the same or different.
  • Identify specific colors.

Exploration and Creation

  • Use various tools and techniques in completing art projects.
  • Create drawings, paintings, prints, collages, and sculptures.


The Pre-Primary and Primary music programs at St. James Episcopal School focus on listening to, enjoying, appreciating, and producing music. Musical experiences provide scholars with opportunities to practice oral language skills as they differentiate loud/soft; fast/slow etc. Discriminating differences in environmental and musical sounds facilitates future attention to phonemic awareness. Performing in a group setting provides opportunities to practice social skills.
Attention to Differences in Sound

  • Identify the direction from which a sound originates.
  • Listen to and identify environmental sounds.
  • Listen to and indicate whether sounds are the same or different.

Imitate and Produce Sound

  • Produce sounds that are loud or soft and long or short with instruments and vocalization.
  • Vocally imitate isolated sounds.
  • Imitate clapping pattern sequences.
  • Accompany a story or musical piece by introducing sounds.

Listen To and Sing Songs

  • Listen to, sing, and perform children’s songs and finger plays.
  • Sing a musical dialogue.

Listen to Music and Move to Music

  • Move to music individually, with a partner, and in a group to the tempo, intensity, and rhythm.


The goals of the Pre-Primary and Primary mathematics programs build upon the young scholar’s desire to explore. Instruction progresses from the concrete to representational. Basic operations of “put together” and “take away” are taught. Classifying, comparing, contrasting, measuring, and creating patterns are included.
Patterns and Classification

  • Identify pairs of objects as the same or different.
  • Sort and match objects and pictures by color and shape.
  • Indicate whether an object belongs to a given collection.

Geometry and Measurement

  • Complete puzzles.
  • Sort and match shape.

Numbers and Number Sense

  • Recite number sequence.
  • Demonstrate one to one correspondence with concrete objects.
  • Construct a collection of objects.
  • Count groups of objects.
  • Name the quantity and amount of items.
  • Match numerals with corresponding quantities.
  • Identify positions of first and last.
  • Compare sets or pairs of numerals.


  • Identify the concept of “put together” and “take away” with sets of objects.


  • Identify coins and paper money.

History and Geography

The Pre-Primary and Primary history and geography programs focus on the development of an inner sense of time and space providing scholars with a reference point for future instruction in history and geography. Scholars gain a sense of past, present and future as they sequence events in their own lives and stages within a life-cycle.
Orientation in Time-Vocabulary, Measures of Time, Passage of Time

  • Understand and use temporal words to describe day to day occurrences.
  • Establish reference points in time.
  • Use a schedule of daily activities represented in images to describe the order of events for the day.

Orientation in Space-Vocabulary, Actual and Representational

  • Situate oneself in space or objects in relation to one another.
  • Reproduce a design using blocks or toys.
  • Identify geographic features and environments by name in real life, photos, or drawing.


The purpose of the Pre-Primary and Primary science programs is to introduce scholars to a systematic way of looking at, describing, and explaining the world around them. Scholars develop the ability to explain, describe, and predict as they conduct systematic observations and hands-on investigations.
Human Characteristics, Needs, and Development

  • Identify and describe objects on the basis of specific properties.
  • Name body parts.
  • Identify what humans need to grow and stay healthy.

Animal Characteristics, Needs, and Development

  • Recognize animals go through different stages as they grow.
  • Identify animals as living things.
  • Recognize animals live in many kinds of homes.

Plant Characteristics, Needs, and Development

  • Identify plants as living things.

Physical Elements-Air, Water, Light

  • Build vocabulary for the elements and associate them with everyday life.

Introduction to Magnetism

  • Introduce and explore different materials and properties of magnets.

Seasons and Weather

  • Observe seasons and explore kinds of clothing required in a particular environment.

Taking Care of the Earth

  • Conservation


  • Begin to use scissors to cut a straight line.

Pre-Primary Curriculum Map