CurriculumOUR COURSE DESCRIPTIONS
Through our literacy curriculum, students hone the foundational skills they need to read, comprehend, and analyze texts. Whole-group literacy instruction consists of interactive, teacher-led lessons focused on broad concepts and themes, including phonics and decoding, fluency, word study, and reading comprehension strategies. During one-on-one and small-group instruction, students apply the skills they’ve learned in whole-group lessons to work appropriate for their levels and goals. This work may consist of student-led book clubs, guided reading, partner reading and discussion, word study games, and self-assessments. Across all grade levels, through daily group read alouds and independent reading, we aim to lead with literacy and help our students discover books that ignite a life-long love of reading.
Rather than having students write during a designated class period, EPIC teachers integrate writing into all content areas. For example, at any given time, a student may be writing a research paper in Science, a biography in Social Studies, an explanation of their work in Math, an opinion piece in Literacy, and a personal narrative in Social Skills. Through this framework, reluctant and enthusiastic writers alike come to see writing as a daily practice and build the foundational skills and stamina they’ll need to succeed in their future studies and careers. Learn more about our progressive framework in this article by our Head of School.
All students take part in group math lessons targeting key concept areas, such as counting and cardinality, operations and algebraic thinking, numbers and operations, fractions, measurement and data, and geometry. Students then expand their content knowledge by delving deeply into individualized work and activities, including learning games and hands-on projects. Each math unit culminates in an assessment, allowing students to demonstrate their progress through written or performance-based means.
SCIENCE & STEM
Our students study the scientific method through hands-on experiments in biology, physics, and chemistry. These experiments are highly collaborative, highlighting the value of teamwork by encouraging students to solve open-ended problems in pairs and small groups. Our integrated STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) curriculum challenges students to apply the concepts they’ve learned in math and science lessons to real-world projects. Students engage with a variety of tools and mediums as they draft, design, build, and refine original creations. As long as students follow the design process and demonstrate safe behavior, STEM is a child-led period granting our students the freedom to exercise their full creative potential.
In social studies, students explore history and current events with a particular focus on social justice. Our curriculum is designed to incorporate key aspects of social-emotional learning, empowering students to reflect on their own lives and communities through the lens of the larger world.
ACADEMIC ENRICHMENT AND INTERVENTION GROUPS
EPIC students receive individualized occasions to excel with small-group instruction across subjects. Enrichment groups provide students working above grade level with opportunities to explore accelerated content in a collaborative, inquiry-based environment. In our intervention groups, teachers reinforce key content areas and honor each child’s unique learning pace and style as they ensure all students meet grade-level standards.
While social-emotional learning is embedded in all aspects of our curriculum, this class period allows teachers and counseling staff to provide explicit social skills instruction each week through lessons, modeling, and practice. Classes focus on social interactions, appropriate attention seeking, polite requests, coping skills, frustration management, growth mindset, accepting differences, building independence, and any other skills we assess our students will need to master in order to succeed in future educational settings and in the world as a whole. The spiraling nature of our curriculum offers students opportunities to revisit and practice these skills in a variety of settings.
Led by EPIC’s Licensed Clinical Social Worker, this weekly group counseling session guides students through the process of identifying their feelings and recognizing how those feelings affect their behaviors and relationships. Students work with our team to develop individualized coping strategies and learn how and when to implement those strategies both at school and at home.
In this group session, led by our Occupational Therapists, students learn explicit regulation strategies by exploring new sensory tools and equipment and discovering their sensory preferences. Throughout a day at EPIC, students independently apply the techniques they learn in Group Sensory during sensory breaks and to help them calm down during moments of dysregulation.
In our chess enrichment, students of all ages and levels learn strategies for visualization, calculation, memorization, patience, competitiveness, foresight, and planning. Chess encourages creativity and flexible thinking in an environment that celebrates positive encouragement and sportsmanship.
Our art enrichment allows students to explore and express their creativity, emotions, and ideas through a variety of mediums. In addition to studying principles of design and elements of art, our students delve into a wide range of artist biographies and histories, with a special focus on artists of color.
In this enrichment, each student explores and discovers their unique connection to music with an emphasis on feelings and creative expression. Throughout the course, students gain exposure to a variety of music genres and explore their emotions through movement, instruments, art, dance, and verbal expression. This class is a perfect marriage of music, culture, and all of the explicit social-emotional learning that make us EPIC.
Through a wide variety of engaging sports and games, our physical education program helps students work together and problem-solve collaboratively, understand the benefits of hard work and dedication over natural ability, learn the importance of winning and losing graciously, foster a love of physical activities, encourage a healthy lifestyle, and practice gross motor skills.
Through structured creative roleplaying games, our oldest students practice complex social interactions, empathy skills, necessary collaboration, and so much more while creating lasting memories of adventures entirely unique to them and their friends.