Primary Years Program (Grades 1-5)
The Primary Years Program (PYP) at Dwight School focuses on the development of the whole child, both in the classroom and in the world outside. The student-centered nature of the PYP allows Dwight to always put the student – and his/her strengths and interests – first. No two students are alike, and the School goes out of its way to find and nurture each child’s unique "spark of genius." One may be a budding artist, another a future mathematician, and still another a great comedian-in-the-making.
Throughout the year, students across grades 1-5 explore six units of inquiry, which fall under six transdisciplinary themes and incorporate the New York State and PYP science and social studies curriculum. This inquiry-based learning method enables students to explore content in the context of their own lives. Some examples of the units of inquiry in action in our classrooms include:
- During the unit of inquiry on weather, kindergarten students learn about the causes and effects of weather. Students graph the temperature and demonstrate their understanding through the creation of a weather book that they share with their classmates.
- First grade students complete a unit of inquiry on recycling, during which they learn about the three Rs: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. To demonstrate their learning, students agree upon an action they would like to take to better our environment.
- Second grade students complete a unit of inquiry on nutrition and learn all about the effects of food, exercise, and water on the body. Students film an "infomercial" that informs the audience about one aspect of healthy living.
- In their unit of inquiry on energy, students in third grade research various sources of energy and create a non-fiction page in a class book. Students develop their communication skills by writing a persuasive letter to an influential person to convince him/her to reduce the use of fossil fuels.
- In the fourth grade’s unit on world religions, they learn tolerance and appreciation for what might be very different from their own experiences. They study how important figures, including Gandhi, Jesus, Rumi, Moses, Buddha, and Muhammad, impact the world.
- During their unit of inquiry on the brain, fifth grade students investigate learning styles and memory. They have the opportunity to dissect a cow’s eye as well as to visit an upper school biology class to observe the sheep’s brain dissection.