Curricular Values and Traditions
Character development is integral to the mission of CDS. Our character development curriculum promotes nine core values—initiative, independence, responsibility, curiosity, cooperation, courage, respect, joy, and confidence. Students in each class plan and lead all-school gatherings based on one of our core values.
Students are taught the importance of community and the individual’s role in a collaborative environment. The CDS community is a place to practice these important skills and we also emphasize community service that benefits a variety of St. Louis non-profit organizations.
At CDS each student’s unique gifts and qualities are valued and diversity is celebrated. Activities such as “Star Student” and student affirmations allow us to learn about the distinct characteristics of each person. Students from ages 18 months through sixth grade learn how to encourage one another, successfully work together to resolve conflicts, and be prepared to work in a global community. Teachers at every grade level integrate these values into the curriculum, encourage them in student behavior, and highlight examples in current events. Faculty, staff, and administrators strive to be role models of these values at all times.
CDS alumni are recognized throughout the St. Louis community by their confidence in interacting with both peers and adults and their mastery of public speaking. In preschool, students participate in class meetings, share their knowledge and passion through group sharing activities, greet visitors to their classrooms, and present a class character assembly to the entire student body each year. Public speaking opportunities for both individuals and groups are built into the CDS experience throughout the program, including such activities as presentations of long-term projects on cultural study units, readings of student-written poetry or fiction, guiding visitors on tours of the School, or promoting class community service projects at the all-school Monday gathering. The Public Speaking curriculum culminates in sixth grade when students perform a full-length musical theater production and prepare individual speeches for their sixth grade graduation.
CDS has always been a school with a heart. We educate the heart as well as the mind. Just as we provide a solid academic foundation for our students, CDS also provides students with a solid foundation of philanthropy upon which they can build a lifelong commitment of service to others. Students from toddler through sixth grade engage each year in class projects that support both the CDS and the broader community.
Field trips are designed to support and enrich the CDS curriculum. In recent years, field trip destinations have included Powell Symphony Hall, Meramec Caverns, the Melvin Price Locks and Dam, the St. Louis Art Museum, Powder Valley Nature Area, Shaw Nature Reserve, Cahokia Mounds, the Butterfly House at Faust Park, the St. Louis Zoo, the St. Louis Science Center, and Worldways Children's Museum. Upper elementary students travel to Jefferson City to see our government at work or to Springfield, Illinois to visit the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum. Students also have the opportunity to visit different types of business enterprises and charitable organizations for the purpose of understanding the different ways in which people work and contribute to their community.
Each fall the fourth, fifth, and sixth grades take an outdoor education trip. These trips include exercises in group dynamics to promote class bonding, provide overnight camping or cabin experiences, and are arranged to support CDS curriculum as well as to enhance relationships among students and teachers.
Cultural programs are scheduled throughout the year at Chesterfield Day School. All classes enjoy a variety of professional performances in music, dance, and drama. Recent cultural assemblies have included performances such as science and martial arts demonstrations, Shakespearean plays, instrumental ensembles, including the U.S. Air Force Band, and Irish dancing. Assemblies at CDS are an opportunity to learn about different cultures and traditions and celebrate our diverse community. Through cultural assemblies students have had the opportunity to learn about Chinese New Year, Diwali, musical traditions of the Middle East, Nigerian art, Brazilian Samba and much more.
Sixth Grade Play
Each spring the sixth grade students at CDS present a play or musical under the guidance of the classroom teachers. Students are involved in all aspects of production: designing sets, creating costumes, developing choreography, advertising, and selling tickets. This student-centered production is a wonderful culmination to the CDS public speaking curriculum.
Sixth Grade School Store
Students and parents have the opportunity to purchases a variety of snacks, school supplies, and special CDS clothing at the CDS School Store. All aspects of the store are operated and managed by sixth grade students, from accounting and purchasing to marketing and scheduling. The store is located in the hall leading to the gymnasium. At the end of each school year, the student “entrepreneurs” use their profits to purchase one or more gifts for the school. Previous gifts have included outdoor bleachers for the school soccer field, an electronic scoreboard, stools for the science laboratory, toys for the toddler play area, and the School's first SMART Board.