CDS students love books, and this love of reading is developed and nurtured through their library experience. Our library is a welcoming and warm environment which also cultivates an excitement for research. It is Children learn the responsibility of taking care of books that are shared with the community. The library program teaches children how to enjoy books as a source of information and inspiration, providing a place to work and also a place to relax into a good story. The younger children experience our library as a wonderland of tales, facts and imagination. As they grow up with us, they experience the library as a place for both research and relaxation. Beginning in Kindergarten, students have weekly visits and classes in the school library and our doors are open every day to students, teachers and parents in search of reading material or a quiet moment in a peaceful place.
The CDS music curriculum provides students with opportunities to hear, create, and perform music, thereby contributing to the broader development of academic and social skills, emotional growth, and physical coordination. Our students become accomplished in music as individuals, but also learn how to cooperate and collaborate. They discuss and experience music and movement together while combining their efforts to play, sing, and dance. Often times, professional music ensembles perform in the school, presenting a variety of musical genres for the children to experience live. Students also take field trips to hear jazz and orchestral music several times during the Kindergarten-Sixth Grade years.
Students develop musical literacy by reading, writing, singing, moving, and playing instruments. They also learn by experiencing musical performances from a variety of cultures and genres. The music program culminates in the sixth grade when students study a band instrument and perform publicly as an ensemble with their classmates. For Chesterfield Day School students, music becomes a regular and integral part of their lives and their studies: a language in which to become fluent, a tool for creative expression, and a diverse world of sound and communication to be enjoyed for a lifetime.
The CDS physical education program is committed to building physical skills and promoting fitness for life. All children in preschool through grade six attend physical education classes taught by specialists. Preschoolers have physical education four times weekly; beginning in kindergarten, students go to physical education for thirty minutes daily. At all levels, the program works on skills and activities in seven areas of instruction:
• Body and spatial awareness
• Developmental games
• Fundamental movement
• Personal fitness/healthy lifestyle
• Rhythm and dance
• Balancing, tumbling, and stunts
• Sports and lifetime activities
The formal physical education curriculum is supported and enhanced by daily playground activity and recess time, periodic recreational roller skating and annual interscholastic sports tournaments such as soccer, floor hockey, and basketball
We also occasionally bring in specialists in such areas as dance and martial arts to deliver programs to our students. Presidential physical fitness testing is done in first through sixth grades in both fall and spring, with National and Presidential Fitness awards presented to achieving students at the end of the year.
Learning a foreign language at an early age improves not only the ear and tongue, but also the heart and mind to the sounds and ways of other cultures. In the toddler and preschool programs, Spanish instruction utilizes a variety of manipulative materials, movement activities, finger plays, songs, rhymes, and circle games to expose children to the target language and engage their interest. In the lower and upper elementary years, the foreign language program begins to promote more individual verbal responses in Spanish and acquire vocabulary and structures through thematic units. Attention is given to reading, writing, and the understanding and mastery of grammatical structures in the upper elementary grades.
The goal of our Spanish program is to help students embark upon the study of speaking, reading, and writing Spanish while developing an understanding of the diversity of other cultures. Through the CDS Spanish curriculum, students gain insight into the nature of language by comparing how a different language system expresses meaning and reflects culture.
By exercising such skills as listening, memory, oration, and creative writing, the children become confident communicators, a broader goal of the CDS program. Our students learn Spanish while engaging in creative activities, incorporating movement and stretching their imaginations. By exploring a new culture through the medium of language, they gain an awareness of cultural diversity, an appreciation for the beauty and richness of the world around them, and gain insight into the nature of language and how it reflects meaning.
The art program is built upon activities and projects in which each child develops and expresses individuality, creativity, and originality. The goals of the program are for students to explore the elements of art, build their own artistic skills through a variety of media, and learn to appreciate their own work and that of others. The art program challenges and educates students through a variety of two-and three-dimensional projects that involve in an increasingly complex way the elements of line, color, texture, shape and form, space, and value. The art curriculum is also frequently integrated with other curricular areas such as social studies, language arts, and mathematics, allowing students to connect the ideas they are studying within a broader context. The students are encouraged to create art in a non-linear, non-literal manner; to learn how art, science, and math unite, overlap, and complement each other.
CDS integrates technology in the classrooms and the curriculum in order to teach children how to communicate information and ideas effectively using a variety of media and formats, use technology as a tool for research and collaboration. Student computers are located in every classroom for second through sixth grade to enhance and support curricular instruction. Teachers and students also utilize SMART Board technology in classrooms from Kindergarten through sixth grade and in specialist classes such as music and art. Computers are incorporated in education across curricular areas, including activities such as completing on-line research, communication, and publishing projects. Upper elementary students also have structured weekly outcome-based technology instruction, utilizing laptops, SMART boards, and other electronic media.