Early Middle School (5 – 6)

During these important years, our program for grades 5 and 6 focuses on developing time management and decision making skills which applies to both academic and social situations and prepares them for their time in Middle School and Upper School.


The curriculum is mapped out from kindergarten through grade 12 to ensure that the students follow a logical sequence of learning from one grade to the next. In following the classical tradition, the program is designed to be foundational; students continue to build on information and skills they have learned the previous years. Teachers work together to augment the curriculum and compliment one another's strengths.

Teachers have chosen curriculum for each grade-level in every subject area that is challenging and interesting. In many educational settings, once a weakness is found in a publisher, they get rid of it and adopt a new curriculum over and over again without ever strengthening it. We continue to evaluate and change our curriculum as needed, bringing in more effective tools and new methodologies where they may benefit our program. Because of this, our excellent curriculum has continued to grow stronger and stronger over the past thirty years.



Our math acceleration program is unique and distinctive. Students are not placed in math class solely by age; instead, each is assessed and allowed to advance to an appropriate class which matches his/her individual aptitude and development. Math classes are offered simultaneously in the Early Middle School so that students move to their ability-level classes for that instructional period.

Curriculum: Saxon or McDougal Littell and supplementary resources 

  • Grade 5: Math 6/5
  • Grade 6: Math 7/6

Advanced levels include Pre-Algebra and Algebra 1.



A science specialist is dedicated to preparing our young scientists in the Early Middle School. From exploration to engaging the scientific method, students refine discovery, analysis, and research skills. The annual Science Fair is a culmination event for the entire community, where students display and present their scientific discoveries. Grade 5 students demonstrate their ability to use the scientific method, presenting the results of their science experiments in a research report and visual display.

Curriculum: Lab-based program 

  • Grade 5: Energy and engines, brain, geology, and electricity 
  • Grade 6: Invertebrates, chemistry, immune system, plants, volcanoes, and earthquakes

Language Arts


Curriculum: Literature and skills-based 

  • Grade 5: Note-taking, summarizing, predicting, literary evidence, pacing, metacognition, and literature including The Phantom Tollbooth, Where the Red Fern Grows, and Banner in the Sky
  • Grade 6: Decoding, vocabulary, main ideas, summarizing, identifying theme, connecting, predicting, identifying the author’s craft, and literature including The Golden Goblet, The Bronze Bow, The Trumpeter of Krakow, and Red Scarf Girl


Curriculum: Shurley Grammar, Easy Grammar

  • Grade 5: Nouns, verb phrases, linking verbs, subjective and objective pronouns, adverbs, adjectives, direct and indirect objects, predicate nouns, predicate adjectives, and compound and complex sentences 
  • Grade 6: Nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, and compound and complex sentences


Curriculum: Six Traits, Wordly Wise

  • Grade 5: Daily journaling, research writing, creative writing, perspective writing, editing, and publishing
  • Grade 6: Writing notebook, five-paragraph essay, expository writing, creative writing, research writing, poetry writing, editing, and publishing


In grades 5 – 6, we continue to use the Spalding method to teach spelling. It is a multi-sensory approach where students learn to spell by saying, hearing, writing, and seeing, thereby using all avenues to the brain. The students memorize 70 phonograms and the letters or group of letters that represent one sound. The students apply their knowledge of phonograms and English rules to analyze and spell the 1,000 most commonly used words in the English language (the Ayre's List).



Curriculum: Holt McDougal and map skills 

  • Grade 5: Geography, including locations of countries in North America, South America, Asia, Europe, Australia, Africa, and Antarctica
  • Grade 6: Ancient civilizations through the Renaissance, including Mesopotamia, ancient Egypt, ancient Israel, ancient India, ancient China, ancient Greece, and ancient Rome


Curriculum: NIV Bible 

  • Grade 5: Judges, Prophecy of the Christ, Samuel, David and the Psalms, and Solomon
  • Grade 6: Armor of God; Heroes of the Faith: Esther, Ruth, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; Book of James; and Names of God


All students in grade 5 – 6 spend at least an hour each week in the mobile and/or library computer lab. Students use the computer as a tool to increase their learning in subjects that they are studying in the classroom and to conduct research. They also progress through a series of computer skills and learn many applications including Publisher, PowerPoint, Word, and Excel. Additionally, students receive weekly instruction in basic computer programming using Scratch from our Computer Science Specialist. The goal is not to turn each student into a programmer, but to stimulate curiosity and "bilingual" exposure to a modern language that will be even more ubiquitous in the future.


Students study Latin in grades 5 – 6. Songs, games, drama, and other fun activities help students learn vocabulary and grammar in a foreign language. Learning Latin helps students better understand English vocabulary and complex grammatical concepts. Latin also improves analytical and problem solving skills and exposes students to culture and linguistic history. Latin instruction, which begins in grade 3, continues for our Early Middle School students and provides an excellent foundation for future language acquisition. Latin instruction is continued through grade 8 at Bear Creek.

Music Notes


An effective and challenging arts curriculum provides students with opportunities to perform and create in art, music, and drama; perceive and respond to each of the arts disciplines; understand the role of the arts in our world; and make connections between the arts and other educational disciplines.

See more about Early Middle School Arts.


Physical Education

Physical Education is a bi-weekly part of our curriculum. Grade 6 students are welcome to join Middle School sports teams. Our no-cut policy allows students to develop physical skills, learn game strategies, and most importantly, put into practice the concepts of commitment and teamwork.

Learn more about Early Middle School Athletics.

Program Highlights

Immersion Weeks


Grade 5 Science Fair

Students demonstrate their ability to use the scientific method, presenting the results of their science experiments in a research report, oral presentation, and visual display.


Grade 6 Shakespeare Play

Students perform A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which gives them the opportunity to increase vocabulary, develop literacy skills, experience literature through drama, gain confidence and composure in front of an audience, and learn to present themselves well.

Learn more about fine arts in the Early Middle School.

Study Skills

During these important years, our program focuses on developing time management and decision making skills which apply to both academic and social situations and prepares students for Middle School and Upper School.


Field Trips

Each class takes approximately one field trip per month. Field trips enhance student learning in a particular area of study by giving them hands-on experiences. Grade 5 students participate in a culminating overnight Outdoor Education field trip. Grade 6 students take an extended day field trip to Mt. St. Helens to enhance their study of volcanoes.

Student Life

See our Student Life section to learn more about our Early Middle School experience.