Manzano Day School

Joy in Learning® Since 1938

Core Curriculum

Our curriculum is built around fundamental academic and communication skills. The core areas of reading, writing, mathematics, social studies, and science are included at every grade level. We encourage curiosity, independent thought, and action, guided by the school’s core values of respect, responsibility, integrity, and striving for excellence.

At Manzano Day School children receive a strong academic foundation for lifelong learning. Starting in pre-kindergarten and continuing through fifth grade, we set high expectations within a nurturing environment to prepare students for the next step and beyond.

Below is an overview of the core curriculum that students will experience throughout their time at Manzano Day School.

Language Arts

The Language Arts program includes both reading and writing curricular areas. Core teachers at each grade level facilitate the instruction of reading and writing through direct instruction, with the incorporation of skills in content areas. Manzano Day School’s reading program is comprised of the CR Success Learning curriculum, as well as the study of quality literature in various formats including readers' workshops and literature circles. CR Success Learning provides instruction and practice with phonological and phonetic skills, which are applied on a daily basis in reading, spelling, and writing. This program establishes a solid foundation upon which students build other skills needed to be critical thinkers and lifetime readers.

The writing program is based upon the writer’s workshop model and utilizes the Lucy Calkins Units of Study as the core curricular foundation. This program is based upon the belief that in order to become good writers, students need time to reflect and develop their ideas through use of the writing process on a daily basis. Units covered through this curriculum include personal narratives, poetry, biographies, personal responses to literature, expository writing, stories, persuasive essays, and individual teacher developed units that are integrated with content areas.

Teachers may also utilize the Picturing Writing and Image Making in Writing curriculum materials to enrich the students’ writing experience. Developed through extensive research at the University of New Hampshire, these programs combine art and writing in order to encourage students to increase their sentence fluency and written vocabulary.

Additionally, the 6+1 Traits assessment model is used to guide evaluation of students’ work at all grade levels. This model provides a consistent vocabulary for the instruction and assessment of writing.

The combination of our reading and writing programs provides our students with a rich curriculum that meets or exceeds the national standards established by the National Council of Teachers of English.


Children are expected to learn basic computational skills and to show competence in defining a problem, choosing appropriate strategies for solving it, and analyzing the solution process using differing questioning techniques. A part of every classroom instruction is open-ended questioning and discussions promoting critical thinking skills. Every attempt is made to integrate mathematics into all content areas.

Math instruction is facilitated using McGraw-Hill My Math. This program is written to meet the demands and expectations of the Common Core State Standards and includes an online component for teachers and students. McGraw-Hill My Math interweaves a variety of experiences throughout the curriculum, guiding children to develop an understanding of basic concepts and their application in solving problems in everyday life. The program also provides a consistent instruction format and design that creates a strong math foundation upon which any student can be successful. The program allows teachers to address different ability levels and provides a variety of assessment strategies to measure student progress. Students learn math skills through a variety of modalities including manipulatives, games, and puzzles. Lessons in math are integrated with other curricular areas including science, technology, and language arts. Emphasis is placed both on gaining a firm foundation of basic skills and applying higher order thinking to problem solving. For more information please visit McGraw-Hill.

Social Studies

The Social Studies curriculum utilizes a variety of curricular resources and instructional techniques with frequent opportunity for collaborative learning. Thematic units that correspond with other subject areas in the curriculum are used whenever practical. Opportunities are present for many talents to emerge through projects and activities in this core content area. Children study cultures (past and present) focusing on geography, history, government, notable people and their significant contributions, economics, social structures, and religious beliefs. An understanding of the importance of the past’s contribution to our society is interwoven through grade level units. Further, the development of an appreciation for a global perspective through our social studies curriculum helps to prepare our students for life in the twenty-first century. Classroom activities are enriched with literature, research projects, visits to nearby museums and monuments, and exposure to the diverse societies within our own community.


Our science curriculum emphasizes the use of inquiry and the scientific method of questioning. Critical and reflective thinking skills are the main components for student learning in all science classes. Problem solving is encouraged through inquiry-oriented discussions, observation, data recording, and vocabulary development. Skills from all subject areas are integrated into science lessons in order to enhance the understanding of the scientific principles and concepts covered in our curriculum. Science projects and activities in each grade level assist students to learn how to search for answers to specific science problems. Students must plan experiments, find and record information related to the problem, and organize the data collected to find the answer to the problem. These projects are assigned throughout the year in each of the topics of the science curriculum, and are presented to the class in various formats.

The Bernitsky Science Lab provides a stimulating environment for exploration and experimentation of science topics. This lab was specifically designed to reinforce and enhance science instruction for all students. Our science coordinator assists with developing activities and finding resources for classroom and lab instruction. Additionally, extra-curricular science clubs are available to students with a special interest in scientific topics. Field trips, speakers, videos, and technology are also used to engage students in science learning. The Fenton Environmental Program is closely integrated with the science curriculum and provides additional enrichment for our science curriculum.

“One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child.”

Carl Jung