What is an Elementary Curriculum?

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  • Written By: Mary Elizabeth
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 21 August 2019
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Whereas in other countries, such as the UK, the first years of schooling are usually referred to as primary school, in the United States, the term elementary school is common. As a result, when discussing the curriculum, or course of study, for such a school, it is common in the United States to refer to the elementary curriculum. Elementary education is defined differently in different circumstances. Often, it is thought about as including kindergarten to the end of middle school, or junior high — usually grade eight — with the term secondary school being reserved for high school, usually beginning with grade nine. Elementary curriculum does not refer to any extracurricular activities that might be offered at schools.

Elementary curriculum in the United States is guided by standards developed by national and international subject area organizations. These include the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) and the International Reading Association (IRA) for language arts, the National Council of Teachers of Math (NCTM) for mathematics, the National Academies for science, and the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) and/or the National Council for History Standards (NCHS) for social studies and/or history. Physical education standards are provided by the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE), while the Consortium of National Arts Education Associations (NAEA) developed the standards for arts education. There are also state standards.


The elementary curriculum for Reading and Language Arts generally includes reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Viewing multimedia may also be included. The Mathematics curriculum includes number operations, pre-algebra and algebra, geometry and measurement, probability, statistics, and data analysis. Elementary curriculum in science draws on the life sciences, earth and space science, physical science, and health. The social studies curriculum is likely to include geography, history, government, civics, economics, anthropology, sociology, and historical analysis and interpretation.

The elements of physical education usually included in the elementary curriculum include body management, exercise, game and sport skills, healthy lifestyles, locomotor patterns, physical fitness, safety, and social discipline. Arts coverage may vary significantly, possibly including 2D and 3D fine art, theater, and music. In each case, emphasis is often more on practice, although some history and criticism may be included.


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Post 3

Wow that is great. I have to say that there is a great elementary ESL curriculum from a company called Santilliana.

It is great for Spanish immersion schools that need curriculum written in Spanish.

They also offer Spanish readers that will help your kids learn how to read.

They also offer elementary social studies curriculum, elementary science curriculum and elementary language arts curriculum.

It could be used to delve more into Spanish, or it could be used as a standalone program for someone struggling with learning English that needs to transition slower.

Post 2

A great elementary reading curriculum is “Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading” by Jessie Wise.

It follows a systematic phonics approach that begins with consonants and the then moves on to digraphs and multisyllabic words.

There are about 230 lessons that should take no more than ten minutes a day to review with your child and it will have your child reading correctly and at a 4th grade level by the end of the book.

Another popular elementary reading curriculum is Funnix. Funnix is an interactive program that is based on embedded phonics.

This method allows the child to begin to intuitively learn the phonics lessons while engaging in reading. The creator of this program

also wrote the book, “Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons.”

I used this book along with the other programs and both my children were reading fluently by Pre K. You can also use a free elementary curriculum called Starfall. It is interactive and will get your kids reading.

Post 1

Elementary math curriculum varies from school district to school district.

Some schools use Saxon Math while others use Everyday Math and Singapore math as part of their elementary education curriculum.

Some math curriculums follow a spiral method while others prefer the mastery approach. Saxon math for example, follows the spiral method in which a child is shown various types of problems and shown how to solve them.

The types of problems vary per lesson and are later reintroduced in a more complex matter.

This type of math program allows a continual progression of difficulty, but your child may experience problems with certain concepts because they are not repeated enough.

Your child may need additional

practice before going on to a totally different lesson. The Singapore Math method is more abstract and develops mental math techniques throughout the curriculum with a repetitive format that allows the child to master the material.

Both types of programs have its merits it just depends on what your child prefers.

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