Kindergarten – Grade 4 meet daily in homeroom.
The Lower School uses the Teachers College Writing Workshop for its writing curriculum. Students receive explicit instruction in the strategies and qualities of good writing, including craft, conventions, and spelling. They engage in daily writing practice, choosing their own topics within the genres of narrative, opinion, and informational writing. They rehearse, draft, revise, edit, and share their published pieces in writing celebrations at the end of each unit. One of the year’s cherished events is an annual Publishing Party, when all lower school students present bound versions of their written work to the important adults in their lives.
Kindergarten and first grade teachers use Fundations, a multisensory language program, to teach phonological/phonemic awareness, phonics, spelling, and handwriting. Fundations provides systematic and explicit instruction to Maret’s youngest learners in critical foundational skills. Grades 2–4 use Words Their Way for spelling instruction. This developmental spelling, phonics, and vocabulary program teaches students to examine words in order to discover patterns that can be applied to the reading and spelling of many words. The program emphasizes gaining word knowledge over the memorization of specific words. Through assessments, teachers determine each student’s spelling stage and provide instruction based on individual needs. In addition to this program, students master high-frequency words to build accuracy and automaticity of words that do not follow patterns.
Unit 1: Kindergartners tell stories from their lives through drawing, labeling, and writing.
Unit 2: Students begin to write with an audience in mind, putting more letters and words onto every page, editing their work, and using more conventional spelling.
Unit 3: Children write how-to books that teach the procedures for activities from their daily lives. They continue this non-fiction unit focused on one topic of their choosing.
Unit 4: Students write persuasive letters and essays that rally people to address problems they see in the world around them.
Unit 1: First graders craft a collection of small-moment stories from their lives.
Unit 2: Students create nonfiction chapter books about topics on which they are experts.
Unit 3: Children write their own folktales structured on The Gingerbread Man.
Unit 4: Students use their narrative writing skills to create their own fictional books.
Unit 1: Second graders study published texts, learning writing techniques to incorporate in their own
Unit 2: Students write nonfiction texts about topics of importance to them.
Unit 3: Children write persuasive letters that share their opinions about characters, scenes, and whole books.
Unit 4: Students write poems using line breaks to express meaning and rhythm. They incorporate figures of speech to make their writing more powerful.
Unit 1: Third graders write personal narratives that cycle through the complete writing process.
Unit 2: Students craft nonfiction chapter books about familiar topics. They incorporate main topics and subtopics.
Unit 3: Children write persuasive essays about causes they believe in, using evidence to support their arguments.
Unit 4: Students explore the writing of fairy tales with an emphasis on point of view and story structure.
Unit 1: Fourth graders enhance their writing of true stories based on small moments from their own lives.
Unit 2: Children are introduced to a structure for writing essays called “boxes and bullets.” They use this format to organize ideas and provide evidence on topics they know well. They then use this format to write opinion essays.
Unit 3: Students write research reports, elaborating on a central topic.
Unit 4: Students study a complex text and write a literary essay on the topic.