Lower School (Coed, K-6)

Grades 3-4

Grades 3-4: The Oak Knoll Middle Grades Program

Grades 3-4 Curriculum 
At Oak Knoll, we refer to our Grade 3-4 Program as the Middle Grades. With increasing maturity and sense of responsibility, our grade 3 and 4 curriculum helps students solidify their foundational skill acquisition and broaden their ability to think critically.

We challenge our students to draw conclusions, differentiate between fact and opinion, make generalizations, as well as compare and contrast. Learning how to learn is an important component of the middle grades, as well as developing a broad range of study skills that will serve students a lifetime.

Children in our 3-4 Middle Grades Program progress in their ability to take personal responsibility for their learning and develop into independent thinkers and good citizens.

Field Trips Expand Our Middle Grades Curriculum

All Elementary School students enjoy special opportunities to head off campus for field trips. Visiting these sites is part of a yearlong cross-curriculum study of the United States.

As part of our Grade 4 curriculum, students in fourth grade explore the rich history of New Jersey through their study of the Lenape Indians and the state’s role in the Revolutionary War. The study of New Jersey state government culminates in a trip to the State House in Trenton.

Grades 3-4 Courses

List of 13 items.

  • Religion

    The children grow in their understanding of a Triune God and learn the sacraments of the Church. God’s Law of Love, the Ten Commandments, and the Beatitudes become the moral foundation for making choices. Children learn how to read the Bible and pray the rosary.
  • Reading/Language Arts

    Reading, writing, speaking, and listening are integrally entwined as students build their foundational skills and expand their ability to connect new learning with prior knowledge. Children hone their comprehension skills by developing the ability to identify character traits, story elements, cause and effect, and turning point. We enrich the reading program to include vocabulary development, grammar study, and reasoning skills. Students employ the writing process of brainstorming, revising, and editing as they learn and apply the elements of good writing.
  • Mathematics

    Students follow a differentiated math program that emphasizes competency on and one grade above their current grade level. Instructional strategies implemented include mathematics as problem solving, mathematics as communication, mathematics as reasoning, and mathematical connections. Mathematical concepts covered included estimation, number sense and numeration, concepts of whole number operations, whole number computation, geometry and spatial sense, measurement, statistics and probability, fractions and decimals, and patterns and relationships. Students begin to move from a concrete to more abstract thinking skills by the end of the middle level.
  • Science

    Science students are active learners in the physical, earth, and life sciences. Laboratory experiments develop skills in observation, note-taking, cooperative learning, and multi-step directions. Our young scientists exclaim, “Science is fun!” as they explore rocks, minerals, ecology, water, weather, phases of the moon, and body systems. STEM investigations are integrated into certain units to enhance critical thinking and high levels of science learning for all students.
  • Social Studies

    The United States is the broad umbrella for the social studies program. Children learn the geography, climate, people, and history of each state in the Union through their concentrated study of individual states. Students explore the rich history of New Jersey through their study of the Lenape Indians and the state’s role in the Revolutionary War. The study of New Jersey state government culminates in a trip to the State House in Trenton.
  • Physical Education

    In grades 3-4, physical education focuses on the introduction of sport-related skills in modified games and activities. Motor concepts are applied to these activities that encourage students to think critically and make responsible choices. Students are introduced to the "Fitnessgram" to asses individual fitness levels.
  • Art

    In the visual arts, the children are given a variety of experiences in many different media in order to strengthen their skills and abilities. As the child’s confidence and skills grow, new materials and challenges are introduced. The curriculum goes from a formalist approach in the lower primaries to cross-discipline integration in the older grades. Aesthetics and art appreciation are also extremely important in the total development of the student’s creative process.
  • Music

    Lower School students participate in a general music class of active music making and an age-appropriate chorus. Classroom music uses the Orff Schulwerk approach, in which children sing, move and play pitched and unpitched percussion instruments and recorders, as well as listen, analyze, improvise, and compose. Aspects of theory and music literacy are part of the instruction. The music curriculum for all grades includes hands on support of classroom iPads for reinforcement of music skills and creativity in composition. All students in grades 1 to 6 participate in the Christmas Concert and at least one other performance during the year incorporating music, movement, and drama. Often these performances represent a cross-discipline experience. In addition, students prepare and sing liturgical music for school liturgies.

    An instrumental program is optional for children in grades 4 to 6. Strings, woodwinds, and brass instruments are taught in small groups by a private music instructor. A fee is charged for these lessons and for instrumental rental.
  • Drama

    In creative drama classes, the children explore, enjoy, and share new ways of self-expression through movement, pantomime, storytelling, puppetry, improvisation, and small and large group performances. Middle graders receive formal instruction in puppetry and create their own puppet shows. All grades participate in creative dramatics throughout the year and are involved in the creation of their own videotaped commercial that is self-developed, written, directed, and produced! In the winter and spring, the students celebrate their talents in both our Christmas and spring concerts.
  • World Language

    The world language program at Oak Knoll is designed to enable students to communicate meaningfully in another language at an age-appropriate level. We seek to broaden our students’ understanding of and appreciation for other cultures and nationalities. Lively games, activities, and songs reinforce the acquisition of oral and visual vocabulary and encourage students to speak in French or Spanish. Students continue to broaden their vocabulary with an emphasis on speaking and pronunciation. Simulations of real life experiences encourage conversational skills.
  • Technology

    Students in grade 3 are introduced to keyboarding using “Type to Learn” in the computer lab. Once they understand proper posture and fingering, students are switched to the Web-based “Type to Learn 4.” The Web-based program is later downloaded at home, and keyboarding becomes year-long homework that continues through the fourth grade. Students in third grade learn the multimedia authoring program, HyperStudio, and create an integrated research project in coordination with the social studies curriculum. Kidspiration skills are further developed while students organize writing projects and research for creating timelines in Timeliner. By grade 4, students’ skills are such that they are ready to learn more complex and creative applications. Students become more familiar with Word and Excel, in combination with information gathering from the school’s subscription databases. The highlight of fourth grade is learning basic programming. Students are introduced to Scratch, a programming language that facilitates creating interactive stories, animations, games, and music; and Lego Mindstorms to program NXT robots to travel patterns and distances and employ sound, touch, light, and ultra sound sensors. Student use of technology also occurs across curriculum areas in their classroom, where 1:1 laptops are available for their use throughout the school day.
  • Library

    The Bonaventura Library program focuses on two main objectives: the development of information literacy skills necessary for learning in the 21st century and a lifelong love of reading. Children in kindergarten to grade 6 attend regularly scheduled library classes and visit the library for class projects, for group or independent research or to check out books at any time during the school day.

    In grade 3, we expand our use of reference materials and begin the use of electronic subscription databases, such as World Book Reference Center and Culture Grams. In grade 4, almanacs, atlases, and specialized reference sets and more advanced databases are added to the mix.
  • Health

    Students in grades 4 to 6 study the body, growth and development, nutrition, disease prevention, substance abuse, and first aid in a formal class setting. Many topics are taught in conjunction with units in science.
Oak Knoll School of the Holy Child is a Catholic independent school coeducational from kindergarten to grade 6 and all girls in grades 7 to 12. Oak Knoll was founded in 1924 and is one of 10 schools in the Holy Child Network of Schools that provides independent Catholic education across the United States.


44 Blackburn Road
Summit, NJ 07901
Phone: (908) 522-8100

© Oak Knoll School of the Holy Child 2014