Stage III: Ages 7–9 years

In Stage III, students are given the support needed to grow independently and responsibly as they meet the challenges of increased academic learning. Learning how to work in large and small groups is introduced and guided by the teachers.
In addition to regularly scheduled required classes in math, language arts, science, movement, computer, and world languages, students choose special classes in art, music, library, computer, physical education, science, and dance. Mornings are spent in the homeroom for academics and community building. In the afternoon, children attend special classes and work on experiential group-learning projects in their homeroom.

The Stage III homeroom curriculum is shaped by the students' interests each year. Ongoing evaluation, observations, and assessments of the children’s thoughts and ideas help teachers plan engaging units and inspire curiosity and the desire to learn.
Language arts focuses on reading, writing, communication, and word study. Reading instruction highlights comprehension strategies and vocabulary. Goals include building fluency and developing speaking and active listening skills, as well as developing the ability to make predictions, connections, inferences and use text to support their thinking.

Written instruction focuses on spelling, use of punctuation, and grammar. Students learn the writing process—draft, revise, edit, and publish—to gain experience in writing stories, poetry, letters, and non-fiction. In Stage III, students begin to see themselves as writers. 
They begin to use communication techniques in front of and within a peer group using eye contact, body language, and voice tone to learn how to read a group and adapt. They learn presentation skills and how to give effective feedback.

Students begin to view themselves as mathematicians, to articulate their own thinking, and to take risks to explore multiple approaches, strategies, and math understandings. They receive instruction appropriate to their level of math and participate in group discussion of solution methods and hands-on tasks.

Using the Dimensions Math series developed from the Singapore Math program, our math curriculum focuses on developing computation skills, strong math foundations, and extensions. Elements include basic operations, place value, problem solving, mental calculation, measurement, time, money, geometry, graphing, and fractions. 


In Stage III, students develop emotionally and socially supportive classroom communities as they experience being part of a stage and school community. Students develop a greater awareness of the global community as well. They learn about other cultures and time periods and develop a sense of one’s place in history.

Stage III classes engage in long-term project-based learning activities that build collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity. An important component of this work includes meaningful community service projects. 

These areas of study are taught by specialists in that field.
  • Art: Stage III Art curriculum is designed on an elective basis to encompass a wide range of visual topics and media, including traditional fine arts drawing, painting, sculpture, and printmaking, as well as contemporary art and design practices. In all electives, young artists work toward independence and confidence to realize their creative visions. Goals of the program include exposing students to a rich variety of artistic experiences while introducing strategies and vocabulary for creative problem-solving and personal resilience that enhance all disciplines. Through this evolving set of artistic behaviors students will let go of their self-critical minds in favor of curiosity and creative, critical thinking that is constructive, playful, and generous.
  • World Languages: In Stage III world language classes, an experiential approach integrating stories, drama, games, and music into language learning in classes primarily conducted in the target language gives students a functional proficiency in the language as well as an understanding and appreciation of other cultures and the interdependence of peoples and countries in today’s increasingly globalized world. The use of storytelling exposes students to high-frequency vocabulary in an authentic, meaningful, and engaging context. As a result, students inductively learn grammar structure and syntax. Stories also serve as a jumping-off point for written manipulation of the language, creative writing, and story-retelling activities. The use of gestures—hand actions associated with the spoken word—helps language acquisition by involving multi-sensory input, which appeals to multiple learning styles and both sides of the brain. Students hear, see, and feel the language while speaking it. Games are used frequently in classes to give all students a chance to practice new vocabulary, grammar, and conversations in a low-risk, fun setting.
  • Science: Stage III science students initially engage in concrete activities, then progress toward thinking on a more abstract and reflective level. Students learn inductive reasoning, the scientific method, and the study of the natural world. Many activities foster the ability to reason from specific incidents, objects, or phenomenon to the formulation of a general concept, principle, or law. Students use the scientific method to guide their investigations. In so doing, they become more independent in their learning, empowered by their ability to find answers through their own problem-solving strategies. Students learn to pose a question, devise a reasonable hypothesis, set up a valid experiment, collect and record data, and arrive at a logical conclusion based on that data. They are taught to analyze and experiment using a valid procedure to reach a warranted conclusion. Students learn how to make careful measurements with a variety of instruments, such as scales and thermometers and how to organize data for analysis by preparing charts and graphs. Stage III science covers topics in biological sciences, physical sciences, and natural sciences. Electives explore more specific content, including subjects such as electricity, birds, and the schoolyard environment.
  • Music: The Stage III music program provides a robust musical education. Between required first- and second-year classes and electives, students develop a baseline musical understanding appropriate to their age level and any further musical interests they may have. First-year students learn to aurally identify and verbally describe the fundamental elements of music. By building a student’s ability to listen critically, they will be prepared for many other musical disciplines and skills. Second-year students learn how to read and write music to facilitate instrumental or vocal performing in the future. The elective offerings allow students to pursue a more niche area of music in greater depth and thereby explore the rich world of music in keeping with their personal passions.
  • Computer: A Stage III computer course is required in the first semester for every first- and second-year student. This survey course gives every student exposure to and practice with all the major skills required for computer literacy. Students begin to build basic competency in all Computer Strands (listed below), while learning to see the computer as a tool, not simply a game machine. They learn word processing techniques, practice strategic thinking, begin to write and analyze simple procedures in Logo, build on reading and writing skills, and fine tune their graphics skills. They learn to move and import files, master consistencies in Windows programs, and understand uses of the internet. Students are encouraged to take at least one elective during the school year. The rotation of electives offered attempts to cover those Computer Strands developmentally appropriate for Stage III students, while echoing class themes from their core studies.
  • Computer Strands:
    • Keyboarding 
    • Word Processing/Publishing/Presentations 
    • Programming 
    • Graphics/Digital Imaging 
    • Data Manipulation: Spreadsheets/Computation/Graphing 
    • Operating Systems 
    • Use and Maintenance 
    • Games/Simulations 
    • Internet Safety/Digital Citizenship
  • Dance: Dance is an elective in Stage III. Children in Stage III love to move and learn through engagement of the whole self. Becoming versatile in the language of dance allows them to use this natural facility as a means of communication and self-expression. Dance in Stage III incorporates five main elements of development: technique, improvisation, creative problem-solving, social awareness, and performance. Students at this age are becoming more concerned about skill development and are more critical of their own capabilities. At the same time, they are encouraged to move out of their comfort zones and become risk-takers. Students have fun making up original moves, teaching them to others, and learning their classmates’ moves. Dance games are taught by the teacher, and new games are invented by the students. Through the creative process, students discover the many ways to communicate personal meaning through dance. Children listen to each other, share ideas, interpret, and critique each other’s work, and make decisions both alone and together. Through observation, reflection, and discussion, students learn to form their own aesthetic appreciation of dance and become comfortable expressing their thoughts and ideas. Safety issues and strategies to prevent dance injuries are integrated into each class session.
  • PE: The Stage III physical education program strives to create an atmosphere in which students are willing to take risks without the fear of failure. Keeping a positive and enjoyable environment allows the students to experience and explore new skills and games. With confidence and through practice, students discover areas in which they are technically sound and where they may need to work toward improvement. Reaching competency will enable them to pursue physically active lifelong activities. The program continues to build on the ideas of developing both the physical and social. Students learn proper techniques, basic rules and strategies of games, and the benefits of health and fitness. Fundamental ball skills, manipulative skills, and body awareness are used as building blocks to help students develop and refine more complex skills such as shooting a basketball, passing a football, or dribbling and passing a soccer ball. Teachers implement rules and strategies to encourage teamwork. Health and the importance of an active lifestyle are emphasized.
  • Library: The Children’s Library on the Bloomfield Hills campus houses a collection of over 12,000 books and a computer center for student research. Other features include The Alex Frank ’95 Publishing Center and The Silk Family Reading Circle, a cozy setting where classes gather to read stories. In addition to checking out books, students meet regularly with the librarian who teaches classes focusing on love of reading and learning, developing research and information literacy skills, and supporting classroom curricular content. The librarian works directly with homeroom teachers to provide instruction in research, information literacy, and digital literacy in support of classroom curricular topics during homeroom projects and humanities units. Library electives are offered in the afternoon.
Educating and inspiring gifted students to think as individuals and to engage as a community with compassion for each other and this world.

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