Literacy development that began in Preschool is continued throughout the Lower School utilizing the SRA/McGraw-Hill Imagine It! language arts and reading curriculum. In addition, teachers supplement curriculum materials with the use of trade books and other resources to teach reading and language arts skills. Handwriting is taught following the Handwriting Without Tears method. Teachers lead students in a variety of constructs designed to increase reading fluency and comprehension: direct, explicit, sequential instruction, a combined phonics and whole-language approach, decodable books, partner reading, responding creatively to literature, and of course, reading for pleasure. Cursive writing is introduced in second grade with mastery by the end of third grade. Formal keyboarding instruction through UltraKey begins in third grade.
With a focus on real-life application, math instruction is based on the Everyday Mathematics curriculum published by the University of Chicago. This curriculum features numerous hands-on activities using a variety of manipulatives and fun games. GSL also utilizes IXL, an online math program, which assesses a student's understanding as they practice and generates detailed performance reports to give teachers insight into a students’s abilities. IXL allows teachers to differentiate math assignments based on ability and offers algorithmically generated questions, real-time analytical reports, and dynamic scoring to encourage mastery.
The FOSS (Full Option Science System) curriculum breaks the mold of traditional instruction, offering a discovery-based approach to learning about science by doing science.
Our social studies curriculum helps students gain awareness of the increasingly global world in which we live. While students are learning about the United States and foreign countries and studying the continents, they will also be developing the 21st century skills needed for them to become relevant and productive citizens of the larger community. Each unit of study will finish with a culminating experience aimed at pulling students’ learning together.
Students attend co-curricular subjects with trained teachers in the disciplines of art, music, science, computer, library, Spanish, and physical education.
Character development is a part of everyday life at GSL, and intentionally taught through weekly chapel "Tips for a Happy Life" talks based on the Middle School’s Traits for Success program.