Fourth and Fifth Grades

Our oldest students are on the threshold of a significant new stage of development: adolescence. Dramatic physical changes reflect major shifts in cognitive, social and emotional development. The intellect is awakened, demonstrated by the individual’s emerging ability to engage in more complex thinking processes involving symbolic ideas and abstract concepts. Children exercise newfound abilities as they begin to reason, consider diverse perspectives, and imagine a multitude of possibilities. Individuals approaching adolescence have a need to understand and engage in the ‘real world.’

Experiential and project-based studies exercise ‘real life’ problem-solving abilities and provide meaningful contexts for the acquisition of new concepts and skills. For the socially-oriented pre-adolescent, cooperative and interactive learning supports academic instruction and cultivates a strong sense of community. A pre-adolescent is defining, testing, and transforming his/her perception of self and seeks to be understood and valued by others. They challenge assumptions and values they once adopted without question.  Our program honors this vital process, providing new intellectual challenges while supporting the emotional and social challenges inherent to growing up.


School Day: 8:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. with the option of Extended Day through 4:30 p.m.

Language Arts

A balanced approach is most effective in children’s reading and writing development.

For reading and writing teachers use Reader's and Writer's Workshop curricula, developed at Columbia University’s Teachers College Reading and Writing Project.

Below are key elements of our rich and balanced language arts program:


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Reading Support - When students are not meeting the literacy benchmarks that they developmentally could meet, the Head Teacher makes a referral to the Reading Support Teacher. Our Reading Support Teacher is trained in the Institute for Multi-Sensory Orton Gillingham Reading Approach. The Reading Support Teacher meets frequently with students either one-on-one or in small groups using an explicit, sequential, systematic, and multi-sensory approach used to teach literacy. The support program breaks reading and writing into smaller skills involving letters and sounds, then builds on these skills over time. The Teacher will also meet with children for reading fluency and writing support as needed.


At Nantucket Lighthouse School, we use Bridges in Mathematics developed by The Math Learning Center. Math in the Fourth and Fifth grades focus on forging meaningful connections between what children understand conceptually and the conventional symbols and procedures used to represent mathematical concepts.

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Social Studies & Science

The study of Nantucket's ecosystems, understanding of local environmental challenges, and engineering and coding skills coalesce in a special project where students build robots to solve local environmental challenges. There are many important social studies and science strands taught in our Fourth and Fifth grade classes:

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Physical Education

Weekly Physical Education classes include exercising gross motor skills through running, jumping, hopping, climbing, balancing, throwing, and catching. There is an emphasis on collaborative games and good sportspersonship.


In 4th and 5th grade music, students have built a solid amount of musical experience in the earlier gradesIn music, students sing songs from American folk repertoire, popular music, and around the world. Students deepen their understanding of music notation, including how to read and write simple rhythms and melodies. They also expand their abilities with songs and rounds, aiming for more independence with both singing and instrumental accompaniment. Students learn to accompany simple songs on the keyboard (one per student) and learn the layout of tones with the goal of playing keyboards together as a group.