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Lower School Core Curriculum

Excellent Academics Tailored to Childrens’ Needs

St. Elizabeth’s is committed to rigorous academic development that allows students to grow intellectually at or above their chronological grade levels. As an independent school, St. Elizabeth’s maintains high expectations while nurturing individual progress.

Language Arts


The reading program is based on using quality literature to teach the strategies of the major components of reading. These components include comprehension, accuracy (decoding and phonics), fluency, and expanding vocabulary. We use Café by Gail Boushey and Joan Moses and the research of Fountas & Pinnell as our framework.

All genres are read and studied. Students are instructed at their own individual reading level through individual, small group and whole group instruction.


Our writing program includes critical thinking, grammar, writing mechanics, and the writing process. Student’s writing includes poetry, nonfiction, creative writing, reports, and research papers. We use the Writer’s Shop approach using The Six Traits of Writing and Lucy Caulkins’ Units of Study as our framework.

K-3 also uses the Zaner –Bloser handwriting program.


In grades 1, 2, and 3 we use Spelling By Patterns. The instruction has students analyze the patterns of spelling. The program uses words in context and focuses on root words and suffixes. In the intermediate grades we use Vocabulary Workshop where the emphasis is based upon higher-level vocabulary skills..


We use Math Expressions for our math curriculum. This new math program is one that is the most closely aligned with the new national math standards and common-core curriculum. The program encourages math-talk amongst students and solving problems in a variety of ways, using both traditional and nontraditional approaches. Students use math manipulatives and models to explore mathematical ideas, along with specific strategies and skills.


St. Elizabeth’s School uses the FOSS (Full Option Science System) Program. FOSS Science is a hands-on inquiry based K-8 program that was developed by the Lawrence Hall Of Science, University Of California at Berkeley. It is organized in the developmental sequence of the scientific thinking process and includes life science, earth and space science, physical science, scientific reasoning and technology. Classes enrich our science units with a variety of field trips that correlate to what the students are studying.

The classes study the following units:

  • Kindergarten – Wood and Paper
  • First Grade – New Plants and Solids and Liquids
  • Second Grade – Pebbles, Sand, and Silt and Air and Weather
  • Third Grade – Measurement and Magnetism and Electricity
  • Fourth Grade – Water and The Human Body
  • Fifth Grade – Models and Designs Environments

More About FOSS

Learn more about the FOSS Program at these pages:

Main website

What is FOSS?


Watch a video about the FOSS Program

Social Studies

Social Studies is the integrated study of the social sciences including sociology, history, geography and political science. Areas of study include communities, maps, Colorado history, US history, and ancient civilizations.

Check out the Fourth Grade Class Blog: