A School Designed for Children 2-10

Corlears’ small size and specific focus on elementary education allow us to create the ideal environment for student learning and leadership.     

  • Intellectual development through discussion and writing is a key component of our students’ core studies.
  • Learning to reason in science, mathematics, writing, and speaking is our highest priority and is explicitly taught. 
  • Respect for all children and their individual emotional and social development, as well as a deep appreciation of our cultural differences, are keys to our school’s character— empathy is at its core.
  • We combine student learning with the amazing resources of New York City’s history, art, culture, and science to empower our students to innovate, think critically and problem solve. We cultivate their awareness and their desire to make a difference in the world.
  • Our students develop a variety of ways to solve problems creatively.  We use multi-age teaching in thoughtful and dynamic ways to increase learning and build collaboration and leadership skills.  

Learn more about our curriculum:

  Preschool:   2s & 3/4s

Preschool: 2s & 3/4s



  Grade Level Classrooms: 6/7s, 8/9s and 10s

Grade Level Classrooms: 6/7s, 8/9s and 10s

  Special Programs for the Upper Grades

Special Programs for the Upper Grades


2s - Communication, Exploration & Play

Social emotional development and language are at the heart of the 2s program. Our 2s learn as they play and explore with paint, dough, puzzles, manipulatives, and building blocks. Our early childhood teachers help each child develop a strong social language through modeling how to have conversations, express feelings, share ideas and ask questions. Singing, stories, dramatic play, and tactile explorations are at the core of the 2s experience. Children are curious about everything in the natural environment. Their questions are encouraged and our teachers support these two-year-olds as they take the journey to discover the world around them. The daily routine, which begins with arrival in the classroom, morning choice time, and many more creative activities, provides a model for what the children will experience as they continue their education at Corlears.

3/4s - Peer Modeling & Developing a Sense of Community

The 3/4s engage in a two-year journey. Beginning in the 3s, children take steps toward becoming active participants in their learning and in building community. Our teachers build on the group-learning skills and the language development the children acquired in the 2s. Utilizing the peer mentoring model with the 4s, the 3s are able to stretch their thinking and their learning alongside their peers. This kind of support models empathy, collaboration, creativity and confidence to take risks in one’s learning. The 3s are exposed to emergent literacy concepts through Morning Meeting, environmental print, sound symbol correspondence, rhyming, singing and stories. Opportunities to reinforce developing number sense continue through classroom routines and are reinforced with teacher guided explorations of manipulatives around basic concepts, and games. Specialists in Music, Art, Library Science and Spanish, enter the classrooms in the mornings to work with the children in small and whole groups. This fosters relationships with the specialist teachers and materials they explore within the comfort of their classrooms.  

Leadership skills begin to develop in the 4s as they take on the role of young mentor to their 3 year-old peers. This in turn reinforces their learning and skills through the teaching and partnering with others. They begin to practice and cultivate the important skill of articulating their thinking and understanding in their own words. Our teachers guide and support the children as they embark on developing literacy and math skills. Handwriting instruction begins with guided practice, utilizing a multi-sensory approach. The 4s begin to work with phonetic spelling and write about topics in a variety of formats such as dramatization, dictation and eventually writing on their own. Structured math groups support the ongoing development of number sense as the 4s are introduced to sequencing, patterns, basic addition and geometry. Social studies investigations that relate to the social and emotional experiences of this age group focus on the child and his/her family as well as the classroom community. Children are stimulated to ask questions and think deeply. Literacy, math and science are woven throughout these investigations. 4s also begin to explore the use of technology while working once a week in small groups with our technology teacher.

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Making Connections & Building Skills

In Kindergarten children begin to actively apply the emergent literacy and math skills they began to develop in their preschool years. Explicit reading instruction begins, as well as Writer’s Workshop. This provides daily opportunities for direct instruction around reading and writing that is both skill-based and connected to larger curricular themes. In Kindergarten, children continue developing their mathematical thinking and number sense with more structured math time in whole and small groups. Utilizing the math workshop model allows teachers to differentiate within these groups to meet the varied learning needs. In their social studies investigations, the children move out of the classroom and into the neighborhood. As they explore the surrounding community, they begin to understand new roles and responsibilities. Children spend time in the science lab and focus on science topics related to their social studies explorations. New observation and critical thinking skills are cultivated. The art studio is where our Kindergarteners express their ideas in numerous ways through paint, clay, and recycled materials. Literacy and math instruction on the iPad is provided by our educational technologist once a week in small groups. Morning Meeting and routines provide multiple opportunities for whole group discussion and mini-lessons that take them into the work of the day.

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Grade Level Classrooms: 6/7s, 8/9s and 10s

6/7s: Conceptual Understanding & Creative Problem-Solving

Upon entering the 6/7s, the 6s each have a foundation for whole group discussion and inquiry-based learning. They are able to enter the curriculum with great enthusiasm and excitement as their literacy and math skills are now advancing quickly. Word Work is introduced in small groups and incorporated into reading, writing, science, and social studies. Explicit reading and writing instruction continues at the point where the student left off at the end of the Kindergarten year, to ensure a smooth continuum of learning. Grade-level math instruction, which continues with the math workshop model, allows teachers to differentiate students’ varied learning needs and abilities, while maintaining the supportive aspect of group learning and the benefits of peer modeling and sharing strategies. Social studies investigations provide students with an understanding of the concept of community and take the children out of the immediate school neighborhood and into the New York City metropolitan area. Homework begins and is designed to extend and reinforce classroom work, as well as provide practice with organization, time-management, and basic study skills, which are essential for success in the upper grades. Technology, music, art, and physical education are areas where the children continue to build skills and solve problems creatively.

The 7s take on an extraordinary leadership role as peer mentors to the 6s. Having had several experiences of being mentored by their peers, they are able to embrace this opportunity with enthusiasm. The 7s begin to take real ownership of their learning and a higher level independence is nurtured and supported. Literacy instruction continues, as reading groups and Word Work get more complex and children read more difficult texts, develop oral and written comprehension, and vocabulary studies begin. Grade-level math continues and the children delve into place value, double and triple digit addition and subtraction, geometry, early multiplication. 7s also begin to weave technology, social studies and literacy together in creating multimedia presentations and projects with the technology teacher.

8/9s : Collaboration & Learning from the Past

The upper grades is an experience that is unique to Corlears. The 8s are welcomed to the group at the beginning of each year by the 9s, and the peer mentoring model continues. Social studies inquiries remain at the core of the program. Small classes ensure that deeper exploration and differentiation can continue even as the demands of the academics increases. Social studies themes explored by the 8/9s are the Eastern Woodlands and the people who inhabited the area - the Lenape Native Americans. They study Henry Hudson and the history of the Hudson River, late 19th and early 20th century immigration, and the history of New York City. Writing is done in half groups, which allows teachers to work more closely with each student in order to create individual goals to develop each student’s writing more fully. With the support of 1:1 Chromebooks, teachers can also work on the craft of writing along with mechanics and spelling. The added layer of word processing and an emphasis on revising and editing help children learn to integrate all of these aspects of writing to create a more comprehensive approach and understanding. The 8/9s year is also a rite of passage as each fall they embark on an outdoor overnight experience, to Clearpool, where science, nature and team-building programs are emphasized.

10s: Leadership, Service Learning & Preparing for Next Steps

The 10s is the culminating experience at Corlears as the children prepare to move on to middle school. However, we also want them to enjoy an extremely memorable and robust year of learning and leadership. The Humanities program for the 10s encompasses reading, writing, spelling and social studies. The high level of integration at this level provides academic rigor along with critical thinking and highly developed skills in collaboration and communication. The overarching Humanities focus goes further back in time to explore ancient Greece, the seeds of democracy, and Greek mythology. Grade level math instruction continues to utilize the math workshop model, but also cross references the content needed to prepare for the Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE) in the fall. The 10s develop and hone their skills around organization, independence and collaboration. The many writing and research projects they engage in, along with the many hands-on art and engineering projects, expand their ability to actively apply acquired skills and demonstrate conceptual knowledge more readily. The 10s take on many leadership roles within the school community from classroom buddies, weekly assembly hosts, offering peer advice in their weekly community skits from “Just Ask the Crew,” to their annual partnership in service learning with The Co-Ed School for Eagles in Haiti. Each spring the 10s’ year culminates in an overnight trip to Ramapo. This trip is a celebration of their journey and their time together, focused on team-building and making lasting memories together. Graduates of Corlears are vibrant, intelligent and compassionate young critical thinkers. They are always poised and ready to take the next steps into middle school.

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Special Programs for the Upper Grades

8/9s: Research

The 8/9s have a dedicated period each week to focus on research projects of their choice. They can work independently or in small groups. They work closely with the librarian and the technology teacher during this time to design and integrate research and technology to enhance their learning and deepen their understanding. When the projects are completed the children then have an opportunity to share their work with parents and the larger school community. It is a wonderful way for students to inspire each other’s learning, and for the students to gain more experience with the collaborative process and public speaking.

9/10s: Math

The 9s and 10s also collaborate once a week for a special 9/10s mixed math period, which is centered on problem-solving and project-based math. This is an excellent opportunity to have the 10s mentor the 9s and provides both groups with additional elevated math instruction. This results in detailed preparation for moving into middle school math and test prep for the ISEE which is taken in the fall of 10s as a component of the outplacement process.  

Project Time

Project time is a shared and dedicated time in the 8/9s and 10s schedule, which includes a variety of learning opportunities for children throughout the year. All specialists are available at this time and help provide additional experiences to work within their specialized domains. There are three sections of Project Time over the course of the year. September through December, Project Time I includes specialist electives for the 8/9s, and Flex Time for the 10s. Some of the electives the children can choose from are: Jazz Band, Team Sports, Claymation, Literary Performance, and Animal habitats and conservation. Flex Time for the 10s is used for the outplacement process in the fall. They can practice being interviewed, work on essay writing and review concepts and strategies for test-taking. During Project Time II the 8/9s and 10s can come together for a different collaborative project-based learning opportunity. Whether it is STEAM challenges (2014-15), or partnering with Lincoln Center Education (2015-16) with teaching artists, the children get to mix and mingle while they explore innovative ways of learning about the world around them. This coming year we are excited to begin this partnership with Lincoln Center Education, and collaborate with actual artists to study a piece of artwork, or performance at Lincoln Center, as the children work side-by-side with them exploring the medium, motivation, and message of the artist. Project Time III is dedicated to Service Learning. The 10s partner with our sister school, The Co-Ed School of Eagles in Haiti, to learn about the students and what their daily lives are like. Through this relationship, they work with the other students to determine a project, or cause, that they can help support the school with. Most recently, the 10s decided to fundraise to help provide new desks for the students. They decided to make their own natural hand sanitizer and sold it at various school events and functions. The 8/9s explore service learning in our local community, connected to city parks, and green spaces like The Highline, or connected to the Hudson River with The River Project. Project Time is unique to Corlears and is a very special part of the upper grades experience

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