The curriculum serves as a strong framework to structure students’ learning. The curriculum is consistently reviewed and revised to address the changing needs, and interests, of the children.

As areas of study develop, students have a voice and are given opportunities to pose questions and express their ideas. Corlears strives to create an environment where children are passionate about what they are learning.

Thematic studies with strong links between social studies and science serve as the core curriculum at Corlears. In addition to their classroom teachers, students work with specialists in Spanish, art, music, library, technology and physical education and movement. Teachers and specialists collaborate to design curricula and set goals and objectives based on developmental stages of children as well as the particular needs of the children in their classes and provide an integrated curriculum.

Literacy, quantitative reasoning, scientific inquiry, problem solving and artistic expression are incorporated into every child’s course of study at Corlears. The curriculum addresses the social, emotional, physical and cognitive needs of young children. 

Social Studies and Humanities

Social studies provide a central thread for classroom study. In tandem with science, this work forms the core curriculum for a child’s course of study for the school year.

Inquiry-based investigations which focus the students’ learning around making connections and gaining insights, allows them to develop a deeper understanding from the inside out. The children are invested in the journey in learning about how food comes from farms to markets, or how the sanitation and recycling program impact our city, or how life was similar or different for the people and families who immigrated to New York City so many years ago.

Being tucked away in this wonderful area of the city, we have an amazing opportunity to utilize the city’s resources as an extension of the classroom. Whether it is the Highline, Hudson River Park, or Union Square Market and Library, or one the many museums across the city, the rich and varied opportunities for hands-on experiences are a core component to our social studies and humanities curriculum. We venture often into the neighborhood close by, as well as into many other parts of the city and outer boroughs. No study takes place in only the classroom. The social studies curriculum at Corlears is the anchor for all learning and exploration, beginning in the 2s all the way up through the 10s. Back to top. 


At Corlears, student engagement in scientific inquiry and social studies is often interwoven. Thematic studies that comprise the core curriculum lead to many investigations that cross disciplines.

For instance, students in the 8/9s learn about the Lenape people who lived in this region and also learn about the flora and fauna of their environs. Our curriculum is designed to encourage students to view the world with wonder and curiosity and to provide them with the tools needed for scientific inquiry. Children get to know themselves as biological beings and learn to become responsible caretakers of the environment. Categories of study include living things, Earth and space, matter and energy.

During our investigations we encourage children to think both logically and creatively. They develop inquiry skills including classifying, hypothesizing, identifying variables, predicting, recording and interpreting data and creating models in various forms. Many classrooms have living pets and windowsills are homes to growing plants and decomposing vegetables. The children become active observers of the world around them. Corlears is dedicated to maintaining a comprehensive recycling program. Students at all levels are participants in the school’s recycling efforts and compost organic waste from their classrooms. Back to top


A primary goal of our literacy program is to foster a love of reading and writing. With that in mind, even our younger students in the 2s and 3s are exposed to emergent phonemic awareness, to begin developing sound symbol correspondence, rhyming, initial letter recognition. Beginning in the 4s, children start to hone their focus on developing verbal expression and listening, fluent letter sound correspondence, formation of letters, solid rhyming and early phonics and phonological awareness. Beginning with the 6s, and increasing in complexity up through the 10s, the use of reading groups, book discussions and writing related to reading, serve to continue to develop fluent decoding, vocabulary expansion, and both verbal and written comprehension. These skills are reinforced across content areas, in math, science and social studies as well.

One of the hallmarks of the literacy program at Corlears is the interchange between younger and older students. As students progress through the school they actively participate in a balanced program which features abundant opportunities for reading and writing; the use of quality literature; well planned and purposeful instruction and interaction among students in the process of becoming competent, independent readers and writers.

Though we do incorporate many aspects of technology within the literacy work at Corlears, efficient letter formation continues to be taught in a consistent manner throughout the school. Handwriting Without Tears is the program used to teach both manuscript and cursive forms. Spelling, grammar and punctuation are addressed individually and in group settings. Children write letters, stories, descriptive pieces, poetry, plays, research reports and write in various journals across the curriculum.

In addition beginning in the 7s students are given guidance and practice in taking standardized tests. 10 year-olds are also given opportunities to refine test taking strategies as they prepare for middle school entrance exams. We provide on-site ISEE test prep during the fall of the 10s program, for all students. Back to top. 


Children engage in inquiry-based activities designed to help them understand concepts related to number, space, and time. We know that most children enjoy finding patterns and creating order in their world.

We use the TERC Investigations program to provide a foundation for helping students to think creatively, develop efficient problem-solving strategies and work cooperatively. We investigate topics that include number sense, geometry, measurement, patterns and function, data analysis, addition, subtraction, place value, multiplication and division. Throughout the year, these topics are integrated in projects related to broader classroom explorations. We also emphasize the communication of mathematical thinking.

Children are expected to use words, pictures and models to describe their ideas and explain strategies. They use manipulatives, calculators and computers as tools to enhance exploration and understanding. Experiences that develop computational fluency are integrated into all aspects of our work. Back to top. 


Corlears students are proud of the diversity of their school, neighborhood and city. One way we foster this pride is to give students a tool to further connect with others, through learning the Spanish language.

Beginning in the 2s the children are exposed to the language through storytelling, singing, dance, cooking and art. They explore an array of vocabulary centered on numbers, colors, feelings, family words and animals. As the children move into kindergarten they begin to work to reinforce vocabulary knowledge through morning meeting routines that mirror the work of their regular classrooms work, such as : calendar, weather, greetings and songs, all in Spanish. Starting in the 6s children begin to incorporate their developing vocabulary into writing activities, book making and interactive games. When they reach the 8/9/10s the children are beginning to develop and practice their conversational Spanish and begin to receive homework to help reinforce what they are learning in school. Back to top. 

The Arts

Studio Art

The visual arts are integrated into every classroom and all students spend structured time in the art studio as well. The atelier offers an abundance of art supplies and materials gathered and presented in a way that inspires creativity. It provides students with a place to experiment with those materials and to become immersed in an environment brimming with art and objects which stir the imagination. The goal of the studio program is to help students build independence and confidence in the use of a wide range of materials and techniques used for self expression. Student work is displayed prominently throughout the school building with an emphasis on process rather than product.

Beginning in the 2s and journeying up through the 10s, the children explore materials and mediums such as: clay (pottery and sculpture), various paints and painting techniques, charcoals and pastels, recycled materials, printing techniques, photography, woodworking, and mosaic titling.


Students of every age develop musical and social skills through singing, playing games, participating in movement activities and playing instruments. Our intention is for children to develop a lifelong capacity for the enjoyment of music and the ability to expand that interest independently and in collaboration with others as they grow. Children build a repertoire of nursery rhymes, songs, poems, folk, world music, Jazz and Classical, and also compose and improvise music of their own. Orff instruments and Kodaly techniques are used to help children develop a keen understanding of tone, rhythm, melody and harmony as the fundamental building blocks for music making. Music, songs, movement and dance that relate to the core curriculum are also integrated to broaden a child’s appreciation of different cultures or traditions. Beginning at age four, all students have an opportunity to sing in their class chorus, and to participate in Orff and percussion ensembles. The 10’s play the flute, trumpet or violin for the whole year. There are ample opportunities for performance throughout the year. After school ensembles are available, as well as private instrumental lessons. Back to top. 

Physical Education

Physical education at Corlears emphasizes body awareness, teamwork, health and fitness. Children have fun in the gym and the yard as they develop large and small motor skills and coordination while playing games that stimulate imagination and strategic thinking.

In the 2/3s the PE teacher works with the children during their yard time. This provides a natural entry point for physical activities and encourages children to begin to develop a relationship with the teacher without leaving the comforts of their familiar spaces. They are exposed to a variety of materials and games which allow them to not only develop small and gross motor agility, but also allows them to practice turn taking, following instructions and good sportsmanship. Beginning in the 4s and beyond, the children go to the gym twice weekly.  

Students often develop their own games and accompanying rules.  The children work together to communicate and follow those rules.  They play cooperative games that help develop important skills and build endurance—skipping, jogging, climbing ropes, sliding on scooters, throwing and catching. Children explore different cooperative sports as a means of team building, teaching conflict resolution and self-regulation.

Older students begin to play some competitive games and are offered a wider compliment of physical education experiences.  Along with having fun, these activities help students develop positive peer relationships, team work and a respect for fair play. Students learn the fundamental skills of such sports as volleyball, basketball, soccer, and floor hockey. Students have the opportunity to hone their skills in a full-size gym once a week at a neighborhood high school. Movement specialists work with students on a weekly basis beginning in January to develop greater body and spatial awareness, coordination and personal expression. Back to top. 


The library is an inviting space designed to advance the school's mission of stimulating intellectual curiosity and promote learning through active investigation. Please check out our current catalogue.

Library classes are constructed to spark the individual reading interests of each student, support the classroom curriculum, and teach information literacy. Students are introduced to a variety of storytelling formats, engage in author studies, are able to express themselves creatively, and practice beginning research skills.

Checking Out:

Who? How many? How long
3/4s 1 book 1 week
Kindergarten 1 book 1 week
6/7s 2 books 1 week
8/9s 3 books 1 week
10s 4 books 1 week
Parents and Administrative Staff 4 books 2 weeks
Corlears Teachers 25 books Two weeks


Technology is used in many ways to enhance learning and to ensure that students develop important competencies needed to thrive in today's world.

Students learn to use computers to organize, gather and present information and communicate their ideas. Classroom teachers and the technology specialist help students to do research, write papers, and create and deliver presentations. Software programs such as Microsoft Word, Inspiration and PowerPoint are frequently used, as well as several others. Students make use of e-mail and the Internet and learn acceptable use practices for each. The classroom is outfitted with laptops for each student and an interactive SMARTBOARD for teacher and student use.

All 1st-5th grade classrooms have a Smart Board, which are used interactively with students and teachers for all subject areas. Children begin working with the technology teacher starting in the 4s, leaning how handle and manage basic functions of iPads and laptops. They also explore many drawing programs, math and literacy apps and create various social studies projects connected to technology. In the 6s and beyond, technology is often integrated into library, science, writing and literacy and even math. The children have access to laptops from the mobile carts in the 6s-9s, and iPads are a regular tool at all ages, with frequent use in the 10s. Back to top. 

Student and Family Support

We take time to get to know each student well and work to understand his/her particular strengths and needs. Students take an active role in their own learning as we nurture the meta-cognitive awareness of how they learn best and what their strengths and needs are. 

In the instances when students require additional support that goes outside of the classroom teacher’s purview, we are fortunate enough to have a full time Learning Support Coordinator and a School Counselor, who work in conjunction with the teachers and families to assess, monitor and guide additional learning supports that may be required. 

Our Learning Support Coordinator is highly experienced in language development, literacy and developmental learning. The LSC works classroom teachers and families to help facilitate and monitor progress of a struggling student, as well as coordinate communication between teachers and outside support providers. The LSC also works 1:1, or in small groups with students, as needed. We utilize both a pull out and push in model, depending on the needs of the student and the plan designed by the teachers and the LSC. 

Our School Counselor also works with students and families, in conjunction with the LSC to address potential social emotional needs related to academics. The counselor also spends time with students both 1:1 and in small groups, as needed. It is a wonderful way to integrate the social emotional growth of a child, in relation to his/her developmental learning. The school counselor is also available as a direct support to families who may have questions about concerns they would like advice and guidance with. Back to top.