Lower School


Explore our Lower School Curriculum


Our Nursery classrooms are wonderful places for a child's first school experience. We believe that play is the work of young children, and provide a rich curriculum to engage each child on a social, emotional, physical, and cognitive level.

We begin the year by building friendships. Children learn to separate from their parents through a gentle process of adjustment, and come to love the routines, risks, excitement, and independence of school. They engage their senses by playing with sand, water, and playdough, by painting at the easel and singing together. Children gain confidence with small and large motor skills by making wood sculptures, building with blocks and running, climbing, and playing on the playground.


The Pre-Kindergarten classroom is an open, playful environment, where children move around freely and interact with each other.

We believe that children learn best through a combination of play and teacher-directed activities, and we help children to develop friendships as they learn. We focus on the development of the whole individual, helping each child to develop language, social skills, and emotional readiness for kindergarten.


5 & 6 year olds are born storytellers, and their stories are the foundation of our curriculum. Kindergarten children arrive at school with a diverse palette of experiences. These reveal themselves as children discuss their paintings, build with blocks, construct collages and tell stories with pictures and words.

Their own words support emerging literacy, and we help them to experience and understand the relationship between sounds, letters, and words. Teachers further support the development of basic reading, math, and thinking skills by introducing literature, poetry, counting games, and science exploration.

Grade 1

In Grade 1, children learn to read, write, and do basic math, but the means through which they accomplish these feats are creative and inspiring. Children write and publish their own stories, and then sit in the class's Author's Chair to read them to their classmates. They study notable children's book authors, like William Steig or Eric Carle, and begin to imagine themselves as authors as well.

Early in the year, they begin to study mealworms, and then learn about metamorphosis. Children study the animals of the rainforest. First graders explore their neighborhood, and then expand to learn about New York City. In each realm of study, we start small and then let the children's natural curiosity expand and grow.

Grade 2

Second graders build on the firm foundations of their first grade year.

Their literacy is stretched as they write poetry, daily journal entries, and autobiographies. They read and write letters, fables, and stories of all kinds.

Second grade students add facility to their math skills and gain a deeper understanding of time and money. They begin to learn about the world outside of their immediate experience with the beginnings of geography. In Social Studies, children compare and contrast New York City with Tokyo, studying the transportation and buildings, and exploring how children live in each city.

Students learn through hands-on activities: creating a New York City subway car in their classroom hallway, writing haiku and "Poetry in Motion," performing a tea ceremony, building a model of the Brooklyn Bridge, and practicing origami. It is a year of growth and development, stretching children through concrete experiences toward greater mastery of the wider world.

Grade 3

Third graders begin the year with a study of geography, which includes writing our own continent riddles and researching own cultural backgrounds.

Students then move into a study of the Iroquois, which culminates with the building of our own realistic models of Iroquois longhouses. Students also compare and contrast the Iroquois and Sioux, coming to understand the influence of geography on culture.

In writing, students learn about the writing process as they write and edit memoirs, paragraphs, and poems in their Writers' Notebooks.

At the end of the year, the students publish a class-wide poetry anthology. Other Grade 3 milestones include learning cursive, multiplication, and division.

Grade 4

For a description of our fourth grade curriculum, we went right to the source. In a letter to incoming fourth graders, one student wrote the following:

Fourth grade is a big step to take, and I'm going to help you take it seriously. Fourth grade will help you achieve in academics, character, and kindness throughout your life. In order to do that, you need to pay attention, work carefully, and respect everyone around you. In social studies, we did a Jamestown Journal. We were assigned a person, events, and years to write about. We had to include facts about that time period when we wrote the journal. We also do something called "word of the day," where we look up the definition of a word and write it down.

In the fourth grade, we have lots of responsibilities. We run a fundraiser called Bread for Bread at Halloween, we organize the Festival of Lights in December, and volunteer in Prospect Park. But besides all the work, fourth grade will be your favorite year at Poly!
50 Prospect Park West, Brooklyn, New York 11215 | (718) 768-1103
9216 Seventh Avenue, Brooklyn, New York 11228 | (718) 836-9800