1st through 4th Grade

Primary School

Gifted children thrive in classrooms where teachers can meet the varied academic and affective needs of students. Each class is filled with diverse learners with various interests, abilities, and talents working in a stimulating, challenging, and safe learning environment.



Our curriculum is designed so students master core academic content while making connections across curricular areas and developing thinking and reasoning skills. Teachers use the workshop model in reading and writing, with targeted small group instruction. There is an emphasis on nonfiction reading closely integrated with interdisciplinary units as well as upon appropriate reading around individual student interests and passions. Students who need additional skill work in reading may receive small group support from our Reading Specialist.



Ricks uses Bridges in Mathematics as our primary math curriculum from Kindergarten through grade 5. This curriculum emphasizes skill acquisition and application of math skills. All teachers use pre- and post- unit assessments to accurately determine appropriate placement and differentiation. The curriculum is regularly compacted and extended; students may be accelerated by grade or by unit as needed.

Interdisciplinary Units

Ricks develops interdisciplinary units based upon Next Generation Science Standards(NGSS) and National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) standards. These units are thematic and tied together around an overarching idea such as Patterns, Change, or Conflict. During each unit, students delve deeply into a topic, learning core concepts through the eyes of a practitioner. There are multiple opportunities for student choice in projects that demonstrate student learning.


All students through Grade 4 have time set aside weekly for Exploration. This time allows students to experiment with materials in the Creative Recycling Center or the Innovation Lab, as well as to explore new ideas through reading, writing, and discussion.

Social Emotional Learning

All students at Ricks have regular instruction in understanding themselves as children, as learners, and as gifted learners. Topics that are discussed include friendship, executive functioning skills, perfectionism, and personal responsibility.


Primary students have Connections classes in art, music, physical education and Spanish. These classes provide a well-rounded, diverse and robust learning experience that supports and enhances regular classroom lessons.

Meet our Connections Specialists

1st-4th Grade

Themed Units

Through an integrated, student-centered curriculum, each class spends up to 16 weeks delving deeply into a theme-based unit. Each unit encompasses all major subject areas, including language arts, science, math, and social studies. With three units covered each academic year, students investigate community connections, keep journals, and experience authentic learning as architects, scientists, reporters, and much more. In addition to being incorporated into the thematic units, literacy and math are taught on a daily basis.

Throughout each unit, students will be engaged in the processes of inquiry and investigation within the real world context. They will be working cooperatively and independently to explore topics through problem finding and solving, within authentic learning tasks. We will focus on scientific and cultural traditions, historical content, and current issues. We believe learning tasks are authentic when students use their content skills (what they understand) along with their knowledge skills (what they will be able to do, creating). When our students truly understand, they will be able to explain, interpret, and apply the knowledge that they have gained, developing a deeper understanding of each subject and continuing their journey on becoming lifelong learners.

An Environment of Risk-Taking, Openness, and Self Awareness

We believe the key to successful academic growth is integrating social-emotional learning with academic learning. We believe how children learn is as important as what they learn. To be successful academically and socially, children need to learn a set of social and emotional skills that include cooperation, assertiveness, responsibility, empathy, and self-control. Students will participate in "Morning Meeting" so as to start each day on a positive note building a strong sense of classroom community. This will allow students to approach learning with open minds and a willingness to take academic risks. Students will be involved in planning service learning projects and kindness projects along with developing their social-emotional comprehension and competencies through targeted lessons for the whole group, small group, and individual needs. We will have many activities and discussions that will give the students the opportunity to participate in community building in the classroom, throughout the whole school, and in the community.

Beyond the Basics

Students in 1st-4th grades will have Spanish, PE, Art and Music

Students in 1st-4th grades will enjoy multiple unit related field trips and in-school visitors to enhance the learning experience including all-class birthday celebrations to Valentine's Day performances at a retirement center, from multi-age reading buddies to our annual talent show, building leprechaun traps and more.