Lower School

Grades 1 - 5

Bambujaya Lower School Grades 1 - 5

Lower School Curriculum

The elementary years are lively and active at Bambujaya with much of the learning delivered through stories and images, hands-on lessons and the daily creation of Main Lesson books.  Stories are used to teach the alphabet and numbers in Grade 1 through to botany and Greek history in Grade 5. 

Tales of great deeds, ancient wisdom and cultural traditions combine with stories of animals, geography and mathematical processes to provide a solid academic foundation.

 

Program Overview

Following bilingual circle activities, lesson review and skills practice, grades children begin each day in a 90 minute Main Lesson with their class teacher.  For a period of 3-4 weeks, they experience an in-depth study of academic subjects: language arts, mathematics and social sciences.  Each child creates Main Lesson books of our different topics which contain beautiful, colourful drawings and relevant text.  These  truly reflect their own learning and replace standard textbooks with a living record of their progress through the grades.

 MathKhmerEnglishSocial StudiesScience
Grade 1Whole numbers, counting, four processes, skip countingAll letters, reading from own writing recitations, stories - fairy talesLetters, sounds, poems, songs, basic vocabulary, gamesNature stories and observation and appreciation of the natural world.
Grade 2Times tables, column addition/subtraction, place value, carrying and borrowingBlending sounds, reading typed print, changing vowel sounds, subscript. Stories - fables and legends of noble peopleReading from own writing, writing with upper and lower case letters, simple conversationsNature stories with observation of the environment and animal characteristics and qualities
Grade 3Measurement all types, column multiplication, times tablesSimple grammar and writing, speech work, stories - tales of struggle and overcomingBeginning grammar, simple stories, basic grammar in writingShelters of different types, house building, clothingFood production and farm life
Grade 4Word problems, averages, fractions, long division, factoringParts of speech, grammar rules, writing stories, stories - tales of conquerorsWriting and reading, verb tenses, spelling, short dictationCambodian geography, map making, local historyZoology - descriptive study of animals and their characteristics
Grade 5Decimals, fractions, reciprocals, mixed numbers, freehand geometryWriting creative, descriptive, elements of a story, stories - ancient history and mythologyLiterature, advanced conversation, grammar, reading comprehensionRegional Geography and study of the continent of AsiaBotany - study of plants, life cycles, relationships of plants and animals
 Drawing / PaintingMusicMovementHandwork / ModelingOther Subjects
Grade 1Curves, straight lines,
watercolor painting
primary and
secondary colors
Practice songs, choral singing in both languages, (learn) flute playingBalance, clapping,
jump rope, circle
games
Finger knitting, simple beeswax figures, basic needle knittingMay include:

Cooking
Kitchen skills, vocabulary, international samplings, proper hygiene and cleanup.

Drama
Self-expression, speaking and projection, vocabulary, cooperative activities.

Yoga
Balance, strength, self-confidence, creating stillness

Gardening
Connecting to nature, appreciation and care of the environment.
Grade 2Simple symmetry, running patterns, animal and plant forms.
Folk songs, flute,
rhythms, body
percussion
Tumbling, weaving,
hop-scotch,
cooperative games
Knitting and purling, casting on and off, beeswax scenes
Grade 3Colored pencil
patterns, nature and
shading, symmetrical
forming
Singing in rounds,
possible string instrument,
basic notation
Ring and line games, juggling, circle dancesCrochet - single and double or chain, beeswax cooperative scenes
Grade 4Hatching pencil
painting, interlocking
technique, landscape
patterns
Scales, string instrument, time valuesRunning, jumping
and throwing games,
obstacle courses
Cross-stitch and crochet, clay modeling forms
Grade 5Freehand geometry, architectural styles, darkness into lightScales - major and minor, harmony, string instrumentOlympic style games,
long jump, throwing,
sprinting
Multiple needle knitting, felting, clay, vases or paint shapes

Lower School: Grades 1 - 5

Grade 1

First graders have a keen interest in learning and wish to exercise the curiosity, focus and good habits they have developed in Kindergarten. They are now ready to come together and form a cooperative social group with an emphasis on formal learning, purposeful activity and the academic foundations that will carry them through the years ahead.  

Language 

Fairy tales from around the world and stories of nature foster children’s imagination while also exposing them to rich, expressive language and new vocabulary. Images and drawings are used to introduce the letters of the alphabet and from these naturally come words and sentences. Reciting poems and songs strengthens speaking and listening skills and also provides familiar material for beginning to write sentences.  

Mathematics

Numbers are taught in a lively, active way with many hands-on activities, as well as clapping, stamping and counting. Exciting stories with special characters introduce first graders to all four processes of mathematics: addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Children count gemstones, seeds and various classroom objects and become comfortable counting forward and backward as well as grouping objects to demonstrate math processes and create number sentences.  

Social Sciences

Simple stories about animals and our natural environment along with gardening, cooking and drama help children to connect to the world around them. Social sciences in the early grades are centered on the experience of interacting with their surroundings and each other to develop social awareness and an understanding of accepted norms. Building respect for others, allowing time for observation and understanding the qualities of what we discover in nature are all important tasks in the early grades. 

 

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Grade 2

Second graders are now comfortable with the study of different subjects and the daily rhythm of learning in the grades. They are eager to build on the work begun in first grade and are lively, active learners. As they step out further into the world, they often become slightly mischievous, testing the boundaries of acceptable behaviour. Animal fables provide lessons of natural consequences for trickster acts, while stories of noble people fill the children with a feeling for the greater good.

Language

As the study of language becomes more complex, children are learning to read through their own writing in Main Lesson books. Text is longer and contains different sentence structure and rich vocabulary. Most of the writing is associated with animal fables and the deeds of great people taken from a wide range of cultures. In addition to reading familiar text, children work with phonetic skills such as blending, and strengthening their memory with a growing number of sight words.

Mathematics

After acquiring a solid understanding of the quality of numbers and counting out, children now progress to expanding their ability in the four math processes. Through vivid and imaginative stories, they are introduced to place value, carrying and borrowing in addition and subtraction and comparing and ordering numbers. Main Lesson books are filled with pages of colourful illustrations of these concepts as well as examples of math problems solved. Second grade also begins the study of multiplication and division tables through movement and patterns.

Social Sciences

With a greater awareness of social interactions may also come a few misunderstandings. Developmentally, the children are trying out their independence and the fables and stories are specifically chosen to address their needs and behaviours. Attention is given to discussions about inclusion, respect and kindness. Nature is observed to reveal cycles and to deepen an understanding of the mineral, plant and animal worlds. Children’s natural love of animals is deepened through the fables as they explore behaviours, characteristics and habitats of a variety of animals both familiar and unknown.

 

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Grade 3

As children enter their ninth year, they demonstrate a greater self awareness and individuality, while also clearly feeling their own separation from the world. They experience wonder and doubt about their place in society, as well as questioning how and why human beings behave in certain ways. Stories of overcoming hardship and conflict balanced by the laws and guidance that people use to resolve their differences, help children to understand their own feelings and to work with them effectively. Emphasis on the practical study of food, shelter and clothing shows them that people have found a way to survive on earth and this is reassuring. These topics are complemented by the study of measurement which grounds third graders in activities that are purposeful and can be applied in everyday life.     

Language 

Language study becomes more formal this year with the introduction of basic punctuation, parts of speech, antonyms and synonyms. Spelling, organizing and sequencing ideas and the use of varied vocabulary are practised. Speaking and listening skills are well developed by this age and  lively discussions allow the children to confidently express themselves on lesson topics. From these discussions comes much of the text written in Main Lesson books and simple dictation is also introduced.    

Mathematics

The study of measurement is a focus in third grade and grounds the children in real life math situations and applications. Beginning with stories of how measurement systems developed, children are then introduced to linear, liquid and dry measure, weight and the concepts of time and money.  Activities may include the creation of sundials, rulers, and balance scales as well as shopping at local markets, measuring out spaces and creating an annual calendar.  

Social Sciences 

Practical life studies are at the centre of the third grade curriculum. The children’s growing curiosity about their own place in the world is expressed as the question, ‘How do people live and work?’. This is met with lessons about shelters and house building, the process of grain to flour to bread, farming in different cultures, and the production of natural fibres into clothing. Both regional and global perspectives are examined as the children consider factors that influence what type of house might be most practical or what grains are grown in different parts of the world.  

Gardening & Farm Trip

Third graders take an expanded role in tending to our school garden and also learn about the process of, and engage in, composting. As part of their study of farming, they may experience several days at a working farm and are able to learn about the cycle of food production and the care of animals. They gain a greater sense of independence as they take on new responsibilities and  cooperate with their classmates to prepare meals, set up sleeping areas and clean up after themselves. 

 

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Grade 4

Fourth graders emerge from the previous year with greater confidence in their own abilities and an enthusiastic desire to complete more complex tasks. They have now built a solid foundation in language and math and are ready to work independently on projects and written assignments. The  bold Norse legends from the far frozen north, provide an exciting background for their studies and allow the children to explore complex social situations.  

Language 

Emphasis is placed on new vocabulary, dictation, independent writing and correct sentence structure. Text is taken from the Norse legends which focus on strong personalities and social intrigue. During animal studies each child researches and writes a report and creates an artistic rendering of an animal of their choice. Skills, such as scanning for important information, summarizing what is read and discussing outcomes of a story, are all incorporated into their learning. 

Mathematics

Grade 4 is the year of fractions which are brought to life by stories, hands-on activities and drawings as the whole is broken into parts. To begin, children use many manipulatives to gain a solid understanding of fractions, before they move methodically onto the processes of adding and subtracting. Through extensive practice, they become comfortable with expansion and contraction, carrying and borrowing and calculating the fraction of whole numbers. Long division and practice of all math processes with large numbers into the hundred thousands along with mental math, are also included. 

Social Sciences

Zoology is introduced in Grade 4 with an in-depth study of different animals and their habitats, cycles of life, as well as their natural adaptations and behaviours. Attention is also given to the relationship between animals and humans and structural variations. In addition, children also begin a study of geography, which broadens their view of the world, by examining their local environment of home, school and extending out into Siem Reap, including its landmarks and geographical features. Animal shapes, map making and knotted forms expand the children’s artistic skills while challenging them with new techniques and materials.

 

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Grade 5

Fifth grade is often called the Golden Year, because children have reached a certain balance in their physical, emotional and intellectual development. They are comfortable in their movements, showing grace, and natural ability. Awareness of, and interest in, the world is balanced by a greater understanding of their own inner feelings. With stronger mental capacities, children are able to complete more complex and independent tasks. To align with these developmental  milestones, their studies span over thousands of years from ancient India, Persia and Egypt to ancient Greece. Stories not only include myths and legends, but also the historical beginnings of civilizations and their contributions to the cultures that followed.    

Language

This year focuses on sentence structure, varied vocabulary, and identifying and using various parts of speech to enliven written assignments and add interest. Grammar is approached more formally and children begin to proofread and correct their own writing. Organising ideas and sequencing thoughts are strengthened by class review of lessons and in-depth discussions of the events that occurred in the ancient civilizations. Fifth graders typically use these skills to create story summaries, complete a book report and research a topic in geography.  

Mathematics

After acquiring a concrete understanding of fractions, we transition into decimals with a review of place value and progressing to the fraction-decimal relationship. All four processes with decimals are practised, as well as comparing numbers. Complementing the study of ancient civilizations, different number systems are also introduced and children have the opportunity to write and calculate with them. Area and perimeter are demonstrated and calculated on various shapes.  

Social Sciences 

Our geography study extends to Cambodia and the surrounding Southeast Asian countries. The vastness of Asia is explored, including its many countries, landforms and cultures, as children trace the path of the mighty Mekong River and expand their map making skills. Botany is studied through careful observation and artistic presentations of many types of plants and cycles of nature. We begin with the natural world in science, focusing on regional plants, soils and climates in preparation for the more abstract topics introduced in middle school.

 

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