• Berwick
Lower School Academics

Grades Two, Two-Three, and Three Flex Model
The Grade 2-3 Flex Team is a union of the Second and Third Grade programs. While students will still advance in a traditional grade-to-grade sequence, this model allows for the three sections to establish themselves as cohesive homeroom classes, while promoting a variety of intra-grade and grade-specific regroupings.

Through varied hands-on, thematic units, students access overarching questions at their level of ability and interest. This model allows Berwick to build a stronger, larger learning community, yet provide more opportunities for differentiated instruction as well as collaboration and innovation within the respective classrooms.

Mixed-age grouping is very powerful for social and emotional learning. Younger children benefit from the positive modeling they witness from their older peers, and older students have the opportunity to be role models and to take on leadership roles. The social and academic flexibility that this model provides allows children to develop their self-awareness, confidence, and risk-taking abilities.

In this Flex Model involving second and third grade students, the morning schedule typically involves homeroom morning meetings (in the three different sections), leveled literacy classes (with second and third graders combining, as appropriate, based on reading levels), and grade-specific math classes. The afternoon schedule typically involves a combination of homeroom and grade-level writing classes, social studies classes, and Exploration (special subject) classes.

Theme: Time and Space

Essential Questions:
What is necessary for humans and animals to grow and survive in their environment?
What are the benefits and challenges to humans and animals when they seek out and adapt to new environments?
How can we describe the vast differences and similarities found within the United States and its regions?
Skills and Enduring Understandings:
Second and third grade students at Berwick explore living and survival patterns of humans and animals through the lens of nature, geography, and immigration.  Students, as they further transition from the process of “learning to read” to the process of “reading to learn” become immersed in literature and integrated activities that encourage a sensitive appreciation for the human condition, past and present.  Students also continue their growth as enthusiastic writers and readers, competent mathematicians, inspired participants within Exploration classes, and respectful friends within the second and third grade classrooms and throughout the Lower School.
Social studies is a key subject area within the second and third grade program, as the students build their knowledge and understanding of the United States throughout the school year. We travel through the five regions, Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, West and Southwest, and learn about each state within each region. We study capitals, mountain ranges, large rivers, landmarks, foods, climate, and more, in addition to learning a variety of interesting facts about each state within a region.  We also begin to better understand the vastness of our country and how regions differ from each other. This is an appropriate foundation as the children prepare for fourth grade and their study of the thirteen colonies and early American history.  
Beyond the social studies content material and project-based assignments, the Math in Focus program, various literacy class sessions, social emotional learning activities and the Exploration classes all round out an impressive second and third grade curriculum and collaborative focus.

Sample Schedule

List of 13 items.

  • 8:00-8:15 Arrival/Recess

    While students filter in for the day, they join their friends out on the playground for some outdoor time before the day begins.
  • 8:15-8:45 Morning Meeting

    As part of the Responsive Classroom methodology, students participate in a morning meeting which consists of a greeting, sharing, and activity.  This is a great way to set a positive tone for the day of learning ahead while also having fun and building the classroom community.  It is also an opportunity to give students rich experiences with the language arts and related integrated activities.
  • 8:45-9:55 Literacy

    With the support of literacy specialists, students are divided into leveled groups in order to receive specialized instruction based on their needs and abilities.
  • 9:55-10:10 Recess

  • 10:10-10:30 Morning Snack

    Students eat snack while enjoying seated dance parties and “Joke of the Day.”
  • 10:30-11:30 Math

     Specific lessons from the Math in Focus (Singapore Math) Program. 
  • 11:30-11:55 Lunch

  • 11:55-12:20 Recess

  • 12:20-12:30 Independent Reading

    Students practice building their endurance of reading independently, which is an explicitly taught skill that carries with them throughout their lives.
  • 12:30-1:30 Explorations Class

    Unified Explorations consist of various classes through the week in the following subject areas: art, library, music, passport to world culture, physical education, music, science, and world language.
  • 1:30-2:30 Social Studies or Choice Time

    Lessons and projects within the social studies curriculum OR individual students choose between 12-15 activities in the First, Second, and First-Second Grade (“Flex”) classrooms. Students often find their friends and choose from activities like LEGOs, crafts, music maker, games, iPads, puppet theater, Play-Doh, Magnatiles, and nature exploration.
  • 2:30-3:00 Explorations Class

    Children experience one of the Exploration (Art, Library, Music, Passport to World Culture, Physical Education/Wellness, Science, Technology and World Language) curriculum offerings in the Lower School.
  • 3:00-3:05 Pack-up and Dismissal

Serving Maine, The Seacoast of New Hampshire, and the North Shore of Massachusetts

Berwick Academy, situated on an 80-acre campus just over one hour north of Boston, serves 600 students, Pre-Kindergarten through grade 12, from Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine. Deeply committed to its mission of promoting virtue and useful knowledge, Berwick Academy empowers students to be creative and bold. Berwick strives to graduate alumni who shape their own learning, take risks, ask thoughtful questions, and come to understand and celebrate their authentic selves.  Founded in 1791 and rooted in a tradition of college preparation, our culture of innovation prepares students for a complex and dynamic world.