The Rectory School

An Independent, Coed, Junior Boarding (5-9) and Day School (Early Childhood-9)

Elementary (K-4) OLD

Elementary School provides children with an enriching environment where each child is guided and encouraged to discover and celebrate his or her unique social, emotional, and cognitive potential, while experiencing the importance of community.Our foundation is grounded in child development theory, which believes in supporting the whole child and expands its integration of theory with the Constructivist view of education: children actively construct knowledge in their learning environment through inquiry and hands-on experiences. We offer experiences in Science, Language Arts, Mathematics, Social Studies, Music, Movement, Visual Art, Technology, and World Languages (Spanish), which center on science themes. Curriculum is designed by the teachers to incorporate all National and State of Connecticut standards, yet is child-centered and teacher and child-directed. Lessons are culturally diverse and expose children to different ideas and ways of doing things. Teachers, acknowledging the central role of the learner, structure classroom experiences that foster the creation of personal meaning.

Responsive Classroom:
We embrace the Responsive Classroom approach to teaching and learning, which is based on the premise that "children learn best when they have both academic and social skills. Seven principles guide the approach:

  • The social curriculum is as important as the academic curriculum.
  • How children learn is as important as what they learn; process and content go hand in hand.
  • The greatest cognitive growth occurs through social interaction.
  • To be successful academically and socially, children need a set of social skills: cooperation, assertion, responsibility, empathy, and self-control.
  • Knowing the children we teach—individually, culturally, and developmentally—is as important as knowing the content we teach.
  • Knowing the families of the children we teach and working with them as partners are essential to children’s education.
  • How the adults work together is as important as their individual competence; lasting change begins with the adult community.” (, 2008)

Assessments are portfolio-based. A collection of a child's work is gathered, including samples of completed assignments, photographs, anecdotal records, rubrics, and norm-based assessment tools, including formal and informal assessments. Most of the time, assessments is applied to guide a student's further learning, as well as to adjust teaching methods. A child's self-assessment is also an essential component of formative evaluation, and children are encouraged to reflect on their learning. Each fall, the children along with their parent and teacher offer goals for the year, which are then narrowed during a conference with the child and teacher. Final goals for each child are presented to families at fall conferences, and children join the conference format in the spring for a "shared" conference.

Children are guided to take active responsibility for their own learning and to develop the habits necessary for all children to become lifelong learners. We want the children to be engaged and empowered by their educational experiences while preserving the essence of childhood.

Maria Carpenter
Director of Elementary