Academics and Curriculum

Core Knowledge

The “Core Knowledge” movement is an educational reform based on the premise that a grade-by-grade core of common learning is necessary to ensure a sound and fair elementary education. The movement was started by Professor E. D. Hirsch, Jr., author of Cultural Literacy and The Schools We Need, and is based on a large body of research in cognitive psychology, as well as a careful examination of several of the world’s fairest and most effective school systems. Professor Hirsch has argued that, for the sake of academic excellence, greater fairness, and higher literacy, early schooling should provide a solid, specific, shared core curriculum in order to help children establish strong foundations of knowledge.

From the Core Knowledge Foundation website http://coreknowledge.org/ FAQs

The Core Knowledge Curriculum emphasizes high-level performance skills in core subjects such as Language Arts, Mathematics, History, Civics, Geography, Science, Art, and Music. Computer Technology and Physical Education are included so that each student will have a well-rounded educational foundation. One might think of Core Knowledge as the K-8 equivalent of a great college liberal arts education. It has the depth and breadth to help our learners develop a strong and solid foundation for future learning. For more information about Core Knowledge, visit the foundation’s web site, http://coreknowledge.org/

What is the Core Knowledge sequence?

For years, educators have identified skills that should be taught at each grade level, but content decisions have been left to individual classroom teachers. Thus, a vast disparity of topics is taught depending on the personal interests and expertise of some teachers. The progression of curriculums across some school’s grades and even within the same grade level has been quite unorganized.

The Core Knowledge Sequence was developed to provide students with a rich vocabulary and broad knowledge base on which future instruction can build, broaden, and deepen. The ultimate goal is to ensure that all children are given access to the same knowledge base that assures later educational success.

Thus, the Core Knowledge Sequence provides a detailed, explicit, and systematic sequence of grade-specific content that can be taught consistently year after year. This core content is organized to spiral through the grade levels, becoming more sophisticated and detailed in each successive grade. The sequence revisits topics about every three years in increasing depth. Thus, advanced knowledge is built upon foundational knowledge taught in earlier grades.

Our experience shows that students retain information much longer and develop skills more easily when meaningful content is combined with the teaching of skills.

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