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At the core of the Learning Gate Community School’s curriculum is the environment. Our environmental education class focuses on nurturing students’ “inborn sense of wonder” about the world around them. In the early grades the emphasis is on exploring and investigating the natural habitats and the creatures that we encounter. As the students get older, we introduce them to different groups of plants and animals as well as methods used by real scientists to study them. In the older grades, students begin to focus on more challenging concepts and conduct experiments around the campus. By the time students complete the fifth grade, they will have a broad knowledge of the plants and animals found on the Learning Gate campus, basic ecological concepts, and be ready to apply it to real-world issues when they get to middle school.

Our motto at Learning Gate is “Nature is Our Best Teacher” and our school garden is at the heart of our environmental education program. The school’s garden is the perfect setting for experiential learning and application of common core standards taught in the classroom. Our younger students learn about the lifecycle of plants and where food comes from as they grow and taste their own food. Older students practice measuring, weighing, graphing, collecting data, and learning about properties of matter as they turn fruit and veggie scraps into nutrient-rich compost. The garden is not limited to science and math activities. Students may also be found going on an adjective scavenger hunt or writing poetry amongst the flowers.

The skills and knowledge captured in the ELA/literacy K-5 standards are designed to prepare students for life outside the classroom. They include critical-thinking skills and the ability to closely and attentively read texts in a way that will help them understand and enjoy complex works of literature. Students will learn to use cogent reasoning and evidence collection skills that are essential for success in college, career, and life.

Primary Reading

The students in Kindergarten through second grade use The Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Journeys reading program. The program includes the key elements of reading instruction, from comprehension to decodable readers. The components of the program and the activities and strategies presented throughout are based on current research and best instructional practice. The Journeys program provides students with the skills they need to succeed, preparing them ultimately for the high literacy demands. In the program, students develop reading comprehension skills as well as developing their skills as critical thinkers, writers, speakers, listeners, and communicators.

Intermediate Reading

The students in third grade through fifth grade participate in activities and lessons developed and integrated through the novels listed below. Students participate in literature circles, class discussion, and journaling activities. The standards in grades 3-5 include expectations for reading, writing, speaking, listening, and language. Students are given many opportunities to become proficient in reading and interpreting complex informational text independently in a variety of content areas.


Under One Rock
Turtle Splash
In One Tide Pool

First Grade

From Seed to Soup
Owl at Home
Amazing Whales

Second Grade

Gopher Tracks
A Dolphin Named Bob

Third Grade

Bartleby and the Mighty Mississippi
The Missing Gator of Gumbo Limbo
Out of the Deep

Fourth Grade

The Talking Earth
The Cay

Fifth Grade

A Land Remembered Volume 1
A Land Remembered Volume 2


Pearson enVisionmath 2.0 Common Core Math Program is used in grades K-5. This comprehensive mathematics curriculum offers flexibility of print, digital, or blended instruction. enVisionmath 2.0 provides the focus, coherence, and rigor of the Common Core State Standards with project-based learning, visual learning strategies, and extensive customization options for all students.


Students are introduced to scientific practices including asking questions, constructing models, planning investigations, analyzing data, using math, forming explanations, evidence based argument, and communication. Students increase their critical thinking skills and use them to make meaningful connections between school community, work, and global issues.

Social Studies

Students are introduced to concepts related to history, geography, economics, and citizenship. Through community service, students understand their part in a community and the world as a whole. Students develop the ability to see cause and effect relationships and how they can affect the classroom, school, community, and world. Students also have the opportunity to understand how individuals and events influenced later events in the development of our nation.