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K-5 Learning

Great Valley School District's educational program is guided by our mission statement and its focus on the whole child. We strive to engage our students in learning that is rigorous and relevant while also igniting their interests and passions. Learn more about the core areas of our curriculum, as well as about special areas, below.

teacher reading with student

K-6 Core Content Areas


Within all Great Valley elementary classrooms, students engage in a workshop instructional approach to the teaching and learning of reading and writing.  As students experience the joy of authentic reading and writing, they are motivated to learn and develop new literacy skills and strategies and inspired to be lifelong readers and writers.  All of our students read and write every day. From the first day of kindergarten, students see themselves as readers and writers with something to learn and something to say that is important. They begin telling stories with pictures, adding more and more detail, and then they bring what they are learning in phonics to their writing to build their own words, sound by sound. As students move across the grades, students transition from building words to building sentences and paragraphs.

Across the English Language Arts block, literacy instruction is delivered through both explicit and implicit instructional models. Instructional content is aligned to the PA Core Standards and includes reading and writing skills and strategies, phonics, word study and handwriting. Phonics and word study supports the further development of vocabulary, spelling, and decoding.  The elementary literacy program builds the foundational skills necessary for students to read and communicate across a variety of genres.  In all grades, students learn to read fiction and nonfiction with more and more complexity and write narrative, informational and opinion pieces through different units of study across the school year.  The literacy program in Great Valley enables teachers to support students in becoming lifelong, confident readers and writers who display agency and independence in their future endeavors.    


K-5 students engage in math learning that balances deep conceptual understanding with computational skills to assist them in becoming successful critical thinkers and innovative problem solvers. The K-12 Great Valley School District math program is aligned to the PA Core Standards for Mathematics, focused on math content across all domains as well as mathematics practices.

The elementary mathematics block incorporates a variety of academic experiences to ensure that students remain actively engaged in their learning. Daily lessons include interactive activities such as Number Talks, Notice and Wonder, Which One Doesn’t Belong?, and Anchor Tasks. Hands-on learning is emphasized through the use of manipulatives and is scaffolded, so students are able to access new learning through a progression from concrete to pictorial to abstract.  

The scope and sequence used at each grade level ensures that mathematical skills and strategies are strategically taught and built upon themselves as the years progress. Lessons are designed to encourage promotion of mathematical discourse and problem solving. Mathematical structures are also put into place to provide opportunities to push student thinking or review concepts as needed.  


The science program extends the focus of problem-solving through the inquiry process.  Students will examine characteristics, needs, and life cycles of organisms.   They will strengthen their skills in comparison, observation, and description as important tools for scientists.  Through a variety of investigations, students look at key concepts, including cause and effect, interactions between and among systems, interdependency, and how environments impact change over time.   

Social Studies 

The learning opportunities in the Social Studies curriculum focus on various areas of the social sciences including culture, political science, history, and geography.  Students will look at the impact of culture and groups on how they develop as individuals.  The class will examine how leadership influences people and how people influence the physical environment.  Students will look at different communities and cultures throughout the world and how the members of the community influence the lives of others.  Additional learning opportunities explore how technologies and economies influence change. 

The Great Valley Board of School Directors approved a revised social studies curriculum for the 2023-2024 school year. The changes apply to the curriculum for students in grades K-9. Click here to learn more.

K-4 Special Areas