The springboard toward a lifetime of learning
The foundation of the Chicago City Day School curriculum is the study of core academic subjects. Through their explorations in math, science, social studies, and language arts, students gain insight into how the world works, learn how past events shape the present and influence the future, become savvy critical readers, and develop into skilled writers.
The language arts program at City Day develops a full range of literacy skills, from foundational reading and writing to sophisticated literary analysis. In the early grades, students learn how to decode words and recognize sentence structure via age-appropriate phonics, spelling, and reading lessons. As students advance, they read texts of increasing sophistication while exploring the basics of formal essay writing. In the higher grades, students provide in-depth analyses of literary works and submit original written work that is well organized, well researched, and gracefully constructed. Our teachers differentiate language arts instruction at all grade levels, allowing students to learn according to their unique styles and develop personal writing voices.
Our program exposes students to published writing of all kinds — nonfiction works, novels, poetry, and drama. In addition, we provide our students regular opportunities for public speaking, as we believe that verbally expressing ideas with clarity and eloquence is a key component of literacy education. Students graduate City Day with the strong reading and writing skills required for success in high school and beyond.
The math program at Chicago City Day School revolves around thinking and reason. Our teachers help students process information, gather data, and use logic to solve problems.
The youngest learners at City Day begin their math inquiry by studying numbers, counting, and patterns. Older elementary students move into core computational skills (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division) as well as percents and fractions. In the higher grades, math topics become more abstract, as students study geometry and algebra.
Throughout the program, teachers stress real-world applications of math, helping students discover how math concepts "live" in the world around us. Math inquiries are closely aligned with students' work in science and technology, which helps students make further connections about what they learn in class and how it applies to the real world.
The goal of City Day's science program is to ignite students' innate curiosity about how the world works. Our inquiry-based experiences provide a platform for students to become proficient in the scientific method. Viewing themselves as scientists, students think critically to answer questions and solve problems.
City Day students learn science by doing. They actively engage with the world, whether by maintaining live butterfly habitats in their classrooms or by exploring rock formations in Wisconsin. Our field experiences include trips to local museums and nature centers. Grade 5 engages in a series of environmental and outdoor educational experiences while on a three-day trip to Lorado Taft in Oregon, Illinois. Grade 7 travels to Wisconsin, where students visit Devils Lake State Park, The International Crane Foundation, and the Aldo Leopold Foundation to study concepts in geology and environmental science. Additionally, they travel to Huntsville, Alabama, to take part in the weeklong NASA Space Academy.
The annual in-school Science Fair provides the opportunity for students in senior kindergarten through grade 6 to explore an individually selected topic, develop and execute an experiment following the scientific method, utilize research skills, and visually and orally present their findings, all in a noncompetitive environment. Grade 8 students take part in the annual Friends of the Chicago River Student Congress, where they present research findings to an audience of peers, parents, teachers, and environmental professionals.
The main topic of exploration in our social studies program is people — how they live, how they organize, how they create. Students in all grades learn about history, geography, economics, culture, ethics and belief systems, social and political systems, and civic understanding and values. Specific topics of study include the politics, culture, religion, and art of ancient civilizations; the impact of the Chicago River on Illinois communities; the nuances of American government; and the fascinating history of the city we call home — Chicago. History in all its forms comes alive for students through the examination of primary sources, project work, simulations, field trips, debate, and theatrical productions.
The world which our graduates will enter requires that they be thoughtful and informed citizens capable of meaningful participation in a diverse society. Our social studies program enables students to be critical thinkers with a deep understanding of the world and its past.