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Our Core Classes

Language Arts

In keeping with its commitment to the tenets of sound child development theory, the School recognizes that not all children learn to read at the same time. Some children enter kindergarten as accomplished readers; others begin to read at a more traditional time. To accommodate these differences, a commitment to differentiated instruction characterizes the teaching of reading throughout the grades.

Reading is taught using a multi-faceted approach. In the primary grades, a distinct phonics curriculum strengthens decoding skills. Integral to the reading program is a variety of texts that ensure sequential skills development. Selection of age-appropriate literature completes this balanced approach to reading instruction.

The School places a high premium on verbal communication and public speaking. Students have daily opportunities to develop strong listening and speaking skills. Written communication is a key component of language arts, as well. Proficiency in both manuscript and cursive handwriting is expected, as is the acquisition of appropriate accuracy in spelling. Composition is taught and practiced daily; the strong writing program continues throughout the grades as students develop a personal writing voice.


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.

In the early grades, students develop a familiarity with numbers, counting, and patterns. Our math explorations then 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 explore 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. 


CCDS Science Lab

The goal of the School’s science program is to nurture the innate curiosity of children and inspire a passion for lifelong scientific learning. Inquiry-based experiences provide a platform for students to become proficient using the scientific method to explore the world around them. Viewing themselves as scientists, students think critically to answer questions and solve problems.

Science at City Day goes beyond the classroom and laboratory. Students experience and explore many local resources in Chicago and participate in overnight science field trips. 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 seven 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. Grade eight 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.

Social Studies

CCDS Social Studies Ancient Egypt

The world which our graduates will enter requires that they be thoughtful and informed citizens capable of meaningful participation in a democratic society. The ability to think critically about issues of local and national concerns is expected of students.

In their social studies classes, 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 — both local and national — debate, and theatrical productions.