Riverside Presbyterian Day School

Core Curriculum

Every RPDS teacher serves on an academic Vertical Team. These teams are teacher led and structured to maximize the expertise of teaching at every grade level; PreK 3 through 6th Grade. A vertically aligned curriculum is developmentally inspired for optimal learning and student engagement. Our collaboration results in a learning model where faculty skillfully teach to the needs, curiosities, and learning styles of their students. Through high quality teaching and professional teamwork a superior RPDS curriculum is intentionally designed. We are committed to providing a solid academic foundation that is responsive to the hearts, hands and minds of each child.

Lower School: 1st - 3rd Grade

A challenging curriculum which nurtures the spirit and fosters the development of one’s self.

The Lower School spans the elementary school years, 1st - 3rd Grade. With small class sizes throughout, the vertically aligned curriculum builds the content knowledge, work habits and motivation necessary for students to develop strong academic and personal confidence. Within each self-contained classroom our Lower School teachers are dedicated to creatively teaching Literacy, Math, Science, and Social Studies content through comprehensive and engaging units of study. Their teaching infuses technology and writing in ways that prepare students for Upper School learning and success. Elementary school students are inspired to think creatively while working in small groups and are expected to demonstrate dedication and effort when learning independently. Lower School students frequently culminate lessons and units of study through performances, demonstrations and public speaking. Each academic day includes Physical Education and recess. Weekly enrichment instruction includes a Science lab experience, Bible, Music, Art, and Spanish classes, as well as visits to the Media Center. Lower School student character development is fostered and taught through living each day The Riverside Way.

Upper School: 4th - 6th Grade

Our graduates enter middle school knowing how to think critically, respect themselves and others, and conduct themselves in service leadership roles.

Comprised of 4th - 6th Grade, the Upper School at Riverside Presbyterian Day School provides a rigorous, enriched program of academic excellence and service learning. As students move from childhood to early adolescence, they gain opportunities to experience a middle school model learning schedule. Each Upper School class is taught by a subject area teacher highly trained in their expertise. Students move in a relaxed yet responsible manner to each of their core classes. These include English, Mathematics, History, Language Arts, Spanish and Science. Upper School students gain competency with technology and on-line textbooks as well as developing projects. The Upper School schedule includes daily Physical Education and recess. Additionally Upper School students attend weekly specialized courses including Art, Music, Drama and Bible and STEAM. Chinese is also offered as an optional course.

Upper school students demonstrate the RPDS Graduate Traits through daily school service, weekly chapel leadership and community service leadership projects. Upper School students’ commitment to service learning is invaluable to living the mission of Riverside Presbyterian Day School.

Singapore Math

Since 2011, RPDS has been utilizing the Singapore Math curriculum of Primary Mathematics (Standard Edition) as our schoolwide curriculum for Kindergarten through 6th Grade. This unified math curriculum brings consistent vocabulary, materials, and teaching strategies each year to create a math program that flows seamlessly across the grade levels. Key components of the Singapore curriculum include: mental math, whole group instruction, group activities, independent practices and model drawing. As students move through the curriculum, the approach is to help the students move from the concrete (actual manipulatives) to pictorial (drawings or pictures) to abstract (models, numbers or algebraic letters). With this framework students are able to progress and solve complicated ratios, fractions and word problems.

In addition to Singapore Math, in 2017, RPDS began using Reflex Math in 1st - 6th Grade to encourage and help develop math fact fluency at all levels. Reflex Math can be accessed at school or at home from any computer or iPad.

Global Studies

With ever-changing technological advances, our world has quickly become an international community, and the need to understand, work with, and collaborate with other people and other cultures has become a core competency for success in the modern world.

RPDS has thoughtfully incorporated global studies into its existing curriculum to help form a solid foundation of global understanding in our children that will continue to grow as they move into secondary schools. We continue to evaluate new initiatives to increase the global awareness of our students. Our global studies include:

Kindergarten – 6th Grade: Global Read Aloud (October through mid-November) – Partner with a classroom in another part of the world and discuss the same book that both classes are reading

1st Grade: Traveling Around the World – Brazil, Kenya, Egypt, Italy, China, India and Australia

2nd Grade: Flat Stanley – Learn about the characteristics of the three types of communities.

3rd - 6th Grade: Novel studies that tie into different cultures

5th Grade: Poetry from around the world

6th Grade: History - Ancient Civilizations

6th Grade Science : Level Up Village – A global partnership between RPDS and a school in Ghana sharing video letters and emails, and ending with a SKYPE session

Art/Music/STEAM: Several projects studying different cultures and backgrounds

Language Arts

The Upper School language arts department focuses on developing students' grammar, vocabulary, spelling, and handwriting skills. The department utilizes the Lucy Calkins Writing Units of Study. Both reading and writing are taught in a workshop environment, in which each student is able to work at an individualized, appropriate level.


The History program at RPDS is designed to give students a broad base of knowledge in the areas of geography, map skills, cultures, history and current events. The curriculum for 1st - 5th Grade are all teacher-created making the learning a unique RPDS experience. 1st Grade focuses on Passports Around the World, 2nd Grade on communities, 3rd Grade on Journey Across America, 4th Grade on Florida History and early American History, and 5th Grade on Post-Civil War History. Each of these curricula are literacy and project-based involving the students in nonfiction texts and many student-created projects or presentations. In preparation for middle school, finally our 6th Grade students study Ancient Civilizations and incorporate many projects and learning tools to engage the students and spark their global awareness.


Our Kindergarten - 6th Grade science classes use the Amplify Science Curriculum developed out of The Lawrence Hall of Science at UC - Berkeley. Amplify Science is a multimodal, hands-on program designed to help educators create the next generation of citizens who are curious, skeptical and evidence-based thinkers. The pedagogy is project-based with students exploring and solving authentic problems. This curriculum inspires students to read, write and argue like scientists in order to gain a better understanding of the world.