Riverside Presbyterian Day School

Enriched Curriculum

The depth and breadth of the enrichment curriculum at RPDS supports the development of the whole child.

The enrichment curriculum at Riverside Presbyterian Day School includes Spanish Language, Art, Music & Music Performance, Drama, Physical Education, STEAM, and Spiritual Formation. Each enrichment subject is taught by a teacher highly trained and passionate in their area of expertise. The enrichment curriculum is designed to deepen and broaden children’s thinking in ways that foster creativity, physicality, life-long learning and happiness; thus supporting the development of the whole child.


RPDS STEAM classes for 1st-6th Grade meet in the Makerspace Innovation Room. Here, children are exposed to a multitude of concepts from science, technology, engineering, art, and math. In this student centered environment, students take charge of their own learning by actively problem solving, working in groups, persevering, creating, and having fun. With a plethora of high and low tech tools to learn from and create with, students are exposed to essential skills from computational thinking to how to sew on a button that will help them further develop into lifelong learners. The RPDS makerspace is home to a variety of educational robots, multitudes of circuitry technology, 3D printers, a laser cutter, as well as tools for wood crafting, textiles, paper craft, art supplies, and miscellaneous recyclables just waiting for a child's imagination to transform them into something spectacular.

Music and Performance


The foundational approach to music at RPDS supports a wide range of musical interests and skills.

As students transition into 1st - 6th Grade, music instruction combines the philosophies of Carl Orff, Zoltan Kodaly, and Emile Jaques-Dalcroze in order to engage students in a research-based holistic approach to experiencing and creating music. Each child explores the basics of performing, composing, and understanding music by means of singing, body percussion, imitation, improvisations, guided listening, instrument playing, music theory instruction, creative movement, dance, storytelling, and drama. We are especially pleased to offer our students the finest selection of musical instruments for their exploration and enjoyment in our Orff Instrumentarium.

RPDS is proud to showcase our students’ musical and dramatic talents in grade level productions throughout the year, including traditional Christmas programs, the 1st and 2nd Grade Musical, the 5th and 6th Grade Musical, Chapel performances, and community music outreach opportunities.

Children who receive private music lessons outside of school are given frequent opportunities to share their talents with their classmates, teachers, and families during “Grand Instrument Week.”

Riverside Presbyterian Day School is also the host site for many national and local performance groups. Through the exposure to music that these programs offer, our students are enriched and inspired to reach new heights in music!

Music Performance

Two times per week, our 5th & 6th Grade students are given in-depth instruction on playing the recorder, various barred and non-pitched percussion instruments, ukuleles, composing their own pieces, improvising with style, and singing skillfully. They showcase their talents in several performances throughout the year both on and off campus. Riverside Presbyterian Day School graduates have the music theory skills they need to accurately sight-read musical notation and they have the experience they need to perform comfortably with any musical ensemble of their choice.

Foreign Language


The RPDS Spanish program engages the hearts, hands, and minds of our students with an encouraging and positive learning environment for Peninsular and Latin American language and cultural studies. We encourage our learners to develop true appreciation and openness for all languages and cultures in order to become global citizens. Students are engaged in multi-dimensional world language pedagogical methods intertwined with appropriate world language technologies. As students pursue their global studies it is our aspiration for them to continue their curiosity and openness for others and their cultures.

PreK 3 - 3rd Grade students continue to acquire practical vocabulary and useful Spanish skills through total physical response (TPR), comprehensive pictorial system, authentic activities, and partial immersion experiences. By the end of 3rd Grade, students are able to communicate effortlessly in Spanish regarding such topics as the weather, feelings and telling time. Students are able to perform simple tasks, such as retrieving paper and pencil, shutting the door, or walking to the front of the classroom when requested in Spanish. Learning Spanish includes geography and cultural study.

Spanish 1 Program

The curriculum for the Spanish I program in 4th - 6th Grade exceeds common core standards in the areas of writing, reading, listening, and speaking. The students benefit immeasurably by learning self-expression in Spanish through total physical response (TPR), whole-brain pedagogical methods, communicative language teaching (CLT), while utilizing real-world applications from a communicative and grammar-centered approach to language study, enabling students to advance to the next level during middle school. Students lead our communicative based classroom for successful language acquisition and cultural appreciation while engaged in authentic experiences in Peninsular and Latin American Spanish culture. Each grade level builds upon the previous year's curriculum which scaffolds into natural, continuous language acquisition.


At RPDS, we offer three levels of Mandarin Chinese for 4th - 6th Grade students. In addition to the three levels, RPDS has an advanced course that teaches students who have had outside school experience learning Chinese. Throughout all classes, instruction is given in Chinese. A key component to the success of the Mandarin Chinese curriculum is that the courses are cumulative. Immersing students in the language and having them daily revisit every word builds their confidence and mastery of the Chinese vocabulary. Having a cumulative curriculum helps create a more lasting retention.

Mandarin Chinese is introduced through a picture system. Pictures are studied and practiced in the context of complete sentences. Students learn vocabulary and grammar with self-explanatory photos. From day one students are able to say full sentences. Students initially focus on using pinyin, letters that are similar to our English alphabet to spell their Chinese words. Students are able to read and write pinyin. Students are able to correctly pronounce the learned words. In time, students transition to learning Chinese Characters. The Chinese Characters are logograms that originated from pictures or pictographs. Students simplify and start with radicals and then use those as the building blocks to create more complex characters.


Every student at Riverside Presbyterian Day School participates in a weekly non-denominational Bible class. These classes present an age appropriate telling of a Bible story and an application of the truth that story holds for them. By 3rd Grade our students are reading the stories themselves from the NRSV translation. Bible classes incorporate a variety of teaching methods including play, conversation, worship, songs, stories, videos, interactive Smartboard presentations, iPad projects, maps, drawing, drama, and puzzles.

The entire school attends a Thursday chapel service that is held in the sanctuary of the Riverside Presbyterian Church. Parents are encouraged to join their children for worship. Our 6th Grade servant leaders take the lead as the liturgists, greeters and flag bearers. A variety of worship leaders participate representing the school and church community as well as the greater Jacksonville community.

“Train children in the right way, and when old, they will not stray.” Proverbs 22:6

Visual Arts

The RPDS Art program provides a strong, robust foundation for budding young artists. The underlying premise is naturally conveyed that every child is an artist. The curriculum is designed to celebrate developmental stages as students explore and experiment with expressing themselves through visual art. As they embark on a journey through Art, students encounter a variety of media to create both two-dimensional and three-dimensional masterpieces. Art history is creatively interwoven throughout the projects. Cameo projects feature art careers and some projects highlight collaboration with other units of study. Art embraces technology providing opportunities for computer graphics as well as a digital portfolio for every student. Artwork is always on display around the school. Student artwork is in high demand in the community and we proudly display art in doctors’ offices, banks, restaurants and other venues. The RPDS art journey culminates in the introspective 6th Grade Art Exhibit.


The Risley Media Center is open to all RPDS students, on campus and beyond. During the school day, students visit the library independently or in class groups. They participate in learning activities centered on the classroom curriculum, as well as fun activities that help develop a sense of inquiry, a love of reading and life-long learners. To support and nurture our students, we provide access to 18,000 print books and multiple online research tools. In our commitment to support our students wherever they may be, our online catalog and research resources are available to students 24/7, wherever there is Internet access.