SSL Certificate

Enriched Curriculum

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

The enrichment curriculum at Riverside Presbyterian Day School includes: Spanish Language, Art, Music & Music Performance, Drama, Health & Wellness, 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 PreK-6 Grade.

PreK 3 and Pre K 4 STEAM

RPDS’ Early Learning Center STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) program believes that future innovators need to be able to see past the slick, shiny, new products of the world and to view themselves as competent, creative, individuals that are not afraid to tinker with construction, question systems, and to explore new possibilities.

RPDS Kindergarten and PreK 4 STEAM is focused on maker-centered learning. The goal is to demystify the built world and to encourage the realization that the world is malleable. The ELC STEAM room is equipped with a green screen, cameras, lighting, iPads, craft material, wood, and many recycled items including plastics, cardboard, household items and garage items.

1st - 6th Grade STEAM

RPDS believes that learning by doing should be an important component of a student’s educational journey. In 2013, Riverside Presbyterian Day School began a commitment to the STEAM/Makerspace movement that was gaining popularity across the country and began offering weekly STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) classes to all our 1st – 6th Grade students. The STEAM Lab is outfitted with two Ultimaker 3D printers, Spheros, circuitry supplies, Makey Makey kits, KIBO robotic kits, LEGOS, a LEGO wall, littleBits coding kits, a classroom set of iPads, a sewing machine, a workbench with tools, as well as many simple items such as cardboard tubes, fabric, pipe cleaners and paint. STEAM lessons encourage students to design, experiment, build, invent and sometimes redesign. These immersive learning adventures challenge the student’s thinking and help to build grit in our students. We believe that this creative type of learning should occur in all classrooms, so STEAM projects are often cross-curricular involving integration with our science, math, language arts, and social studies curriculum in all grade levels.

Spanish Language

Learning Spanish will expand your universe.

Spanish Language is taught at RPDS by teachers trained in the best practice methodologies for language acquisition. The instruction is structured and interactive at all levels. During the early years, PreK 3, PreK 4 and Kindergarten, the children develop knowledge and understanding of basic vocabulary through weekly lessons designed to include lively singing and movement, playing games, dramatization, puppetry and story-telling.

1-3 Grade students continue to acquire practical vocabulary and useful Spanish skills through authentic activities and partial immersion experiences. By the end of Grade 3, 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 Grades 4-6 exceeds common core standards in the areas of writing, reading, listening and speaking. The students benefit immeasurably by learning self-expression in Spanish, utilizing real-world applications from a grammar-centered approach to language study, enabling students to advance to the next level during middle school. Students have access to a teacher-hosted website designed to accommodate the RPDS curriculum, including vocabulary and grammar help, games for practice and links to Spanish cultural and educational websites.

Additionally, the language laboratory enhances the classroom instruction, supports individualized learning and assessment, as well as, engaging opportunities for practice and greater fluency. Successful language proficiency experienced by our graduates is the result of risk-taking while utilizing the terminology and grammar components to achieve meaningful communication in a supportive and reassuring environment.

Chinese Language

At RPDS, we offer three levels of Mandarin Chinese for rising 4th through 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 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 will be able to read and write pinyin. Students will also be 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. 

Visual Arts

Our students’ artwork graces our school walls and the walls of our community businesses.

Art instruction begins in the Early Learning Center with preschool art experiences and continues through 6th Grade. Art is taught in the RPDS art studios by two highly trained art teachers. Special attention has been given to providing students two art studios including a full use kiln and a large art supply area. The art studios provide optimum work space, seating and lighting to maximize each child’s artistic creativity. Within each studio children can settle in to their projects and work comfortably with the materials and mediums presented.

The teachers provide a curriculum which includes art instruction, graphic design with technology integration, ceramics and art history. Each level offers the scaffolding of a continuum of art concepts and principles while providing myriad art materials to inspire choice and individuality.

Art is often taught through cross curricular projects which collaborate with subject area learning. Two dimensional and three dimensional arts are taught to all students. Upper school students have opportunities to combine their art with computer graphic programs as well as explore careers in the art world. Art instruction and appreciation is an integral part of an RPDS education. Art is valued here. RPDS shares our students’ artwork throughout our local community businesses.

Music and Music Performance

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


The RPDS music program begins in our Early Learning Center through weekly classroom visits with our early learning music and movement teacher. Simple percussive instruments, recorded music and sing-a-long songs combined with creative and responsive movement provide a child-centered foundation in music for our 3, 4 and Kindergarten children. As students transition into 1-6 Grades 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, our 1st and 2nd Grade Folk Tale Musical, 5th and 6th Grade Spring 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 and 6th Grade students are given in-depth instruction on playing the recorder, various barred and non-pitched percussion instruments, 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.

Spiritual Formation

We pray, we sing, we learn to share the love of God.

Riverside Presbyterian Day School was founded by Riverside Presbyterian Church seventy years ago as an educational outreach to Jacksonville families. The founders of RPDS wished to ensure that the education provided here would be challenging both academically and spiritually. The school maintains this history and though now separately incorporated, still remains a close partner in ministry with the church. From its earliest days, the mission and philosophy of an RPDS education have included a weekly student-led chapel service along with student singing performances in the sanctuary of the church. This weekly service is well-attended by the entire RPDS community. Parents, friends and grandparents are always welcome. Chapel is a joyful time for us as a faith based school to share fellowship and God’s love with one another.

All RPDS children 3 years -6th Grade, participate in a weekly Bible class. These classes bring Scripture to life through developmentally sensitive forms of drama, singing, storytelling, puppetry, role-playing and interactive games. Our spiritual formation classes share God’s message of love through children’s prayer and guidance lessons which are designed to nurture the social-emotional and spiritual needs of our students.

Physical Education

Teaching children to be fit for life.

At RPDS we believe strongly that children need daily play and physical education. In 2010 over a half million dollars were raised to support this belief and The Rice Sports Zone was built. Nestled under the oak trees this 3 acre site is centrally located on campus and includes a large playing field encircled with a double lane rubberized running track, lighted basketball courts, play structures and tables for daily outdoor lunch and social time. The Rice Sports Zone is where health and wellness are lived each day and children learn to be fit for life.

Physical Education

The RPDS Physical Education program promotes success at each child’s individual ability level. Two full time Physical Education coaches mindfully design creative games, fitness activities, and sports lessons that teach the skills of physical fitness, life sports and health. A hallmark of the RPDS physical education program is that during physical education classes students are engaged by sequentially moving through enjoyable “stations” which are physically active, build dexterity and promote large muscle coordination. The program also includes concentrated themed units which focus on individual sports, team sports, body movement, personal goal-setting and nutrition. Our Physical Education program begins in Kindergarten and provides the developmental foundation of knowledge, skill and dispositions related to movement and physical activity for children through the 6th Grade.

Our coaches take a family approach to staying fit for life. Throughout the school year they provide training sessions for local running races and child age triathlons. It is exciting when our families come together in support of their children’s physical accomplishments at school and within the community. The coaches’ commitment and enthusiasm towards training teaches our students to set goals, persevere and be confident. At RPDS, all students are encouraged to develop motor skills, identify movement concepts and and maintain a health-enhancing level of physical fitness for life.

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