New England Classical Academy


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September 2021
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Grades 3-6

Grammar school students receive instruction in a full range of academic subjects, based on the recommendations of the acclaimed Core Knowledge Sequence.


Students at the Academy begin the study of Latin in third grade. Our program integrates English grammar and vocabulary, as well as the syntax or structure of Latin. Right from the beginning, students are engaging in meaningful use of Latin for communication and reading. The Lower School program provides a firm foundation on which the Upper School curriculum builds toward fluency and the ability to read a variety of ancient and medieval Latin works in the original.


Beginning in third grade, students build their composition skills with Classical Writing, a program based on ancient pre-rhetoric exercises. Students analyze and then imitate an excellent literary model such as a fable, fairy tale, or short historical narrative, employing various techniques of arrangement and style.


The Academy stresses mathematics from the earliest grades. Students work with a variety of manipulatives as they learn multiple problem-solving strategies. With this foundation in place, students do not merely apply algorithms by rote but develop an experiential understanding of the fundamental principles of mathematics. Consistent practice and review help students master skills necessary for further work in mathematics.


The Academy's program is designed to expose students to the best and most influential works of literature. Building on the foundation laid in the primary grades, the program progresses to short stories, novels, poetry, and drama in the grammar grades. Students read adaptations of classic works including:

  • Gulliver's Travels
  • Robinson Crusoe
  • Treasure Island
  • King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table
  • Robin Hood
  • Don Quixote


In grades 3-6, students revisit topics they encountered in the primary grades, but in much greater detail. Students trace the trajectory of world and American history chronologically during these four years, mastering a body of knowledge that engages their imaginations and helps them to place figures and events in historical context. Units on Civics and New Hampshire state history round out the course. Topics covered during these years include:

  • Ancient Rome
  • The Vikings
  • Europe in the Middle Ages
  • Islam and the Crusades
  • Feudal Japan
  • The Renaissance
  • Early Modern England
  • The Thirteen Colonies
  • Westward Expansion
  • Immigration, Industrialization, and Urbanization


Students explore the importanance of different landforms and waterways: mountains and deserts, rivers and lakes. In addition, students memorize the names and capitals of the fifty American states as well as important nations on each of the other inhabited continents, achieving a "geographic literacy" that is increasingly rare today.

Classical Foundations

As preparation for the classical curriculum in our Upper School, students in grades 3-6 study key texts that form the basis of our Western self-understanding. Primary among these is the Bible. Students in grades 3-5 undertake a systematic study of the Hebrew and Christian biblical narratives. In grade 6, this knowledge enriches a Core Knowledge unit, "Lasting Ideas from Ancient Civilizations," which highlights the contributions of ancient Israel, Greece, and Rome to our own culture. Having learned about key figures from these three great civilizations, students write moral biographies, based on the model of Plutarch.

Natural Sciences

Older students investigate the order of the natural world and the laws that govern it, taking delight in naming and ordering their discoveries accurately. This habit of mind corresponds to the student's training in the orderly use of language (Latin, composition) and of number (mathematics) and points toward the relationship between empirical science and philosophy that Upper School students explore. Students explore a variety of topics in the life, earth, and physical sciences, including:

  • Animal Classification
  • Light and Optics
  • Meteorology
  • Cell Stuctures and Processes
  • Plate Tectonics
  • Gravity, Stars, and Galaxies
  • Energy, Heat, and Energy Transfer

Students also learn about the inspiring lives and influential work of famous scientists.

Fine and Performing Arts

At the Academy, the fine and performing arts are fully integrated into the classroom experience at all grade levels. Students learn basic art techniques through picture study and hands-on projects, as well as art history and appreciation. Grammar students sing in the Lower School Schola Cantorum (choir),  have weekly drama classes, and are encouraged to participate in extracurricular arts programs.  

Physical Education

Our physical education program helps students establish the lifelong habit of healthy physical activity while teaching sportsmanship and teamwork. Lower School students participate in fun P.E. classes in an encouraging and positive environment.