Our Curriculum

Our reputation is built on excellence for the "Whole Child".

The source of that excellence is the unique way the Gagie School provides learning experiences in which children make discoveries about both their surroundings and themselves. Small class size further supports academic excellence allowing each student to grow and develop at his or her own pace.

Mastering fundamental skills serves as the foundation for lifelong learning. Going beyond mastering the facts, the Gagie School produces avid readers, curious learners, and independent thinkers. The School exists for the child; it embraces the distinctiveness and individuality of children and is committed to unlocking the gifts that each child possesses in mind, body, and spirit.

The Gagie School Curriculum is strong and perfect for emphasis on the "whole child" and the individual. Our teachers do such a good job fitting the appropriate level of work to each child and understanding each child's learning style. Our goal is to provide a very strong, basic educational foundation that will help each child discover and achieve his/her potential. In developing the whole child, not only is a very full, appropriate curriculum essential, but attention to detail and responsibility are also key factors.


  • Mathematics

    Mathematics as well as reading, is of primary importance in our curriculum. It is a hierarchy of skills that must be taught in sequential order, each building on the other. The Wisconsin Plan for mathematics will be utilized.

    In both reading and mathematics each skill is presented and must be mastered before new skills are presented. The child's ability to perform the skills dictates placement level for reading and mathematics, not age or grade placement.


  • Reading

    Reading is the most crucial of the fundamental skills. A learner's success or failure in school and society depends in large part of his or her skill as a reader. Therefore, reading instruction must be of the highest quality. The use of the Wisconsin Plan will facilitate the systematic teaching of reading skills to all of our learners. This system for teaching reading skills:

    (1) reflects what we know about reading and how we learn to read;
    (2) is easy to apply and should produce desired achievement; and
    (3) specifies what is to be taught, ways to teach it, how to determine what learning has occurred, and enhances and encourages diagnosis and individualization of instruction.

    Reading is a group of skills that extends in a hierarchy from the simple to the complex. 'The Wisconsin Plan has carefully set down these skills making use of both auditory and visual channels. A sequential experience method, library books and basal readers will be used to teach the skills.

    A great deal of attention is also given to the affective domain of the reader. This means that we try to find reading materials that match the interests of the child; it also means we give definite time for pleasure reading each day. It is so important that children find a positive, pleasurable, useful way to use the skills taught during reading period. We want each child to be an efficient reader who loves to read; this is the ultimate goal of our program.


  • Language Arts

    All students are instructed in writing skills, sometimes termed with Language arts. In the early grades, creative writing and keeping a journal are part of this subject area. In the middle school grades the students investigate and participate in varied forms of writing; they also study grammar and sentence diagramming. It is important for children to write every day so that writing becomes second nature to them.


  • Science

    Science is an integral facet of each grade's curriculum.  By focusing on the prevalence of science in our daily lives we enable the children to explore this very expansive subject.  Working hands on with materials develops and fosters a more lasting understanding.  With the fast pace of science today and in the future, it is very helpful to cover the basics of physics, chemistry, biology, and botany.  Then we teach the children how those skills can be dynamically applied to any practice or experimentation.  A solid working practice of the scientific method and an understanding that it is highly beneficial leads to observing and questioning all/everything.  Giving them a mental toolbox should pay dividends the rest of their lives.

    Participating in our Science Fair, the Invention Convention and the ExploraVision Program give opportunities to use the classroom knowledge and compete for honors in science.  Our greenhouse, garden, science lab and kitchen provide places for practicing hands on science.


  • Social Studies

    Social Studies with emphasis on Geography is taught at all grade levels.


  • Technology

    Technology can be found in all areas of the curriculum. Gagie School believes the computer is a tool for learning in all subjects and has built an impressive computer network that extends to every computer in the School. New hardware, as well as current software, is made available to every student so that information can be gathered from the Internet. Students use the computer in all subject areas to create reports or multimedia presentations.

    Gagie School has a new computer lab with flat screens and all computers available for student use, including several wireless laptops. We have added electronic white boards and projectors to create interactive computer-based lessons.


  • Sports & Fitness

    Running. Jumping. Climbing. Throwing. Catching. Balancing.

    Fun? Of course. But they're also developing self-esteem. And conquering the ropes course is all about teamwork and cooperation.

    Physical education activities center around building strength, flexibility, and endurance, and promoting healthy lives that translate into a lifetime of physical activity.

    Younger children play in an environment focused on developing gross motor coordination, endurance, strength, and fitness. Upper grades learn specific skills to use in game situations where strategies, teamwork, and sportsmanship are emphasized.


  • Art

    Walking into the art room immediately makes you want to grab a paintbrush or some modeling clay. The spacious area gives students room to spread out and be creative. And the room itself provides plenty of inspiration with student paintings covering the stools and the floor.

    Students learn about topics such as pointillism, perspective drawing, Japanese paper marbling, and more. They look at the work of a wide range of styles and perspectives from Paleolithic cave art to contemporary printmaking, from Renaissance painter Michelangelo to comic book artist Scott McCloud. And most importantly, they create. Sculptures, paintings, cartoons, prints, books, and more. They love having the independence to create their own ideas and develop their art.

    In addition, art projects frequently integrate with and reinforce classroom learning. For example, fourth graders who have been studying Native American culture create small basket weavings. The prolific young artists' work flows from the art room to decorate the halls, the KIA, and the Kalamazoo community.


  • Music

    Music is well integrated into the curriculum at the Gagie School. The goal is that our students will learn to appreciate music and its effect on our society, have a general understanding of basic concepts, and develop an interest in being lifelong music lovers.

    Beginning in preschool, music is introduced through movement and singing songs.  General music concepts such as melody, harmony, rhythm, form, note reading, history, style and movement are taught in kindergarten through the eighth grade, though upper grades have more emphasis on choral music.  In addition, our students frequently perform programs which include all styles of music from classical to jazz.  Our annual Holiday Program includes all students in K-8 and is a truly impressive display of musical and theatrical talent!

    Instrumental music is available to students in grades 5-8.  Testing for instrument aptitude is done in the spring prior to 5th grade and rental is arranged through a local music store.  Our 4th grade students participate in a recorder unit to prepare them for upcoming instrumental opportunities.

    In 7th and 8th grades, students can participate in a Swing Choir called Good Vibrations.  Good Vibes has a wonderful history of community outreach and volunteerism.

    Our students also deepen their understanding of people and countries by studying the music of various cultures through live performances at our school and elsewhere.  Kalamazoo has a rich and diverse musical community and The Gagie School takes advantage of the numerous musicians, both students and professionals, who are willing to share their talent and knowledge.


  • Spanish

    Spanish conversation begins at the preschool level and is continued through the eighth grade. Beginning with basic vocabulary practiced through repetition of games, songs and stories, our students begin their Spanish education with the tools necessary for realistic and practical conversations.

    Our program focuses on four key areas of development: listening comprehension, speaking, reading and writing. Our goal is for each of our students to speak true conversational Spanish. Our elementary program reinforces fundamental Spanish vocabulary and creates simple conversations for students to practice in a classroom setting. As early as first grade, our students begin writing Spanish words and responding to questions spoken in Spanish. Each new teaching unit begins with vocabulary, interactive games, puzzles, reading and listening activities. These activities build our students' confidence with the Spanish language and allow them to take on more complex and varied conversational topics.

    By the time students reach middle school, they are ready to become independent Spanish speakers. Middle school students begin to explore Hispanic geography and culture, and gain valuable real-world experience including ordering food in restaurant, getting directions while traveling, and exchanging stories with a friend. Our middle school students create, write and perform their own unique conversations to share with their peers. Students are regularly assessed through tests, quizzes and assignments, with focus on development as a Spanish speaker. By graduation, students who complete Gagie's Spanish program will have the foundation necessary for continued Spanish language success in high school.