Educational system is a very complex system based on a big number of rules and regulations unique for every country. Yet, there are a lot of similarities in the way students are taught. Besides, the structure of the educational system remains very much alike in almost every country. A traditional school structure consists of three main stages:
- Elementary, of primary school
- Secondary school
- High school
How Long Does the Elementary School Stage Last?
Children in the USA begin their education in the elementary school when they are five or six years old. This stage lasts for six years, after which children go to a middle school. Since school policies vary in each state, in some states children attend kindergarten till they are 14 years old. If this is the case, then children skip the stage of a middle school and begin to study in a senior high school immediately.
What Do Students Learn in the Elementary School?
The elementary school provides children with the core knowledge in the basic disciplines. At this point of children’s life it is crucial to let them get interested in multiple disciplines. Clearly, curriculum in the elementary school depends on each school’s educational goals. Yet, there are a number of subjects that will be taught in each school. These subjects build that basic platform that allows children to move to higher stages. Now let’s look at these disciplines:
- Language Arts
- English Grammar
- Social Studies
- Physical Education
The No Child Left Behind Law
The history of this law is long and complex, and we are not going to analyze it in much detail (read more at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_Child_Left_Behind_Act ). What people mostly think of when they hear about the No Child Left Behind law is standardized testing. Basically, all elementary and secondary school students have to take a test in the end of each school year. The objective of such annual test is to demonstrate students’ improvement over the year. Clearly, every law has its pros and cons. In the case with the No Child Left Behind law we have the following issue: reading, writing, and math gained more attention than other subjects. According to the law, these are the areas which require the biggest improvement. Thus, we have other important disciplines left behind. So, it is not surprising that there is huge debate within educational circles about the justification and impact of such curricula which emphasizes only those disciplined that are tested for improvement.
Outstanding Elementary Schools
Elementary school is a crucial stage in a child’s life because it shapes his/ her personality and interests. This is the first place where children experience real life. Just yesterday they were with their parents and closest relatives and friends – and now they are surrounded by complete strangers. Is there a way to make this new life better for children? Absolutely. Children are extremely curious, and the elementary school’s objective is to help them enjoy the learning process. Certainly, there are such schools that offer children an exceptional environment for learning and provide them with great knowledge. These institutions establish that standard that all schools should aim to reach. Some of these schools earned Blue Ribbon awards. These awards are granted by the Department of Education. Getting this award is a huge achievement for each school. A school can apply for the award only once in five years, so you can imagine how competitive this school contest is. Here are a few outstanding elementary schools in the US:
- Mason-Rice elementary school, located in Newton Centre, Massachusetts
- Bay Head elementary school, located in bay Head, New Jersey
- Marion Cross School, located in Norwich, Vermont
- Hawk Ridge elementary school, located in Charlotte, New Carolina
- Crawford elementary school, located in Fairbanks, Alaska