Grades 5-8

Core Curriculum


English is a signature academic program at Episcopal Day that fosters life-long readers and develops strong communication skills.
Reading is taught using a diverse selection of written text, such as novels, short stories and poetry. Graphic organizers, reading projects and book talks support comprehension and help students make personal connections to what they are reading. Students are taught to be active readers by connecting, predicting, summarizing, visualizing, inferring and inquiry.

Students learn and practice writing techniques - sentence and paragraph structure, grammar and essay types - in English class and across the curriculum. A multi-step writing process and Writer’s Workshop are key instructional components that help students refine their written communication skills.


History comes to life through re-enactments, debate and projects that provide deeper learning opportunities.
The middle school history curriculum is taught in chronological sequence:
  • Fifth grade: Early humans and ancient civilizations
  • Sixth and seventh grades: Ancient civilizations, the Middle Ages
  • Eighth grade: US History
Classes are often interactive, such as the study of Greek civilization, giving students the opportunity to apply critical thinking skills to discussion and debate of real-life situations. There is a strong focus on study skills, such as note and test-taking strategies. Students learn to write expository essays, gathering information from textbooks, media and other primary sources.


Math instruction is differentiated based on student readiness and interest, with the goal of preparing our graduates to succeed in high school math.

In fifth and sixth grades, students follow a defined curriculum. Beginning in seventh grade, they are grouped according to learning styles and developmental needs. Problem solving, critical thinking, and expressing one’s mathematical thinking in writing are key goals of the program. Students learn to read for understanding, organize facts and determine the best problem solving strategies. 


In class, students experience the “wow” of science, and are challenged to discover the “how” behind the “wow.”

The inquisitive nature of a middle school mind drives the discovery of scientific principles. By teaching the scientific method early in the science curriculum, students focus on developing critical thinking skills and how to apply these skills to real world situations. The annual Science Fair is a showcase for students in grades 5-7 to share their scientific curiosity and acumen, while the 8th graders focus on using those skills in written form through a scientific research paper. Students learn to interpret results, analyze data, draw conclusions and apply these skills to produce a developmentally appropriate science fair project or paper.

Episcopal Day School of St. Matthew

16 Baldwin Avenue, San Mateo, CA 94401

The Episcopal Church of Saint Matthew

1 S El Camino Real, San Mateo, CA 94401