Specialist Curriculum

Our passion is for the whole child. Closely integrated with the content and skills development of the classroom are the programs provided by our experienced specialists. These programs are part of the unique learning experience at Aurora and integral to our core value of developing and inspiring the whole child.

Every student’s active week includes time to explore and express his or her talents and interests through art, physical education and movement, music, woodshop and Spanish language instruction. Beginning in the second grade all students also work with computers.

Quick Links to Specialist Curriculum Details


  • In the Art Room once a week
  • Plus Integrated Art
  • Students in Grades K-5

Take Risks — Make Mistakes

Specialist: Julie Pollack

Art is a universal, visual language basic to all civilizations and cultures. At Aurora School students are given the opportunity to develop this language as one of the many tools in their “tool box” for life long learning. The goal of the Aurora Art Program is to help children become visually literate. In weekly art classes, students explore art through “art for art’s sake” projects. The process of discovery and self-expression is emphasized over the final product. The motto in the art room is “Take Risks – Make Mistakes.”

Children are given the opportunity to look at art created by a wide variety of artists and cultures. Through literature and informal discussions, the children learn to compare and contrast visual qualities of natural and constructed forms of art. Students study artists’ lives and their work to develop an understanding of how and why people create art.

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  • Students in Grades 2-5 – Once a week in the lab
  • Students in Grades 4/5 – Classroom Integration

Technology Ever Changing

Specialist: Torre Meeks

Aurora School has a wireless computer lab, with Google Chromebook laptops as well as a mobile lab available for classroom use. The Chromebook is a simple browser-based laptop that is centered around the Google Chrome browser. These devices are unique as they fall between a cloud client and a traditional laptop with hundreds of great educational apps.

2/3 Students
Beginning in second grade, the computer lab activities help students become comfortable with the Google Chromebook and its browser. Once they have mastered these basic skills, students begin to learn about coding and have the chance to practice ever more difficult coding concepts from week to week. Our coding curriculum is taken from code.org and is consistent with Aurora’s mission in that it encourages students to create and not just consume.

4/5 Students
For our fourth and fifth grade students, technology is woven in throughout the day. Technology is used as a tool to support the core curriculum work in which they are already engaged. Students learn how to evaluate a website for accuracy and relevance and how to use the computer as a tool to organize and express their thoughts. They are taught to utilize the Chromebooks for research, presentations, documentation, and word processing.

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  • Once a week
  • Students in Grades K-5

Fostering Love of Books & Reading

Specialist: Kathy Shepler

At Aurora we believe that a rich, well-rounded academic program requires an excellent library. It is a significant part of every child’s experience at Aurora. Students attend library in groups of no more than 12 on a weekly basis. Students enjoy a rich library curriculum and checkout books each week. Parent volunteers are regularly utilized in assisting students and HELP provide a more personalized experience in the library. Although Aurora is a small school, its library has over 10,000 books for children to borrow.

The focus for K/1 students is to foster the love of books and reading, to maintain the joy of literature, while learning tools that facilitate the use of libraries, such as where to locate books about particular topics and the basics of book care. 2/3 students work with the librarian to explore and understand library organization in more depth, explore genre and topic studies, and study folklore, youth book awards and fiction/non-fiction studies. We often have author visits and enrich that experience by analyzing their different works. Students in the 4/5 grades work with the librarian to explore and understand how books are made and published and how libraries work. Every library lesson is written in a student-made, small book. The curriculum includes: a fiction genre study, a world folklore study, a Dewey non-fiction study, reference tools study, a history of the book study and many more.

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  • Once a week
  • Students in Grades K/1

Pause and Presence

Specialist: Aisha Carabello

Aurora offers weekly Yoga classes for K/1 children. These classes include group yoga exploration and mindfulness activities.

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  • Once a week
  • Students in Grades K-5

Sing, Sing a Song

Specialist: Eve Decker

The music program at Aurora School is based on the philosophy and practices of Orff Shulwerk, a dynamic approach to music education developed by German composer Carl Orff. This approach is characterized by active involvement in music making through the body, voice, movement, and work on specially designed Orff instruments. Through a multidimensional approach, we provide aural, visual and kinesthetic learners to be successful in music. Music in the Aurora classroom is also a social act. Thus, the students become part of a musical community where they share and compromise, help and support each other.

Every student meets weekly in groups ranging from 10 to 12 children. On any given day a class will be creating music in a thoughtful and artistic way, developing both skill and understanding in the basic elements of music. Students have the opportunity to use African drums, vibraslap, xylophone, maracas, the triangle and other instruments to accompany their songs.

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Physical Education

  • Students in Grades K-1: Once a week
  • Students in Grades 2-5: Twice a week

Cooperative Fitness for a Healthy Life

Specialist: Torre Meeks

Physical education is an important part of the curriculum at Aurora. Through discussion and activities the children learn the definition of physical education and are introduced to how and why physical activity is an important life-long endeavor. We stress a non-competitive environment where all students have fun and learning to work together as a team is emphasized. With a good balance between individual and group activities, students learn the concepts of fair play, cooperation, sportsmanship and teamwork.

Students in Kindergarten and 1st grade focus on refining gross motor skills and beginning to develop fine motor skills. A beginning level of physical fitness is introduced with stretching and finding ways to use different muscles. During the 2/3 grades, the program provides opportunities to develop kinesthetic awareness and introduces the concept of exercise physiology, such as how the heart and lungs work together and how to monitor your pulse. In the 4/5 grades, an increased level of physical fitness is emphasized as students begin to increase muscular strength and muscular endurance. Students at this level refine their eye-hand coordination and fine motor skills are more proficient. Students begin to accept success/failure, while appreciating their differences.

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  • Twice a week
  • Students in Grades K-5

¡Sí, Ya lo Hablan!

Specialists: Viva el Español

Spanish is taught at every grade level two times per week. Throughout all grade levels, students learn about themes that are relevant to their lives and are taught vocabulary that is easy to remember and use outside of class. When possible, thematic units in Spanish tie into what students are learning in their regular classroom.

  • A full-immersion approach – children learn the Spanish language naturally and easily, just as they learned their first language
  • Multi-sensory, content-based curriculum – appealing to children with different learning styles, and reinforcing the target vocabulary through various means
  • Learning through fun and creative activities – giving students the opportunity to hear, speak, create and move while using Spanish
  • Focus on comprehension and language production early on – scaffolding to build reading and writing abilities in later grades
  • Resources – to extend learning from classroom to home
  • Optional special events and cultural field trips – where language can be used in context and which exposes students to the rich culture and traditions of Spanish-speaking countries
  • Our Spanish teachers are passionate about sharing their language and culture with children. They strive to ensure every child has a positive experience in class.

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    • Once a week
    • Students in Grades K-5/li>

    Building Knowledge

    Specialists: Alex Vittum and Ashley Bellouin

    Students attend woodshop in small groups, where they work on projects that support the classroom curriculum. Here they learn woodshop skills as well as reinforce their math, science, communication, and social skills.

    Projects are process oriented and, from the very first class, strive to guide the student in woodworking practices such as tool safety, using a vice, cutting with a handsaw, sanding and simple measuring. Projects are wide ranging and include everything from simple pencil holders and notebooks to elaborate scale models of houses and their surrounding community. All students at Aurora School have the opportunity to attend an after-school, project-based woodshop class as part of the regular Enrichment Class program.