Our Kindergarten-8th Grade Curricular Progression

Informed by Warren Berger’s book, A More Beautiful Question, and grounded in neuroscience, the SF Day curriculum is framed by a sequence of grade level themes and “essential questions.” The themes provide a curricular framework for academic content and skills, and the questions encourage student inquisitiveness and interdisciplinary learning. 

At the beginning of the 2017-18 school year, our teachers collaborated on murals to demonstrate the curricular progression from kindergarten to eighth grade. Each mural features interactive displays representing major themes and instructional units for a particular grade. Once the murals were posted for the start of school, students were encouraged to engage with the boards, move pieces around and study the concepts displayed. 

Essential Questions

At SF Day, we believe in using inquiry-based learning to spark the curiosity and engagement of our students. Essential questions, or questions that aim to provoke thought and dialogue rather than produce simple answers, are meant to draw students deeper into lessons and projects. Posing essential questions at each grade level helps guide the overarching investigations that we are introducing to that particular grade. 

To read the Essential Questions for each grade, click "read more" under each photo in the slideshow above. 

Major Instructional Units

While our teachers help our students develop mastery of skills across core subject areas each year, there are also major units of study at each grade level.  These "Major Instructional Units" represent significant projects that delve into exploring the essential questions posed to our students.

To read the Major Instructional Units for each grade, click on "read more" under each photo in the slideshow above.

K-8 Overarching Curriculum Outline



Essential Questions

K Context, Connections and Differences
  • Who am I and how do I communicate that?
  • How do I solve problems creatively?
  • How do I learn about and function within various contexts?
1 Parts of a Whole: Communities and Systems
  • What are my responsibilities as an individual and as part of a group?
  • What is a community? What communities do I belong to? How do I contribute?
  • How do communities work together for common goals and what roles do people play?
2 San Francisco: Identity, Empathy, and Equity
  • How can a city teach about itself and its citizens
  • How does empathy make you a better friend to others and to the community?
  • How do connections help us find equal value (equivalence) in things that look different?
  • How do citizens use their intellect and creativity to solve problems in their immediate community and beyond?
3 Interconnectedness: Exploring Relationships
  • How do relationships and interconnectedness create meaning and deepen our understanding of something or someone?
  • How are the parts of a whole connected and how do they affect one another?
  • How do learners explore their own learning profile and set goals for their learning?
4 Advocating for Ourselves and Our Community
  • How do citizens decipher their world to identify and solve problems in their community?
  • Why is it important to clearly communicate our ideas and intentions?
  • What do I know about myself  that helps me creatively contribute to my community?
5 Exploring Many Systems While Making New Connections
  • How do people use systems to understand, organize, and communicate?
  • How do actions reflect values?
  • How do learners support interpretations with evidence?
  • How do I choose strategies to best support my learning?
6 Discovering Voice and Place
  • What influences personal identity?
  • What can I do by myself and where do I need guidance and support?
  • How do people connect to and shape places?
7 Forces of Change
  • How can I be a positive force of change in the community?
  • How does an understanding of multiple perspectives inspire new thinking?
  • How do I evaluate and process the impact of external forces?

Taking Action: Becoming a Responsible Leader

  • How can I develop my strengths as a responsible leader so I can give back to myself, my community and my world?
  • What is my leadership story?
  • How do we remain present at the same time we are looking ahead and looking back?
  • How do I use the known/constants to imagine the possibilities of the unknown/variables?
  • How am I preparing to make the transition into the bigger world?