Elementary MakerLab

Elementary Grades 1 - 5

Head of Lower School:  Trudi C. Buscemi
Assistant Head of Lower School - Elementary: Stacey Hendershot
PYP Coordinator: Lisa Vicencio

School Day: 8:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Carrollwood Day School has a deep commitment to our students and their future success. Our dedicated faculty inspires children to develop a lasting foundation for living and continued learning. We recognize that an atmosphere of respect, consistency, and concern nourishes a child's natural desire to learn. It is also our belief that the education of children must be in keeping with their mode of learning. Through the framework of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme (PYP) students develop skills vital to becoming not only skillful and knowledgeable, but also self-directed, self-motivated and self-confident. We seek to develop caring and well-prepared citizens of tomorrow's world.

International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (PYP)

The PYP is a comprehensive approach to teaching and learning designed for children ages 3 - 12. The PYP focuses on the development of the whole child. It offers a framework that develops the whole child and meets their academic, social, physical, emotional, and cultural needs. For our elementary students in grades 1 - 5, PYP means guided inquiry; learning to ask the questions that lead to bigger ideas.  Questions that help them explore many subjects: languages, social studies, mathematics, science, technology, arts, and physical education. 


Teachers team together at each grade level with our PYP Coordinator to develop units of inquiry that provide significant, relevant and challenging learning experiences across the daily core academic subjects. Classroom teachers also collaborate with specialists in the arts, technology, physical education and library to enrich these experiences. Students are encouraged to reflect, to make informed choices and to take action that will help their peers, school, and the wider community.

Daily core academic subjects:

  • Language Arts- Making Meaning, Being a Reader, Being a Writer, Reading Wonders, Handwriting Without Tears
  • Mathematics-Everyday Math
  • Social Studies- IB Units of inquiry
  • Science-IB Units of Inquiry, FOSS

Additional programs and enrichment – taught by specialized teachers:

  • Art - once a week for 1 hour
  • Computer – once a week 1 hour
  • Music - 60 minutes a week
  • Library - check out times
  • Physical Education - three times a week
  • Spanish - 90 - 120 minutes a week
  • Maker Lab/Science Lab - one hour a week 
  • DREAM Lab- open scheduling 

In 5th grade, the final year of PYP at CDS, students collaborate to explore an idea of their own choosing for their Exhibition.  This in-depth inquiry of a relevant and important issue which has a local and global significance gives students an opportunity to share what they've learned during the PYP years with our CDS community.  The Exhibition marks the transition to the IB Middle Years Programme (MYP)

Please click here to see an overview of the units of inquiry studied in each grade.

Morning Opening

On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings the entire elementary school comes together to recognize recent accomplishments, celebrate student and faculty birthdays, share announcements and enjoy special presentations. Our youngest readers begin to develop confidence and leadership skills when they volunteer to read their favorite poems to their schoolmates. Parents are welcome to stay for morning opening.

Snacks and Lunch

Students should bring a nutritious snack each day. Students have the choice of bringing a lunch from home or purchasing lunch at school. CDS partners with Flik Independent School Dining to offer a varied menu of hot and cold, kid-friendly, nutritious lunches. Students in grades 1 - 5 eat outside every day in a shaded picnic area. 


In addition to the long term health benefits that a physically active lifestyle provides, recent studies show that physical activity can also have positive effects on academic achievement.  Students in grades 1 - 5 have an outdoor recess period following lunch every day.  Students should bring a water bottle to school each day to make sure they stay hydrated when outdoors.  Students may also wear hats and sunscreen when outside.

Second Language

Learning a second language is an integral part of the Primary Years Programme framework.  As stated in the PYP document Making the PYP Happen, “A PYP school provides the opportunity for all students to learn more than one language.  Exposure to and experience with language, in all its richness and diversity, opens doors to key questions about life and learning, and encourages students to develop responsible attitudes and find appropriate ways to take action, in order to make a difference in the world.”  At CDS, 1st and 2nd grade students receive a total of 90 minutes of Spanish instruction each week, 3rd grade has 120 minutes a week and 4th and 5th grade has Spanish class daily for a total of 150 minutes per week.  


Elementary students use technology throughout the day both in their classrooms and in our state-of-the art computer lab equipped with 21.5" iMac computers. Beginning in 1st grade students attend a weekly class in the computer lab where they learn keyboarding, research and presentation skills.  Classrooms are also equipped with computers that teachers can have students use for reading assessments, enrichment, research and individualized activities.  Beginning in fourth grade, students participate in Carrollwood Day School's one-to-one device program. All fourth and fifth grade students bring a personally owned iPad to school every day. The powerful apps that are available on the iPad let students engage with content in unique interactive ways. This technology brings one to one computing to these classrooms and its ease of use and portability can inspire a passion for writing and learning.  Read more...

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