Expeditionary Learning Curriculum (ELA)

P.S. 51 utilizes a balanced literacy approach to teaching reading and writing. Literacy components include reading and writing workshops, guided reading, independent reading, shared reading, read-alouds, shared and interactive writing, and word study. We use the workshop model of teaching with a focus on reading comprehension. Literacy support is provided within the school and an outside staff developer. Reading and Writing Units are based on the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project units of study. The units complement our social studies and science curriculum and are integrated studies using project-based learning.

Engage NY Math

P.S. 51 utilizes Engage NY Math in grades 3 - 5.   Engage NY is strongly aligned with the Common Core Learning Standards and is rigorous in its approach to develop mathematically proficient students.

By using Engage NY as the primary curriculum, 
P.S. 51’s math program is well equipped to help students develop deep conceptual and procedural understandings as they relate to the Common Core Learning Standards.  Students are given daily opportunities to develop and expand their mathematical thinking with the guided support of their teachers.


P.S. 51 uses the Full Option Science System® (FOSS).  This system has evolved from a philosophy of teaching and learning at the Lawrence Hall of Science that has guided the development of successful active-learning science curricula for more than 40 years. The FOSS Program was created specifically to provide students and teachers with meaningful experiences through engaging with this active participation in scientific practices.

Social Studies

P.S. 51 follows the New York State Social Studies Standards. Units are developed using Grant Wiggins and Jay McTigue’s Understanding by Design framework. Units are integrated, project-based, and incorporate art, music, technology, and science. At the end of every study, each class has a celebration in which students demonstrate their learning through student-developed culminating projects.

Visual Arts Program

Art is a creative way for students to express themselves. It teaches them how to communicate visually & show others how they see the world around them. Art bridges the gaps between various languages & cultures while giving students an opportunity to share their individualism at the same time. It truly helps our children appreciate each other’s differences. The Visual Art program at PS 51 designed by Shani Perez builds skills such as problem solving, critical thinking, imagination & observational skills, confidence through self-expression, and so much more. The art process is just as important as the art product. Students learn the art process through several different art disciplines such as painting, drawing, printmaking, collage, sculpture, photography, mixed media, and more. Through these lessons they learn about various artists such as Georgia O’Keeffe, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Jackson Pollock, Faith Ringgold, Romare Bearden, and many more. All art projects often incorporate the elements of art (line, color, space, value, texture, shape & form) and well as a few principles (pattern, balance, emphasis, movement, proportion and scale).








Our music program, developed by Katie Traxler, combines elements of the Orff-Schulwerk approach, Dalcroze Eurhythmics, and the Kodaly teaching method to create a unique child- centered curriculum designed around the National Standards for Music Education and the NYC Blueprint for the Arts. The curriculum builds on the content knowledge and performance skills from each previous year over six years in order to develop the highest degree of musicianship in our students. Every child has the same opportunity in music class to play instruments, sing songs, move and dance, and create through improvisation, composition, and dramatic play. Lessons are carefully sequenced to allow each child to fully participate at their current individual skill level. Children are encouraged to explore their musicality at home and share their discoveries with their classmates. For more advanced musicians and those seeking additional musical training, we offer Recorder Ensembles, Chorus, Guitar Classes through Abundant Waters, Orff Ensemble, and Violin Classes through OSL. We also participate in many performances throughout the year both as performers and audience members at our school and with our Partnering Organizations listed above.




Physical Education

Spotlight on Fitness® (SoFit®) is a physical education program that will inspire lifelong fitness by providing instruction in tap dance for pre-K through 4th grade. SoFit includes partnerships with both the school-based health care program, which is affiliated with NYU/Bellevue facility and with the NYC Department of Education’s Regional Arts Supervisor and Office of Fitness and Physical Education.

Mighty Milers is a school and community-based program that instills the daily habit of running and/or walking for physical fitness and overall health in elementary and middle school children. Students have the opportunity to run or walk at least 2- 5 times a week. Children set goals to run and/or walk 26.2 – 104.8 miles (one to four marathons) over the course of the year and earn incentives for reaching milestones along the way. Classes can earn incentives as well. Mighty Milers is designed to be integrated into the school day.


Click HERE to visit the NYC Blueprint for the Arts- the standards and benchmarks that our arts programs are structured around.