Preparing Boys for Life

Second Grade

Cheered on by their pre-kindergarten buddies and teachers, friends, and parents, second graders walk three miles carrying gallons of water, simulating the hardship that many African children endure to access fresh water. The boys also work with the school community to raise money to build wells in Africa. Watch the video>

Curriculum Overview

In second grade, boys begin to become scholars through in-depth reading, writing, and math. The second grade curriculum is maximized through a rich curriculum founded in immersive and experiential learning. Second grade boys begin to take responsibility for others through mentoring their pre-kindergarten "buddies."

Boys spend nearly half of the school day in literacy and math instruction, and explore science, art, music, and physical education with specialist teachers. Technology is integrated daily through the use of Chromebooks.

In art, boys continue to build upon elements such as depth, texture, color theory, line, and rendering. Here, they build and paint small pinch pots.

Areas of Study


Teachers employ a guided reading format to differentiate instruction, allowing boys to be stretched at their individual level. Through read-alouds, our teachers model expressive, fluent reading and comprehension strategies. Shared readings are employed to develop "word attack" skills. First graders also build phonic skills through the use of our Fundations program. Boys become proficient writers by practicing their craft daily through the Writing Workshop program.


Everyday Math’s extensive hands-on learning activities are aimed at helping boys cement their math skills and understanding. Boys are engaged in lessons that will develop computational and conceptual skills. A strong emphasis is placed on the student’s ability to explain his mathematical thinking in written and oral form. Haverford's math program is differentiated by assessing each boy’s abilities and targeting instruction according to his learning needs.

Social Studies

Second grade boys are immersed in rich experiential trimester themes that includes in-depth study of the 50 United States and cultural studies of India and Africa. Highlights for these units of study include: a second grade student State Fair, field trip to Pennsylvania’s State Fair, two-month foreign language study of Hindi, Walk for Water service project, creation of African stories and walking sticks, and an eight-week study and performance in African drumming and dance. Literature read in class is used to create reflection and class discussion on character. Second grade boys are also given the responsibility of mentoring pre-kindergarten "buddies."


Boys learn the importance of the scientific attitudes of curiosity, critical thinking, and persistence as necessary traits for scientific investigation. They study the following units: Biological, Chemical, Physical, Earth and Space, and Health Sciences. Lessons include games, activities, and experiments where boys learn to practice the Scientific Method and hone their scientific attitudes. Topics include:

  • Animals, Dinosaurs
  • Matter & Magnetism
  • Energy (Mechanical, Heat, Light, Electrical)
  • Space
  • Environmental (Ecology, Plants)
  • Weather Systems


Boys continue to build upon elements of art such as depth, texture, color theory, line, and rendering through:

  • Drawing
  • Painting
  • Printing
  • Sculpting

During the boys' study of Africa, they explore the work of Renos Towanameso, who carves storytelling walking sticks. In turn, each boy creates his own storytelling walking stick out of wood and paper mache.


Favorite characters come to life in the Lower School library, where our boys develop a love of reading. While listening and responding to stories, the boys practice a number of important skills, including:

  • How to ask a question
  • How to think about their reading preferences
  • How to locate books within the library


Haverford uses the Kódaly approach to teach boys to read basic melodic and rhythmic notation through a rich variety of authentic folk music from America and around the world. Every second grade boy participates in The Coro Primo which is our youngest choir in the School. Boys may also elect to participate in beginning string ensembles.

Physical Education

Our Physical Education Department and sports programs not only promote athleticism, but camaraderie, sportsmanship, fair play, and good competition. The major areas of focus in the first grade program include:

  • Foot-eye and hand-eye coordination
  • Cooperative games implementing physical skills
  • Cardiovascular endurance
  • Muscular strength, endurance, and flexibility

All activities in our curriculum are designed to foster the skills necessary for our boys to be successful in their athletic interests, develop character through sportsmanship and cooperation, and promote participation and enthusiasm.

Character & Citizenship

Walk for Water encourages second grade boys to experience the task of fetching clean drinking water and carrying it a distance to their homes. They walk 3 miles with gallons of water, cheered on by their pre-kindergarten buddies and the rest of the Lower School community.

The boys also work to raise money to help build wells in Africa, and take a trip to Fairmount Water Works to learn the importance of being careful stewards of our resources.

During the annual State Fair, boys present state facts to their parents and other Lower School students by adopting the persona of a famous historic figure.

Haverford’s second grade creates an environment where boys with endless energy, creative curiosity and critical thinkers thrive. Through hands-on opportunities, boys gain a greater understanding of their environment and how they can be productive. You can see the beginning foundations of lifelong friendships and how Haverford’s brotherhood motto influences their relationships.Rachel, parent