Core Knowledge Sequence (CKS)
As students mature in their language fluency, CCA's curriculum directs their time and intellectual energy into more content-based (as opposed to skill-based) aspects. The basis of these subjects from Kindergarten through 8th grade is the Core Knowledge Sequence (CKS), made available through the Core Knowledge Foundation.
History of CKS
This sequence was developed and first published in 1988 to provide comprehensive order to K-8 education, with the intention of training students in the arts, literature, science, history, math, music and language from our rich cultural and intellectual inheritance and has been successfully employed and tested in hundreds of schools throughout the United States.
Daniel T. Willingham explained in his article, How Knowledge Helps, why large amounts of information and knowledge are tremendously beneficial.
Willingham explained that “chunking” items together greatly expands how much will fit into a person’s working memory. The important aspect of using background knowledge to chunk is that it leaves more free space for working memory. Utilizing CKS spiraling approach of building on previous knowledge will give all students the same background knowledge so they will all have more available working memory when taught new concepts and information.
How CKS is Utilized at CCA
CKS is based upon E.D. Hirsch’s idea of cultural literacy, which makes it the ideal curriculum for a classical school.
Providing a grade-by-grade sequence of specific topics to be taught in grades K-8, it will provide the basic curricular framework for history, geography, literature, visual arts, music, and science at CCA. With cultural literacy as the guiding principle, the Core Knowledge Sequence leads students through a comprehensive and grade-appropriate view of science, literature, art, music, and history.
Topics which are especially important for cultural literacy are repeated in a spiraling fashion that allows students to build and deepen their knowledge by grade and to make cross-curricular connections across subjects. Younger students build a firm but broad foundation in these topics while older students are able to achieve depth.
The order of the program allows for regular repetition of the most important topics, such that students are well-versed in the fundamentals by the time they reach high school.