Primary School

Grades K-2

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  • Primary students focus on building habits for community contribution aligned with the School Creed. 

    Each day begins with a morning meeting where students practice greeting one another, public speaking, listening carefully to others, and mindfulness. At the end of each day, students complete any remaining classroom jobs, prepare to go home, and organize for the next day. The class gathers for a closing circle on the rug to celebrate what they’ve learned, share commendations, and say goodbye.

Fifth Grade Parent

I have been sending my son to Harlem Academy since first grade, and he is independent with his school work and is becoming a wonderful, well-rounded young man. He is at Harlem Academy more than he is home at times, and Harlem Academy is a part of who he is becoming.

Core Curriculum

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  • Literacy

    Primary school students spend more than two hours each day focused on reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Our goal is to provide students with a literature-rich environment that offers many opportunities to learn and practice reading skills and strategies. Beyond whole-group instruction, students participate in small reading groups that meet throughout the week, read independently, visit the library, and have personalized opportunities for practice. Through our literacy program, we seek to build confidence, independence, and a foundation for long-term academic success.
  • Mathematics

    The Math in Focus Singapore math program focuses on teaching fewer concepts with greater depth and more complex problem solving than typical programs. Each new concept is introduced with physical manipulatives, such as linking cubes or teddy bear counters. After mastering the concrete, students move to pictorial representations, such as pictures or symbols. Finally, students make the connection to abstract representations, such as algorithms. Students use the online personalized learning tool, IXL, to support their learning both in the classroom and at home.
  • Science

    Our goal is for our students to develop an understanding of the world them and hone skills in inquiry, investigation, and analysis. At each grade level, students study earth science, physical science, and life science. First graders explore "Air and Weather," "Sound and Light," and "Plants and Animals." Second-grade units include "Pebbles, Sand, and Silt," "Solids and Liquids," and "Insects and Plants."
  • Technology

    Each primary student has a laptop and an email account, and significant time is taken to teach basic operations, web navigation, typing and word processing, and digital safety and citizenship. Technology is incorporated into each subject, giving students many opportunities to practice with these tools in a safe environment. Students leave primary school able to create and share documents, investigate topics on the internet, and communicate via email.

Co-Curricular Programs

List of 4 items.

  • Advisory

    Our team leads weekly activities to develop habits that support living up to our pillars and School Creed. We emphasize our individual responsibilities as students and the exploration and celebration of the diversity of cultures in our class and larger school community.  At a developmentally appropriate level, this time is used for beginning our understanding of civics and grappling with current events in our class and larger community. 
  • Extended Day

    Students are welcome on our campus from 7:15 a.m. to 6 p.m. In the morning, primary students have breakfast in the cafe before starting class. At the end of each day, students have a quiet period to complete their homework. We use this time to encourage independence, but our teachers are available to answer questions, give additional practice work, guide students in choosing independent reading books, and help students organize their desks. After, students can choose from a variety of enrichment activities, such as chess, coding, and mancala. During this time, some students work with a mentor (an older student or adult volunteer) on a weekly basis for academic extension activities.
  • Visual & Performing Arts

    In partnership with Harlem School of the Arts, primary students take arts classes twice per week. One period each week is dedicated to visual arts (drawing, painting, sculpture), and one period each week is dedicated to performing arts (music, dance, theater). Highlights of the primary program include a three-year study of percussion, a dance performance, and improvisational theater.
  • Wellness

    Harlem Academy is committed to supporting students’ holistic wellbeing. Our physical education program (held twice weekly) gives students a sound understanding of foundational skills. We value teamwork, sportsmanship, responsibility, and the opportunity for all participants to grow from their experiences. Free play (held daily) is a chance to play soccer, basketball, four square, or other games in the schoolyard. Breakfast, lunch, and snack are offered daily with a focus on lean proteins, whole grains, and fresh fruits and vegetables.

Learn More

View our elementary school and middle school programs

Visit the admissions page
See our secondary school and college enrollment
Read the Harlem Academy Journal for a window into the program
Harlem Academy
655 St. Nicholas Avenue
New York, NY, 10030

P (212) 348-2600
F (212) 348-3500

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Harlem Academy is an independent school (grades K-8) that drives equity of opportunity for promising students, guiding them to thrive at the highest academic levels and one day make a mark on the world.