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Ricks Center for Gifted Children

mix up group

Curriculum and Beyond

Primary Program

The goal of Ricks Center Primary program is to ensure that all of our students develop essential academic skills while engaging fully in their learning. We want children to learn to take intellectual risks, explore ideas, and expand their horizons.

Primary Environment

Gifted children thrive in classrooms where teachers can meet the varied academic and affective needs of students.  Each class is filled with diverse learners with various interests, abilities, and talents working in a stimulating, challenging, and safe learning environment.

Primary Curriculum


Our curriculum is designed so students master core academic content while making connections across curricular areas and developing thinking and reasoning skills. Teachers use the workshop model in reading and writing, with targeted small group instruction. There is an emphasis on nonfiction reading closely integrated with interdisciplinary units as well as upon appropriate reading around individual student interests and passions. Students who need additional skill work in reading may receive small group support from our Reading Specialist.


Ricks uses Bridges in Mathematics as our primary math curriculum from Kindergarten through grade 5. This curriculum emphasizes skill acquisition and application of math skills. All teachers use pre- and post- unit assessments to accurately determine appropriate placement and differentiation. The curriculum is regularly compacted and extended; students may be accelerated by grade or by unit as needed.

Interdisciplinary Units

Ricks develops interdisciplinary units based upon Next Generation Science Standards(NGSS) and National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) standards. These units are thematic and tied together around an overarching idea such as Patterns, Change, or Conflict. During each unit, students delve deeply into a topic, learning core concepts through the eyes of a practitioner. There are multiple opportunities for student choice in projects that demonstrate student learning.


All students through Grade 4 have time set aside weekly for Exploration. This time allows students to experiment with materials in the Creative Recycling Center or the Innovation Lab, as well as to explore new ideas through reading, writing, and discussion.

Affective Needs

All students at Ricks have regular instruction in understanding themselves as children, as learners, and as gifted learners. Topics that are discussed include friendship, executive functioning skills, perfectionism, and personal responsibility.


Kindergarten and Primary students have weekly Connections classes in art, music, physical education, Spanish, and Latin word roots and mythology. These classes provide a well-rounded, diverse and robust learning experience that supports and enhances regular classroom lessons.