From Bright-Eyed Wonders
To Tomorrow’s Brightest Leaders

What stands out as you walk through our halls and visit our classrooms are happy children, attentive faculty, and small class sizes. In this warm, nurturing environment, a well-rounded curriculum which includes arts, world languages, and physical education invites every student to participate, discover interests, and develop talents while growing in mind, body, and spirit. High expectations are matched by small classes and ample one-to-one attention from teachers focused on individual student progress.

Curriculum

In order to deliver the first class education that Cape Fear Academy is known for, we set the groundwork for success our with our core values of respect, integrity, resilience, and accountability. Through the use of our three guidelines in Lower School: Be Respectful, Make Smart Choices and Be a Great Friend, we create a community in which all members feel safe, valued, and ready to learn.  Our distinctive programs include:

  • Differentiated instruction
  • Columbia University Readers and Writers Workshop
  • Orton-Gillingham phonics and spelling program
  • Handwriting Without Tears manuscript and cursive
  • Centers-based mathematics
  • PC and iPad instruction
  • Performance opportunities in a state-of-the-art theater
  • Supplemental private music lessons available
  • Programming and robotics instruction
  • Guidance and support specialists on staff
  • Full-time nurse on duty
  • Preschool literacy skills are at first grade level
  • Hands-on learning and field trips
  • Integrated technology and computers
  • Spanish, Music, and Art
  • Yoga and social emotional learning

At CFA, students start faster and go further, because learning here is an adventure, and students become active participants in their own learning process from day one. In our innovative Little Explorers program, 3-to-5-year olds are encouraged to investigate, plan, and collaborate as they encounter new challenges and explore new territory – all in an inviting and loving environment.  Early exposure using age-appropriate methods allow our students to gain early understanding in many areas – particularly literacy.  The program provides eager young learners with a developmentally-based balance of nurture, structure, and independence proven to maximize cognitive, social, and emotional growth. It’s the ideal start to a dynamic education that equips CFA students with the knowledge, skills, and determination to go further in school and life.  Little Explorers Program Guide provides more information and details.

  • Achievement test score average at 89th percentile nationally
  • 1-to-1 laptop program for grades 3-5
  • STEAM projects
  • Higher order thinking skills and competencies
  • Geography and mapping projects
  • Latin and Greek-based word study (grades 2 – 5)

Cross-curricular studies include everything from the First Grade Circus and Dinosaur Convention to Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM) to explore, process information, and problem-solve in the real world around them. By fifth grade, CFA students are mastering multi-disciplinary learning techniques, creating their own businesses, and participating in a weekly Advisory program that prepares them for a successful transition to Middle School.

The proof of our successful curriculum can be seen in the results our students’ performance on the ERB assessment.  This assessment is given annually, in May, to students in grades 3-8.  Our students consistently score well-above the national norms.  See the Spring 2015 ERB scores here.

Student Life

ACE (After Class Enrichment) programs are fun and unique after school offerings for grades LE-5. There are three different sessions of ACE and each session includes sports, enrichment and academic program offerings. Past offerings have included ballet, tennis, science, board games, flag football, soccer and more! Students meet each week from 2:45-3:45 for an hour long of fun with new and old friends.

Our monthly assemblies focus on developing a stronger sense of community among all our Lower School students. Unique themes, impressive special guests, and exciting student performances make these monthly gathering a celebration of our close-knit school family.

At CFA, our commitment to excellence reaches well beyond the classroom. Before 6th grade, each CFA student will take approximately 50 field trips within Wilmington and beyond at no additional cost to families. Why is this experience so advantageous? It helps students:

  • Develop a strong understanding of our community, city, and region
  • Experience direct, multi-faceted, and first-hand experiences
  • Become engaged members of their community
  • Learn about the many important people who make our community function
  • Investigate local services and amenities
  • Appreciate local landmarks and geographical features
  • Deepen understanding of academic content learned at school
  • Explore their world with curiosity
  • Engage in comparative studies between communities
  • Understand their physical world through making maps
  • Enjoy valuable off-campus learning opportunities

This valuable enrichment is an important part of the strong foundation we build in the CFA Lower School – one that promotes a passion for learning. Best of all, field trips are active, engaging, and fun. Here is a sampling of our field trips by grade. Come explore with us!

Highlights

Readers and Writers Workshop are highly acclaimed, research based programs developed at Columbia University and led by the educationally famous Lucy Calkins.

Students are taught a mini lesson by the teacher, read self­ selected texts at their level while the teacher confers with students, and then have opportunities for talk with both the teacher and peers about what they learned about themselves as readers and how they are problem solving to become even more proficient!

Writing Workshop follows the same approach, except students write self selected topics. Students explore ideas, techniques and write for extended periods of time practicing their writing fluency, while also setting goals and critiquing their own work and that of their peers to decide which ideas might be worth exploring further into full blown “published pieces”.

At CFA, our commitment to excellence reaches well beyond the classroom. Before 6th grade, each CFA student will take approximately 50 field trips within Wilmington and beyond at no additional cost to families. Why is this experience so advantageous? It helps students:

  • Develop a strong understanding of our community, city, and region
  • Experience direct, multifaceted, and firsthand experiences
  • Become engaged members of their community
  • Learn about the many important people who make our community function
  • Investigate local services and amenities
  • Appreciate local landmarks and geographical features
  • Deepen understanding of academic content learned at school
  • Explore their world with curiosity
  • Engage in comparative studies between communities
  • Understand their physical world through making maps
  • Enjoy valuable off-campus learning opportunities

This valuable enrichment is an important part of the strong foundation we build in the CFA Lower School ­ one that
promotes a passion for learning. Best of all, field trips are active, engaging, and fun.

Teachers and students use technology to draw on the most recent, accurate, and interactive information available to enhance their lessons.

  • a Smartboard in every classroom
  • document cameras
  • access to class sets of iPads in all LE, K, Gr. 1 classrooms
  • one-to-one laptop program in grades 3-5
  • daily instruction in proper keyboarding in grades 3-5
  • grade 5 weather station
  • Future Minds classes weekly for all Gr. 1-5 students

All students, LE­-Grade 5, have two Spanish, two Music, and two PE classes each week. Our LE-Grade 4 students have one 45­-minute Art class per week, and our Fifth Graders have two Art classes each week. These classes along with daily recesses, ensure that our students are developing physically, academically, and artistically.

STEAM is an acronym for Science, Technology,Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics. The idea of emphasizing these subjects in delivering the curriculum has been driven by the business community, with the goal of preparing an agile and competitive workforce. It is important to note that STEAM is not a program, but a philosophy. In the real world, content knowledge is interwoven, layered and sophisticated, not experienced in isolation such as in traditional education settings. STEAM skills are vital for success in the 21st century and critical to our collective future. Collaboration, cooperation and communication are emphasized through project based learning, usually through interdisciplinary (across subjects) activities.  Our FutureMinds Curriculum does just that.

The Little Explorers team up with the Fourth Grade for an exciting study of our campus. While the LEs explore to discover what happens behind the scenes at CFA and meet and interview key figures on campus, the fourth graders are on a cross­-curricular adventure! Little Explorers construct a giant 2D map of our campus using Google Earth as a guide before building a larger-­than­-life campus map using refrigerator boxes. As with all cross-­grade studies at CFA, students serve as both mentee and mentor, and their experience in each role provides ample opportunity for academic and personal growth. Our LEs and fourth graders are challenged to let their curiosity take flight. Often this develops into mini-­studies spurred by students’ ideas and discoveries along the way. As a celebration of this long­term study and a culmination of all we will discover and experience, we host a Community Mapping Exhibition. Parents attend and view the children’s many research, art, writing, math, and construction projects.

5th grade: Biz World
4th grade: Colonial Day Celebration
3rd grade: World’s Fair and The Wilmington Port: A Field Study.
2nd grade: Japanese Festival
1st grade: The Circus
Kindergarten: The Mitten
Little Explorers: Community Mapping Study