Upper Learning — Grades 3 through 5

The Upper Learning classrooms emphasize critical thinking, problem-solving, and collaboration. In each grade, the teaching team works together to develop projects that draw on different disciplines and foster creativity.

  • The Upper Learning classrooms are located in a new building that was designed to promote collaboration. Each class has two co-teachers.In fifth grade, one teacher specializes in humanities, and the other, math-science.
  • Each class meets regularly with specialist teachers in technology, visual art, choral music, instrumental music, drama, library, and physical education. In addition, specialist teachers in math and literacy integrate classroom work with the overall curriculum.
  • In third grade, students begin to use Chromebooks and Google apps. In fourth grade, they receive restricted email addresses for communication with their teachers.
  • Interdisciplinary learning is emphasized; students work with the drama department to write and produce plays related to their reading and history; they work with technology integrators in the maker lab to create models associated with science and social studies units.
  • Field trips provide students with meaningful experiences tied to their studies; for example, they visit the Rubin Museum in connection with their Silk Road studies in fourth grade.

Meet Demetra Caldwell '97

A graduate of Riverdale, Demetra Caldwell teaches third grade. In 2016, she won Riverdale's Al Davis teaching award.

Meet Lee Pearson

Lee Pearson, co-teacher of the humanities in fifth grade and avid story-teller, describes the importance of stories in teaching and learning.

Identity Boxes

Who am I? A group of Riverdale fifth graders thought about that question as they read and discussed “George,” Alex Gino’s novel for elementary school readers about a transgender girl.

Interdisciplinary Learning in Fifth Grade

In February, the fifth grade presented a drama production that reflected their study of three novels about contemporary social themes. The interdisciplinary approach allowed students with different strengths and interests to shine in their own way.

Field Trips

In Upper Learning, students take field trips in connection with social studies, science, and art.

In third grade, field trip destinations include the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, the Museum of the City of New York, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. As part of their Hudson River study, students visit the Sarah Lawrence College Center for the Urban River at Bezcak and sail with the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater.

In fourth and fifth grades, field trips have included the Hudson River Museum, American Museum of Natural History, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rubin Museum of Art, and Liberty Science Museum. 


Riverdale Country School

Mind • Character • Community



Lower School
1 Spaulding Lane
Bronx, NY 10471
LS: (718) 549-7780

Middle/Upper School
5250 Fieldston Road
Bronx, NY 10471
MS/US: (718) 549-8810

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Riverdale teaches students to become lifelong learners by fostering "growth" mindsets. Go There ><

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The River Campus offers a spacious, natural setting for our youngest students, inspiring learning and play. Go There >

Riverdale offers "STEAM" (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) teaching to Lower School students. Go There >

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Middle School students explore hands-on learning through the Riverdale Maker program. Go There >

Project Knowmad allows Middle Schoolers to learn in a different way, using NYC as their classroom. Go There >

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Riverdale teaches students to make connections through our interdisciplinary programs. Go There >

The club and activity program encourages students to explore their passions and try new things. Go There >

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About 80 percent of Upper School students participate in athletics. Go There >

Riverdale's Hill Campus has an indoor pool, football stadium, weight room, and 3 playing fields. Go There >

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Approximately 20 percent of Riverdale students receive some level of financial aid. Go There >

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