Chandler school the only with nationally recognized teaching program

CHANDLER, AZ - They're only in fourth grade, but kids at an East Valley school are learning things many children usually only learn in middle and high school.

Humphrey Elementary is the only school in the Chandler School District teaching about class systems in the dark ages.

It sounds like a college course.

"One of the units that they really love is Medieval Europe and feudalism," said Tammy Zappin, a fourth grade teacher at Humphrey Elementary, has been teaching a Core Knowledge curriculum for two years.

Her students are learning about class systems in the dark ages and teachers say it's engaging.

Kids, little by little, learn things they normally would only see in middle or high school.

Little ones in kindergarten are already learning about the presidents.

While in six grade, they're reading Shakespeare.

"It's just really rich content, rich in history, and just everything about the world cause when students are reading and they know more about the world they're going to understand more about what it is they're reading and any book," Zappin said.

She adds the teaching approach is also specific and sequenced, meaning everything is in order that way teachers know what students have learned in lower grade levels.

"We can pick up right where they left off," Zappin said. "There [are] no gaps in their education and there is no repeating what they've learned before."

Zappin's fourth grade class is reading Treasure Island, which is also used to teach other skills.

You'll find while reading this story, they'll also learn about geography.

"We make a treasure map and we're working with mapping skills," said Zappin. "And we do a mapping project."

The goal is to challenge these kids from early on.

Andi Gates, one of Zappin's students, said bring it on.

"I like challenging things and she likes to challenge us to see what we know and push what we have to learn and at least try something," Gates said.

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