Pine Cobble School Cluett Building l Williamstown, MA

Intermediate School

Intermediate School / Grades 4-6

Intermediate School is a bridge between the elementary years and the rigors of the Upper School experience. Students enter as fourth graders; by the time they reach the end of sixth grade, they will have mastered an astonishing amount of material. They will have a solid foundation in both Latin and Spanish. They’ll be able to write research papers, apply complex mathematical and scientific reasoning to the world around them, and argue persuasively. More important, they will have developed a solid sense of themselves as leaders, community members, team members, and supportive friends.

These years are a time of fantastic growth and change. Students are learning to think about themselves as both separate from, and part of, their broader community. They’re capable of new levels of critical thinking, and they care deeply about the world around them. Pine Cobble uses their burgeoning sense of independence to help prepare them for the challenges – both personal and intellectual – that lie ahead.


  • Students learn two languages. In fourth and most of fifth grade, they study classical mythology as a precursor to their Latin studies. Beginning at the end of fifth grade, they begin studying the Latin language. In addition, all students continue with their Spanish studies.
  • Work is increasingly self-directed. By the end of sixth grade, students will have engaged in multiple research projects, which they present in front of the community. They will answer questions from classmates, students of all ages, community members, and a range of faculty — a terrific way to learn intrinsic motivation for knowing the subject as fully as possible.
  • Curriculum draws parallels between subjects. This hones critical thinking skills, brings the world to life, and allows students to engage more fully in inquiry, analysis, and evaluation.
  • Language arts explore the relationship between reading, writing, spelling and grammar. Students are exposed to a broad range of literature, including historically marginalized voices. They read and write many different genres — fiction, non-fiction, prose, poetry, plays, letters, expository writing, reports, biographies, and more. By the end of sixth grade, students can explore the deeper meanings in literature, write thoughtfully, edit their work, respond constructively to others’ work.
  • History and social studies emphasize connections between past and present, between their own experiences and those of other time periods and cultures, and between different aspects of a given society — art, science, politics, technology and daily life. We present history not merely as facts to be memorized, but rather as the lived experiences of human beings, with multiple potential interpretations based on perspective.
  • Students practice and master mathematical skills in a way that promotes a deep understanding of numbers and number systems, computation, data analysis, algorithms and reasoning. Students do more than solve mathematical problems; they explore the meaning behind their solutions.
  • Science allows them to explore the real world around them. Investigations take place both indoors and out, in the ecosystems found in and around the Pine Cobble School campus. Students monitor invasive species and water quality, track erosion and wildlife, create model ecosystems, share data with worldwide scientific bodies and present school-wide research studies. They develop testable questions, consider variables, create hypotheses, make qualitative and quantitative observations, summarize and analyze results, research data in various forms and present results to the Pine Cobble community.
  • Physical education allow students to challenge themselves both as individuals and on a team. In fourth and fifth grade, students have physical education classes. By sixth grade, students play on school teams in place of physical education classes. All students also participate in our winter sports program on Fridays.
  • Their hard work is punctuated by plenty of joyful play. All intermediate students spend at least 30 minutes free time outside daily. Many days, it’s more. .

Does it work? You bet it does. Here’s some evidence: for ten years in a row, Pine Cobble students, grades 4 and 5, have earned recognition in the Massachusetts Letters About Literature writing competition. Their work was selected from thousands of entrants, placing them in either the top 1%, 5%, or 10% of writers in the commonwealth among students their age.