Our Lower School includes Kindergarten through 5th grade classes. Children work both independently and together in building skills, problem-solving, gaining knowledge of the world around them, and exploring that world.
Lower School Curriculum Details
We use a rigorous phonics program that utilizes the Ortan-Gillingham approach to teach reading to students in Kindergarten through second grade. This curriculum provides students with the tools to decode words and build reading fluency. Students build confidence and skill by using Basal readers and other literary texts that incorporate and emphasize comprehension, vocabulary, context/picture cues, alphabetizing, synonyms and antonyms, and story elements. Instructional strategies include pairing and grouping students for activities, creating a hands-on, experiential learning environment, and recognizing and meeting the different abilities and needs of each student.
As students progress to third grade, the Language Arts curriculum incorporates a variety of language experiences in a literature-based program. Students work cooperatively and independently on a variety of activities that foster application and integration of language concepts, encourage creativity, and develop effective communication skills. Instructional objectives include developing comprehension and vocabulary, discovering literary genres and authors, and writing in a personal journal.
Understanding the writing process in Kindergarten through fifth grades includes creating and refining a topic and thesis, learning sentence and paragraph development, using transitional sentences, and applying both organizational and creative techniques. Students progressing through fourth and fifth grades gain practice and skill in writing both fiction and non-fiction. By the end of the third-grade year, students will have completed their first research paper
The lower school science curriculum covers the scientific method, laboratory skills, life science, earth science, and physical science. Through scientific investigations, students are encouraged to think, solve problems, and apply concepts outside the classroom. In addition to scientific investigations, students read about science vocabulary, concepts, and conceptual application to the world in a supplemental text and non-fiction literature.
Our social studies curriculum in Kindergarten through 5th grade focuses on map skills, geography, regions of the United States, and community studies. Students participate in simulations that make learning come alive. Each lesson is followed by guided reading activities that use visual organizers to help students understand and remember the concepts.
Lower and middle school art provides students with the opportunity of using art to develop and promote self-awareness, creative individuality, and self-esteem. Each student is encouraged to approach each project in his or her own creative way. Emphasis is placed on elements of art, art history, cultural and traditional art, color theory, and a variety of artistic mediums and techniques. As students enter middle school, they encounter more challenging projects that help them experience a wide variety of various media, creative concepts, art terminology, and techniques.
The lower school music curriculum connects students with their musical abilities, creativity, and cultural awareness. Students in Kindergarten and first grade attend class twice a week while students in second through fifth grades attend class once a week. The music curriculum teaches students basic music symbols and note-reading and writing. Students are also exposed to a variety of musical selections while learning about musical composers. Throughout the year, students demonstrate their musical knowledge and abilities by performing for seasonal concerts, service concerts, and music festivals.