Pre K - 4th
Reading and Language Arts are taught through a balanced literacy program incorporating four main components of instruction: Phonics/Spelling, Guided Reading, Self-selected Reading, and Writing.
b. Writing Workshop teaches students about the process of writing, including prewriting, creating a rough draft, editing, publishing in a paper format or presenting in a digital format. Student/teacher conferencing and student/student conferencing are important elements of the program. Grammar is incorporated within the writing program utilizing the Shurley method, which focuses on understanding grammatical concepts, analyzing sentence structure through classification, and applying knowledge through sentence composition.
Learning mathematics is an active endeavor. Children experience mathematics as problem-solving. Children grow to understand that math is about reasoning: making conjectures about why something is the way it is and then checking out those conjectures; thinking for oneself rather than trying to figure out what the teacher wants. Mathematics is about communication: clarifying one’s thinking by talking to classroom peers, by listening to what they have to say, by finding ways to write down one’s experiences and thinking with the appropriate mathematical language, with diagrams, pictures, and graphs, and with mathematical symbols. Rather than being a set of isolated skills and procedures to be practiced and drilled until they are mastered, mathematics is about connections: seeing the relationships between mathematical ideas, seeing mathematics everywhere one looks.
Our inquiry-based approach to science includes learning about specific phenomena (characteristics, classifications, and principles that explain the universe) and the general strategies used to collect to collect and evaluate such information. One goal is to develop children’s innate curiosity about the world by allowing them to investigate unfamiliar objects and events, by teaching them respect for all living organisms, and by teaching them appreciation for the beauty, balance, and orderliness of the environment. A second goal is to broaden each child’s procedural and thinking skills for investigating the world, solving problems, and making decisions. This is achieved as each child actively participates in the scientific process, using his/her senses to observe changes, using science equipment and tools to measure and quantify observations in the classroom, laboratory, or outside, and using his/her own judgment to identify similarities, differences, and draw reasonable conclusions.
Social studies concern the nature of people and the world, the heritage of the past, and all of contemporary social living. The social studies are uniquely suited to fostering the knowledge, attitudes, values, and skills believed necessary for citizens not just to participate in a democratic society, but also to continually improve and perfect that society. In the early grades, students learn about the world in spatial terms. They are introduced to maps and other geographic representations, tools, and technologies to acquire, process, and report information from a spatial perspective. They learn about directionality, distance, and time. They also learn about the human “family” and systems for living, including homes, food and farming. In addition, children are introduced to the concept that they are citizens of the United States of America and the importance of good citizenship and patriotism. Studies of other cultures around the globe include, but are not limited to, China, Mexico, Spain, Germany, the Netherlands, and Japan.
The study of Bible is encouraged both formally and informally in the Lower School. The students attend a weekly Chapel service centered around a yearly theme from the Bible (e.g., “the fruit of the Spirit”). Students are encouraged to express their Christian faith through art, singing, performing and prayer at the weekly Chapel service.
Lower School Enrichments
Lower School Library
The 1st through 4th grade Library program supports children's independent reading and research as well as their classroom activities. As students advance through the lower school, they develop increasingly sophisticated approaches to research in a variety of media, both in the library and online. The lower school library uses both fixed and flexible scheduling. Each class will come to the library for instruction at least once a week and students are offered additional time throughout the day for independent work. In addition to developing a love for libraries, authors, illustrators, and genres, students will learn skills to become effective and cautious users of information. Students will have, access to and instruction in, technology and resources that will enable them to access, evaluate, interpret and apply information from print and non-print materials.
Lower School Spanish
Lower School Spanish Pre-K –2nd grade focuses primarily on the acquisition of vocabulary while incorporating hands-on, interactive activities that are developmentally appropriate. Some of the units of study include: colors, numbers, shapes, food, animals, and body parts. Language skills are learned through music, art and games.
Lower School Music
The goal of the music program in Pre-K through first grade is to introduce students to the basic elements of music. Students explore music and voice through singing, playing Orff instruments, and moving to songs of different cultures from around the world. Students explore music in order to develop listening skills and auditory discrimination of sounds: high, low, loud, soft, same, and different. The primary focus is to develop musical awareness, begin to distinguish basic form, recognize expressive elements, and learn to match pitch.
Lower School Art Program
The goal of the art program in Pre-K through first grade is to introduce students to basic art concepts and materials. Students are introduced to the elements and principles of art through a variety of art techniques. Students explore drawing, painting, clay, collage, and other media. Students are also introduced to aspects of art history. The primary focus is on developing basic art skills and exploring materials. Students also learn to develop their own ideas about their work and their peers' artwork.
Lower School P.E.
The goal of the physical education program in the lower grades is to provide students with the opportunity to develop body awareness and physical fitness, learn cooperation and teamwork, and understand how to make healthy eating choices. Students participate in games/free play, locomotor activities, and creative movement. In addition, they are taught about food and nutrition and the importance of an active lifestyle.