DEVELOPING THE WHOLE CHILD
The lower school’s focus is to create a community of curious and independent learners through rigorous and challenging instruction. Students are given ownership their learning which allows for a greater sense of agency and responsibility. Students develop an awareness of how they learn best through collaboration, exploration, and self evaluation, and in this they develop the necessary skills to direct their learning toward a path of person, academic, and social success. Students embody such characteristics as resilience, determination, dedication, compassion, and creativity in order that they may use their acquired skills to contribute positively to the local and global community.
Low student-teacher ratios give children access to individualized instruction. Small group and whole class instruction is also utilized in order to nurture and encourage the essential collaboration and communication skills necessary for each child’s future. With learner agency in mind as the forefront of the learning environment, students are afforded flexible seating and spaces are arranged for both individual and small group settings.
Reading instruction in all lower school classes is threaded throughout every area of study. Beginning in Grade 1, students gain a comprehensive understanding of regular and irregular spelling patterns through a variety of instructional methods. Reading Street is the curriculum used in lower school and is taught in such away that it addresses each child’s literacy needs. Fluency as well as comprehension are both key aspects in the process of creating well rounded readers.
An emphasis is placed on critical thinking skills with a focus on the ‘how’ rather than the ‘what’. Students develop a strong problem solving approach, using concrete and abstract thinking. The curriculum used in mathematics is Math in Focus with modifications to ensure each student is appropriately challenged, reaching beyond perceived potential and constantly evolving in their growth mindset.
Throughout all of lower school students write each and every day, using grammatical and spelling patterns to convey meaning. Lucy Caulkins and its proven formulaic approach is the guiding standard for writing instruction throughout all subject areas. Students are taught to be effective communicators (both verbally and in the written form), productive collaborators, and critical thinkers in order they may apply their learning to real life situations and become active contributors within their community.
In every area of study, students make connections between the curriculum and themselves, and the world around them. Within individual, small group, and whole group settings they develop critical research skills with the aid of books, technology, and local community resources. Field trips, relevant and thoughtful discussions, and interest driven projects allow students to develop a strong sense of community and global citizenship.
Through teacher guidance and open exploration, students develop the appropriate technical skills to express their creative self with purpose, knowledgeable intention, and expression. Students gain the confidence to create beautiful art work and perform in school productions, sharing their learning with their families and the community around them.