The lower school is a vibrant educational environment designed by expert educators committed to developing intellectual curiosity, a positive sense of self and a sensitivity to the needs of others in all students. Children are engaged in activities that are age appropriate and academically sound. The curriculum stresses the development of a solid foundation in reading, writing, mathematics and social studies. Each child is encouraged to read as much as possible; develop thinking skills; write clearly; practice computational skills; work independently; and to respect themselves, others and the environment. The students meet with at least two specials daily. Within the self-contained classrooms, music rooms, art rooms, gymnasium, computer labs, library and science labs, ample opportunities are provided for creative expression. From the first grade trip to the Museum of Contemporary Art to the investigation of mealworms in third-grade science, students are actively engaged throughout their school day. In PS through Fifth Grade, all students are encouraged and given multiple opportunities to practice public speaking: reading in chapel at all grade levels, reciting poetry in second grade, presenting at the Invention Convention and reporting on African countries in fourth grade.
The learning extends beyond the classroom. Each lower school class is paired with a middle school class and a buddy is assigned. Whether tie-dying t-shirts to be used for field trips or reading to your buddy, the relationships formed build a feeling of community and family. This is evident as the students are walking across campus and one sees older students stopping to talk with the younger children. Reaching out to the greater community through service projects is an important part of developing the students’ connection to the world beyond the classroom. From making blankets for the Linus Project in kindergarten, to raising funds to buy needed supplies for an animal shelter, to supporting the paralympic ski team, all students are involved in community service projects.
As the students grow and mature, the academic demands of the lower school program increase to meet their needs. Each child is encouraged and enabled to do their best work. Our students leave the lower school confident and with a strong foundation that will serve them well in middle school and beyond.