Experience shapes the brain and it is the school’s goal to provide opportunities for academic engagement that inspire students to think independently, as well as empowering them to apply information and be problem solvers.
The Lower School recognizes students as individuals with specific strengths and needs and views learning as taking place on a continuum. Children’s capabilities, interests, and current knowledge are foundations from which to begin inquiry. Lower School endeavors to create and maintain a community that supports learners’ curiosity, creativity, excitement and ownership of the process and strives to develop student’s lifelong pursuit of knowledge. The curriculum is chosen and designed to engage learners, build self-confidence, and promote good habits of citizenship.
Teachers work to set up classrooms to be learning communities where students can do the following:
- Grow personally
- Feel comfortable in taking academic risks
- Know that it is okay to make mistakes and that mistakes are an important part of the learning process.
First grade learners spend the majority of their school day with their homeroom teacher. They receive instruction in language arts, mathematics, social studies and science in that setting. Second and third grade students receive instruction in language arts and mathematics in their homeroom setting and receive instruction in social studies and science from a grade level teacher who concentrates in either social studies or science. Fourth grade students have a homeroom teacher. One of our fourth grade teachers provides instruction in language arts and social studies, while the other fourth grade teacher provides instruction in mathematics and science.
Specialists in first through fourth grade teach art, Christian Education, music, technology, library, Spanish and physical education. Fourth grade students may choose to begin orchestra. Because students need strong bodies to fuel strong minds, all Lower School learners have a daily recess period in addition to a daily physical education class. Research shows that play is linked to foundational skills and complex cognitive activities such as memory, self-regulation, oral language abilities, successful school adjustment and better social skills.
Lower school students also participate in grade level outdoor education trips. Beginning with a day trip in first grade, the student progress to cabin camping by fourth grade. Students learn safe living in the wildrerness while protecting and preserving the wilderness environment. The trips offer unique opportunities to appreciate God's creation and to build skills in leadership, teamwork, and community, The outdoor education curriculum and experiences build progressively through middle school, culminating in eighth grade with a ten-day backpacking trip.
The Lower School curriculum includes the following programs:
Handwriting Without Tears
HMH Into Reading
Zaner-Bloser Word Wisdom