Lower School Curriculum
The language arts curriculum enables each child to build decoding skills, fluency and expression, comprehension, and a love for reading and writing.
In Reading Workshop, students are engaged in a mini lesson that includes a reading strategy modeled by the teacher and an opportunity for guided practice. The students are then provided with time for independent, partner, and teacher-led guided reading. Lessons are concluded with a whole-group sharing session.
In Fundations, a multi-sensory, structured language program, students receive the foundational skills in phonemic awareness, reading fluency, vocabulary, spelling, and handwriting.
In Writing Workshop, lessons follow the same procedure as Reading Workshop. Students learn to write personal narratives as well as nonfiction chapter books. Reading and Writing Workshop are aligned, creating opportunities to intertwine the two subjects.
In mathematics, heavy emphasis is placed on mathematical thinking and the understanding of math in everyday life. Basic concepts include patterning, counting, measurement, place value, time, money, use of the 100s chart, graphing and mastery of addition and subtraction facts. Calendar activities and manipulatives are used to develop analytical skills as the children create and solve problems.
The social studies program enables the students to understand and interact with history, geography, economics, government and culture. Students will discover new people and learn their stories. They will experience new places and historic events as well as make connections with important people across time.
In second grade, students enhance their reading skills to be able to read to learn. Students build upon the fundamental content areas learned in first primary and develop their skills in grammar, study and research skills.
In language, students develop a love for reading as they read and progress on an independent reading level. An expressive writing component introduces students to the key steps of the writing process and guides them through many types of writing projects. From poetry and autobiographies to research reports, students enhance their writing abilities. During the second half of the year, students begin to transition from print to cursive.
The mathematics program exposes students to an expansive, in-depth, and balanced look at mathematics through the following content areas: numbers and numeration, operation and computation, data and probability, measurement, geometry, patterns and algebra. This comprehensive program encourages students not only to become comfortable with basic computational skills but also to understand how math and problem-solving applies to everyday life.
The social studies program integrates a study of neighborhoods and culture. Within the curriculum, students will learn about the world around them, Native Americans, immigrants, U.S. citizens and government, as well as economics.
The goal of the Language Arts program is to continue to teach and reinforce reading and writing for mastery and to foster an enjoyment of literature. In the reading program, students read leveled reading material based on their individual needs. Third primary girls are avid readers. Fundamentals of spelling and grammar are taught throughout the year. In third grade, our Language Arts focus is to “build a reading life.” We begin the year with workshops containing strategies for comprehension, fluency, and stamina. As we progress, we move on to tackling more challenging text that includes, but is not limited to: narrative fiction, expository nonfiction, and test preparation materials.
Social Studies in third grade has an emphasis on environment, community, a growing nation, and celebration of our community. Topics include, but are not limited to: land and water, climate and weather, resources, explorers, European communities, culture and diversity.
The Everyday Math program used in first through fourth grades focuses on student interest and maximizing student learning. The concepts and skills are developed over time and in a variety of contexts. We use dynamic applications, multiple methods and strategies for problem solving, and concrete modeling as a pathway to achieve understanding. We use collaborative learning in partner and small group activities as well as cross-curricular applications and connections. These approaches help students to develop a deeper understanding of mathematical concepts so that they are ready to start each grade at a higher level. It is aligned with the NCTM curriculum focal points. Ultimately, it is rooted in real-world problems and applications.
In 4th grade, students strive to become fluent in speaking, writing, and listening skills. The students continue to develop reading skills through class novels and through the social studies and science curriculum. The love of reading is further encouraged by daily reading of selected children's literature.
A variety of writing assignments, including poetry, allows students to progress at their own pace. Group discussion of writing helps students to solve common problems and to appreciate good writing. Specific skills such as grammar, spelling, vocabulary, structural skills, and punctuation are taught through daily reading, writing assignments and through workbook activities.
The emphasis in mathematics is for the students to utilize every phase of the learning process to help them solve problems concretely before attempting to solve them abstractly. Concepts include basic facts in the four operations, multiplication with two- and three- digit multipliers, long division with one- and two- digit divisors, metric and customary measurement, geometry, fractions, decimals, and collecting and graphing data. Problem-solving strategies are continually reviewed.
The social studies curriculum, through the study of the regions of the United States and the study of the rights of citizens secured by the U.S. Constitution, allows students to learn how past events influence their lives today. Current events, world geography, and map skills are also integral parts of the social studies program.
For more information about Lower School, contact:
Ashley Zito, Director of Admission