Academics

Lower School

Students in the lower school learn in classrooms full of books and materials with which to explore, discover, and invent. Their teachers understand the needs of children at different stages of development. The curriculum sets a strong foundation in reading, writing, and mathematics and provides rich experiences in the arts, science and technology, and physical education.
“The curriculum sets a strong foundation in reading, writing, and mathematics and provides rich experiences in the arts, science and technology, and physical education.”
The reading program in each grade is designed to enable students to become joyful, confident and habitual readers. In writing workshop, students create poetry and prose as they engage in the process of writing, editing, and sharing. Mathematics lessons build skills and emphasize the connections between math and everyday life. Each grade focuses on a social studies theme, which is explored through reading and writing as well as field trips, skits, and special projects. Beginning in kindergarten, all students take part in the foreign language program, which introduces common vocabulary through games, songs, and activities, and provides insight into culture. Spanish is introduced in Kindergarten and continued in second grade. First and third graders learn French. Fourth graders take both languages. Kindergarten students also begin the science program which exposes young learners to scientific information, the concept of investigation and the scientific method through hands on learning and interaction with their world. In addition to learning in their self-contained classrooms, students visit co-curricular teachers in the science lab, French and Spanish rooms, gymnasium, music room, art studio, computer center, and library. Teachers use the pond, fields, gardens, and woods to inspire poetry, conduct science labs, and provide an outdoor setting for reading classes.

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  • Curriculum Overview

    The lower school experience involves many traditions that promote joyful learning, reflective thinking, and a sense of community: intergrade activities including pen pals and reading buddies; school-wide events such as the Simple Meal and Field Day; science labs; whole-class jobs such as the kindergarten attendance team and the fourth grade recycling squad; field trips to nearby theaters, nature preserves, historic homes and museums; and fundraising efforts for Heifer International and the Astor Head Start.
     
    Small classes and observant teachers ensure that students benefit from close, individual attention. Parents receive regular communications from teachers through progress reports, classroom newsletters, memos, and all-school bulletins.