Curriculum Guide

Lower School Class Descriptions

English/Language Arts

In the lower school, students continue to build fluency and vocabulary while mastering skills such as identifying the main idea, plot, and asking and answering questions. Through the years, students will explore a variety of genres such as folktales, fiction, informational, biography, fantasy and poetry. Students continue to develop grammar skills and writing skills, as assignments take students through the process of developing essays.

By the end of lower school, students will be able to

  • Identify key details
  • Summarize ideas
  • Make, revise and confirm predictions
  • Identify point of view
  • Compare and contrast
  • Understand quoting and paraphrasing

Math

Lower school mathematics continues to build on basic understanding of numbers through learning equivalent names for whole numbers, fractions, decimals and percents. Lower school students also begin to practicing basic computation with addition and subtraction procedures along with multiplication and division facts.

Lower school graduates will be able to

  • Understand equivalent names for numbers
  • Understand common numerical relations
  • Compute accurately
  • Make reasonable estimates
  • Understand meanings of operations
  • Analyze and interpret data

Science

Lower school science explores the natural world, starting with lessons on forces and motion, weather, sound and light, and ending with animals, plants, earth and biology. Each year, students also have one unit lesson with an engineering focus to incorporate math with science while exploring the basics and problem-solving skills related to engineering.

Graduates of lower school will be able to

  • Explain how engineers define problems
  • Understand energy
  • Understand plant structure and function
  • Discuss renewable and non-renewable forms of energy
  • Understand the structure and function of DNA

Social Studies

Students learn about the people, places and history of their world through social studies. In the lower school, this journey begins with children gaining knowledge of their community and the people in it, and culminates with the story of the United States from its formation to the Civil War.

World Languages

In Kindergarten, parents choose which path their student will go: Continue with Spanish language acquisition, or embrace the Mandarin immersion program.

Lower School Spanish students use the Sonrisas Spanish Curriculum.

Thematic study is provided with the Spanish teacher speaking 90% of the time in the target language. Language acquisition is developed in the four skill areas: listening, speaking, reading and writing. Each Spanish Level is a two year program building on and expanding students prior knowledge.

Mandarin students are immediately immersed in a new language. From day one, students begin learning basic identifications such as classroom objects and body parts. Before graduating lower school, students are speaking in complete sentences and are approaching mastering a conversational level in the language.

Religion

The lower school Bible curriculum continues to focus on building character through use of Bible stories. In the lower school as students matriculate, the stories are used as a spiritual and practical guide, students are able to make informed decisions/commitments to Christ and are held accountable for living out their commitment to Christ. By the end of fourth grade, students should realize that the Bible is the basic guideline written for the believer. They should also know:

  • Doctrine and OT/NT support
  • Scripture memory and recall
  • Old Testament books (Historical)
  • Order of the books
  • Authors of selected New Testament books
  • Themes
  • Informed inquiry
  • Telling others about Christ
  • Public prayer
  • Service to God
  • Profession of Faith (age/knowledge appropriate)
  • Appropriate behavior/participation in chapel and church

Technology

Lower school technology students are introduced to technology through our programs which begin with online painting and book making. Through the years, students learn how to use technology in every-day situations such as storytelling and journaling. Finally, students learn how to use technology in more practical ways such as in making presentations, research, newsletters and budgeting.

Physical Education

In the lower school, physical education is not all fun and games. Students learn about rhythym and dance, stunts and tumbling, working in pairs, and the fundamentals of team activities. Fitness, such as plyometrics, pilates, running, jogging and walking are also part of the lower school physical education program.

Lower school graduates are able to

  • Describe and demonstrate how learned skills in one physical activity can be transferred to another
  • Describe basic principles of training and how they improve fitness
  • Recognize the five components of physical fitness
  • Participate in a variety of activities outside of class

Music

Lower school students build on their knowledge of music concepts, reading music, performing and celebrational music, while also adding a musical instrument -- the recorder. Listening maps and authentic sound recordings help students learn about tone color, expressive qualities and cultural context.

By the end of lower school, students will have the musical foundation needed to continue with the band and orchestra requirements of upper school.

Art

Lower school students learn the basics of art principles by studying the masters such as Joan Miro, Rembrandt van Rijn, Rosa Bonheur and Jacob Lawrence. Through their journey, they will experiment with shape, line, space, value, texture, color and more.

This study also enhances students' cultural and global awareness, as they encounter the expressions, times and environments of artists from around the globe.