Lower Elementary (continued)
The Lower Elementary Curriculum
The Lower Elementary curriculum is organized as a series of lessons, carefully created to meet the developmental needs of every age level. Within the Lower Elementary program, multi-age grouping allows students the freedom to pursue academic achievement at various levels in each area of the curriculum and to enjoy stimulating interactions with younger and older classmates. The Lower Elementary classrooms are equipped with materials which are designed to teach various concepts and skills. The curriculum covers the following five areas of study:
Lessons in grace and courtesy continue in Lower Elementary where students learn the importance of peaceful interactions within the community. Kindness and respect modeled by adults provide a template for children’s social interactions. Service to the community is another practical life concept that is instilled in students from an early age. Students learn to understand and accept their responsibilities as members of a greater community. Coming together at circle fosters a sense of community by providing opportunities to share experiences and present projects and work in a supportive environment building confidence, compassion and communication skills. Through collaborative work with Children’s House and Upper Elementary, Lower Elementary has the opportunity to expand on the importance of community. Through special projects between levels, students work together cooperatively and build upon and share their knowledge with each other.
Children discover the physical world around them through their senses. The Sensorial segment of the curriculum in the Lower Elementary program helps students sharpen their senses and expand upon their powers of observation. Lessons are designed to help children learn to focus their attention. Sensorial lessons for studentsinclude nature walks, journaling, descriptive writing, cooking, art appreciation, and music appreciation.
The materials used in this program enable a student to establish a concrete basis of understanding to support the more abstract concepts in algebra and geometry. The Mathematics curriculum in Lower Elementary is designed to help students develop a conceptual understanding of basic number facts and functions, the value of money, the meaning of time and spatial relationships as well as computational and problem solving skills.
Comprehension, grammar, spelling, reading, and group discussion skills are further developed at the Lower Elementary level. Simple research reports give students an opportunity to practice their composition skills, and essay writing is introduced. In Grammar lessons, students learn the parts of speech and later perform sentence analysis to identify the parts of a sentence. Using geometric symbols to represent each element of grammar, children break down progressively more complex sentences as they become familiar with the function of words. Reading fluency is addressed with The Wilson Fundations Program, which provides the tools for phonetic decoding, reading and spelling.
The cultural studies in the Lower Elementary program are comprised of the study of science, history, geography, the arts and Spanish. Their work in this discipline helps students answer such questions as, “Who am I?”, “Where did I come from?”, and “Why am I here?” The cross-curricular nature of the topics appeals to students in a manner that capitalizes on their interests and learning styles. The broad scope of the curriculum cultivates students who are culturally aware and have a true appreciation for the diversity and wonder of the world around them.
Children begin to understand the concept of time and history in Lower Elementary through a variety of activities, including telling time on a clock and the use of various calendars and timelines. The story of the evolution of our planet and its many life forms begins at this level. Children are introduced to an overview of human history, using storytelling and colorful timelines, which trace the course of human achievement and are meant to inspire students to do further research.
Students learn the basic land and water formations, such as island, isthmus, peninsula, strait, lake, cape, bay, and archipelago by making three dimensional models of each and finding examples of them on maps. Such topics as formations of the oceans, rivers, lakes, the water cycle, the atmosphere, continental drift and tectonic plates, volcanoes, earth quakes, the ice ages, and the formation of mountain ranges are addressed with storytelling, hands-on experiments, and research. Other work includes an introduction to longitude and latitude, use of a compass, the study of the different flora and fauna, as well as the people of the different continents. Children benefit from the experiences of our multicultural community, as they explore regional foods, dress, music, art, religion, and traditions.
Specialists instruct students in art, music, drama, Spanish, and physical education. The arts curriculum is designed to familiarize students with some of the great masters of art and music, and to encourage students to recognize the arts as a means for creative expression. The Spanish curriculum includes listening activities (such as games and songs) that enable students to build a basic vocabulary. Older students are encouraged to learn to read and write in Spanish. The Physical Education program stresses movement and wellness through the enjoyment of individual and team games.
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