Lower School

Pre-K4 through 4th grade

In Lower School we build an academic foundation by igniting our students’ natural curiosity through a comprehensive approach to learning. We recognize that no two children are alike and that each one brings unique qualities to our community. We push and support academic growth, while acknowledging that growth happens best when the emotional and social development of our students is equally valued and nurtured. We create whole and small-group environments that allow students to take risks and stretch beyond their level of comfort in order to exceed expectation. We believe that small class sizes are the key to success. Our low student-to-teacher ratio allows us to focus on the individual child and foster the development of critical thinking, self-confidence and a deep love of learning.

 

 

We build an academic foundation by igniting our 
students' natural curiosity.

Small group learning St. George's Episcopal School Natalie Rutsch

Lower School at a Glance

  • Pre-K4 and kindergarten classes integrate standards and objectives using the Project Approach, which emphasizes hands-on exploration of topics based on the students’ interests through small and large group activities and discussions.    
     
  • First through fourth grade students have a vertically-aligned curriculum in each subject to ensure strong continuity and reinforcement of skills across grades; the kindergarten reading and math curriculum is vertically aligned to first through fourth grade.
     
  • Reading and math content is taught in a flexible small-group setting, and groups are based  on students’ abilities and learning profiles in each grade level.
     
  • Three curriculum levels include advanced curriculum, standard curriculum and adjusted/modified curriculum.
     
  • Participation in assemblies helps promote confidence and public speaking skills, as well as stimulates  creativity.

Our Curriculum

Language Arts

We focus on developing a strong foundation in the fundamentals of reading, writing, listening and speaking in Lower School. We use various materials, multi-sensory techniques and technology to teach and strengthen reading skills. For our youngest students, the focus includes developing students’ phonological awareness and beginning fluency skills.  As students get older, we continue to build fluency and support how this impacts in-depth thinking and comprehension. Over the course of the elementary years, we foster a love of reading by providing countless opportunities for students to choose the books they read, while also  adjusting reading content to match the interests of our students. We use  Writing Workshop to develop independent and creative writers by providing direct instruction for the necessary writing skills and then allowing students full  creative control over their story topics and direction.

Mathematics

Beginning in Pre-K4, our program utilizes hands-on experiences to teach number recognition and early number sense. In kindergarten through fourth grade, students develop a deeper understanding of mathematical concepts and a higher level of problem-solving skills through daily problem-based interactive learning. Our math curriculum is aligned across kindergarten through fourth grade, allowing small groups to access content beyond their grade level in order  to push and challenge student strengths and abilities.

Science

 In Pre-K4 and kindergarten, students explore scientific topics and meet grade-level objectives through Project Approach investigations. They ask questions, create hypotheses, visit field sites, conduct experiments, meet experts in that field and create a culminating project that highlights the information learned. In first through fourth grade, science is taught by topic with an emphasis on hands-on learning through experiments, using the scientific process to reach conclusions.

Social Studies

Our Social Studies curriculum is  designed to help our students become active and knowledgeable citizens in their community. Over the course of Lower School, students learn about their immediate community and its place in our state, country and world communities. They learn the history of cultures, understand their impact on the present and relate aspects of those cultures to our world today. 

World Language

Every child is exposed to the French language in Lower School. In kindergarten through third grade, we build basic listening, speaking, reading and writing skills. Our program emphasizes only French being spoken in the classroom and incorporates the use of stories, plays, songs, games, puppets and gestures to present and reinforce vocabulary. Students also explore French culture and geography. In fourth grade, students are exposed to both French and Spanish to help students decide which language they wish to study in Middle School. 

Technology

Technology is integrated throughout the Lower School classroom curriculum using various  age-appropriate software programs and online resources.  Our classrooms are outfitted with the latest technology that enhances and enriches academic learning, including interactive presentation boards, laptops and iPads. In first through fourth grade, students take technology classes that provide direct digital literacy and technical skills. 

Visual Arts

In Lower School we aim to nurture self-expression and the art-making process so that students gain an understanding and appreciation of art. The visual arts program plays an important role in our approach to  teaching  the whole child by providing many creative outlets  in which  our students find their unique voice. Throughout the school  year, our students are exposed to various art mediums, including drawing, printmaking, painting, sculpture, collage  and ceramics.

Music

Beginning in Pre-K4, our music program utilizes the Orff-Schulwerk method and includes singing, movement, music theory, instrumental instruction and music history. Students in kindergarten through fourth grade sing and/or play instruments at St. George’s services and events held throughout the year. Additionally, beginner band is offered to students in third and fourth grades.

Physical Education

Our Lower School physical education program instills an early love of fitness,  physical  activity and team-building skills in our students.  We create  a positive and enthusiastic environment that emphasizes individual expression through movement,  personal body  and spatial awareness, as well as how  to work together to accomplish team outcomes.