Lower Elementary (K-3)
The beginning years of a child's elementary school experience are full of wonder, growth, change, and excitement. Students transition from our Early Childhood program and from other nursery school experiences into our full-day kindergarten, where they form a community of learners that will accompany them along their journey.
Beginning in kindergarten, students take part in many of the special traditions of our elementary school, from participating in morning assemblies and the Olympics to acting as community service representatives and members of multi-age "families". Children enjoy a 10:1 student-teacher ratio in Kindergarten, and a 15:1 ratio in grades 1-3; our two master teachers in every classroom are able to conduct a combination of whole-class, small-group, and individual instruction to meet the needs of our diverse learners. The social-emotional makeup of each student is considered; ever-mindful of the developmental spectrum along which our students grow, our teachers observe, assess, and communicate the needs of the whole child to parents and to one another.
Students begin our elementary program with a wide range of literacy skills and a huge variety of interests; this is all reflected in our balanced literacy approach to reading instruction. A love for reading is fostered by giving students choice and authenticity in what they read alongside carefully structured teaching of needed decoding skills and comprehension strategies. Similarly, in writing, children find their voices and creatively express themselves while learning and practicing conventions of grammar and spelling. Our math classes are characterized by their real-world applicability, focus on problem-solving, and lots and lots of math talk. In social studies, our students broaden and deepen their definition of community, from their families and our school to our city and the global village. Woven throughout are our four core values - caring, responsibility, honesty and inclusion - and opportunities to live out those core values in service learning projects.
We are fortunate to be able to expose our students to a wide but meaningful variety of specialist classes. Lower Elementary students attend art, science, music, library, and PE anywhere from one to five times in a six-day cycle. These "special" subjects are integral to an interdisciplinary elementary education. Whether in the classroom or in specialists, students have access to developmentally appropriate technology - Smart Boards, iPads, and desktop/laptop computers - that is integrated into all aspects of the elementary curriculum.