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The Lower School Program

This program focuses on establishing a basic academic regimen. The course of study develops essential academic skills: reading, writing, listening, computing, and studying. The program emphasizes studies in English, with a dependence on phonics; in mathematics, where the teachers balance drill with critical thinking in the context of traditional instruction; in social studies and history, concentrating on Western traditions and particularly the American heritage; and in science, where students use practical materials to learn the lessons of nature. The program builds on foreign language skills developed in the Early Childhood Program.

First Grade

English
The student will decode language and use phonics skills, building a sight-word vocabulary. The student will maintain a journal and write stories as a means of developing writing skills.

Math
The student will add and subtract two-digit numbers without regrouping. The student will understand concepts of time, measurement, money, and sequencing. The teacher emphasizes the process as much as the solution.

History/Social Studies
The student will explore the nature of communities by focusing on the school and neighborhood community. The student will learn to identify the needs and wants of people and families. The student will also learn map skills, including cardinal directions and concepts of continent, country, state, and city.

Science
Students meet with the science teacher in the science lab and engage in an entirely hands-on curriculum.  Students learn scientific concepts and the scientific method through controlled experiments as well as reading and writing about science.  The units covered in first grade are Organisms, Weather, Comparing and Measuring, Balancing and Weighing, and The Moon and Beyond.

Second Grade

English
The student will develop skills and habits with which to read independently with improved comprehension. Both writing and spelling exercises stem from reading experiences. The student will focus on vocabulary development and spelling skills, as well as appropriate grammar in writing and speech. The teacher will introduce cursive handwriting.

Math
The student will develop skills in problem-solving and logical reasoning. The student will add and subtract two- and three-digit numbers with regrouping. The student will develop an understanding of number patterns, comparing and ordering numbers, interpreting tables and graphs, and using multiplication and division concepts. The student will understand the concepts of time, measurement, money, simple fractions, geometry, sequencing, probability, special sense, and patterns.

History/Social Studies
The student will engage in research and make presentations concerning comparisons of communities past and present, rural and urban. The student will understand wants and needs, producers and consumers, and goods and services.  The student will study local, state, and national government; how leaders are chosen; citizenship; natural resources and conservation; explorers, pioneers, and immigrants; family heritage; culture and customs; measuring time; local and national history; heroes and contributors in World History; holidays; current events; and rules and laws. The student will identify the continents, the oceans, the United States, and the state in which he or she lives.

Science
Students meet with the science teacher in the science lab and engage in an entirely hands-on curriculum.  Students learn scientific concepts and the scientific method through controlled experiments as well as reading and writing about science.  The units covered in second grade are Lifecycle of the Butterfly, Soil, Air, Changes, and Mystery Festival.

Third Grade

Language Arts
The course of study emphasizes vocabulary and comprehension. The teacher reads aloud to encourage enjoyment of diverse forms of literature, and the student reads independently and presents reports throughout the year. The program emphasizes spelling, grammar, expository writing, and handwriting. The teacher pays special attention to developing correct paragraph structure.

Math
The student will develop basic computational skills in addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. The student will also focus on fractions, decimals, geometry, money, time, graphs, charts, and estimation. The program stresses problem solving throughout the year.

Social Studies/History
The student will study land forms, climate, natural resources, and the industry of regions throughout the world through instructional media, field trips, hands-on activities, and research projects. The program highlights national holidays, current events, and important figures in U.S. history. Focus on map skills includes intermediate cardinal directions along with charts and graphs.

Science
Students meet with the science teacher in the science lab and engage in an entirely hands-on curriculum.  Students learn scientific concepts and the scientific method through controlled experiments as well as reading and writing about science.  The units covered in third grade are Plant Growth and Development, Rocks and Minerals, Chemical Tests, Sound, and Dinosaur Classification.

Fourth Grade

Language Arts
The student will develop an appreciation of literature and cultivate word-attack skills by reading chapter books as well as the basal reader. The program enhances vocabulary growth and spelling accuracy. Grammar, usage, and mechanics are integrated throughout the English program. An outgrowth of the program is refined problem-solving skills.

Math
The student will develop reliable skills in multiplication and division, working with fractions and decimals and identifying geometric figures. Instruction incorporates the use of manipulatives to promote critical thinking and mathematical reasoning skills.  The student will also develop skills in measurement, probability, and data analysis.

Social Studies/History
The focus of the program is the history, geography, government, and culture of Missouri. The student will also study the four geographic regions of the United States, learning differences in physical features, climate, population, farming, industry, natural resources, and major cities in each region.  The student will be able to locate all fifty states on a map.

Science
Students meet with the science teacher in the science lab and engage in an entirely hands-on curriculum.  Students learn scientific concepts and the scientific method through controlled experiments as well as reading and writing about science.  The units covered in fourth grade are Animal Studies, Water, Human Body, and Electric Circuits.

Fifth Grade

Language Arts
The program includes the customary focus on reading, writing, spelling, grammar, and vocabulary skills. The student will practice editing, grammar, sentence structure, and paragraph construction. The student will also read and study diverse genres of literature, and acquire new vocabulary from the readings.

Math
The student will expand on the previous year’s knowledge of math. The program emphasizes accuracy and speed in basic computations involving numbers up to 12.  The students also add, subtract, multiply, and divide whole numbers, decimals, and fractions. The students develop ability in problem solving, English and metric measurement, geometry, probability, and data analysis.

Social Studies/History
The students examine the history of the American people from early times to the present day. The program also focuses on the geography of the United States – mountains, rivers, forests, farms, cities, and natural resources in general.  Major skills developed in the course of the year include research, oral presentations, group projects, note-taking, and outlining.  Throughout the year, students compose essay responses using original ideas in complete sentences based on the questions.

Science
Students meet with the science teacher in the science lab and engage in an entirely hands-on curriculum.  Students learn scientific concepts and the scientific method through controlled experiments as well as reading and writing about science.  The units covered in fifth grade are Microworlds, Ecosystems, Levers and Pulleys, Measuring Time, and Magnets and Motors.

Specials

Art – Grades One through Five
Throughout grades one through five, students meet with the art teacher twice weekly.  They create works of art in various media, using a variety of techniques, to learn the principles of design and the elements of art.  Along the way, they increase their art vocabulary to be better able to communicate about their own creative efforts and about the role of art in society throughout history. Art projects connect to the classroom curriculum whenever natural opportunities arise.  The study of great works in art history proceeds thematically – that is, through landscapes, portraits, or figure sculptures.

Spanish – Grades One and Two
In 1st and 2nd grade most of class time is devoted to visual cues, songs, gestures, role plays, manipulatives, and listening practice in order to acquire vocabulary in context without translation.   They receive lots of comprehensible input and continue expanding their vocabulary.  They begin writing in simple complete sentences, though the emphasis is still on listening and uses of basic phrases.  Cooperative stories are still used, but students have an opportunity to begin reading in the target language as well as responding to questions about what’s being read.

Spanish – Grades Three through Five
The students begin the study of the details that make up the language.  The students learn to write in the target language and notice the differences between English and Spanish spelling and pronunciation.  A written study of familiar vocabulary moves it to active language. Activities include mimicry, aural comprehension, and reading and writing in the target language.  In addition, an emphasis on oral practice is encouraged through roleplays and specific times where only the target language is allowed.  Grammatical concepts include formation of regular verbs in the present tense, plurals, negatives, and questions, as well as spelling and gender agreement.  The students also study Spanish culture.  

Music – Grade One through Five
Students in the Lower School study music of many styles, composers, and performers from all eras.  Through an emphasis on singing, playing instruments, movement, listening, improvisation and composition, students learn basic theory, notation, musical form and style.  All students will experience playing percussion instruments, Orff instruments and recorders.  The students learn significant works by important composers, folk songs, popular songs, songs to accompany games, and songs that develop musical ability.  The students perform three times a year at school concerts.

Physical Education – Grade One through Five
The Physical Education program is based on the strong belief that a healthy, balanced, well-rounded student has a greater chance of learning, understanding, and excelling in and out of the classroom.  Fundamental age-appropriate motor skills are progressively refined and combined into more specific sport skills. The student will be introduced to a variety of skills through individual and team sports.  The curriculum stresses sportsmanship and fair play in all areas, with more sport-specific activity in the later years.  Through physical activity, the courses provide opportunity for challenge, enjoyment, self-discovery, self-expression, and lifelong skills to enhance one’s
quality of life.

Technology – Grades One through Five
Lower school students meet in the computer lab once a week during the school year.  Students gain confidence in accessing the local area network, using their personal network user names and passwords, and using the features of the PC.  Students participate in structured class assignments where they plan, design, and implement curriculum-related projects.  Technology instruction reinforces and enhances mathematics, language arts, social studies, and science curriculum. In the self-contained classroom, students also have access to a laptop cart, from which they can supplement their computer lab experience and integrate technology into the classroom. Specific topics include computer literacy, spreadsheets and charting, online research methods, formal keyboarding.  Multimedia presentations are created and presented in the fourth and fifth grades, involving collaborative efforts between the classroom and computer lab. The skills students master in the computer lab are easily and confidently transferred to computer use in the library, individual classrooms, and at home.


 
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