In Lower School at Country Day, we challenge our students to be creative, innovative, leaders. We are committed to teaching the whole child by providing opportunities and experiences to develop self-confidence and gain knowledge in order that our students will succeed academically and socially. The lessons are designed to challenge students to problem solve, think critically, collaborate, but also work independently. The experiences in Lower School are also differentiated to accommodate each individual child and their learning styles. Our teachers create a nurturing environment where students feel safe asking questions, making mistakes, taking risks, and exploring new ideas.
Our reading and writing program in 1st and 2nd grades is SuperKids. This is a systematic approach that continues from Kindergarten. First and second graders master more complex phonetics, learn to decode and encode, and apply their skills to become more fluent readers. They are introduced to different literary genres with SuperKids. The program teaches reading strategies in small groups and encourages critical thinking. The program also continues with vocabulary, handwriting, spelling and writing. With writing, students learn to express ideas through narratives, opinion writing, letter writing, and research reports. SuperKids also offers a tech portal that students can access at school and home with different learning games, songs and online stories.
In 3rd and 4th grades, reading and writing are taught with a workshop approach, using Lucy Calkins. The program is designed to differentiate for the many levels of student abilities using meaningful texts. Small group and one-on-one conferencing ensures that each child has opportunities to grow and develop their skills at their own pace. Students use authentic literature in a wide variety of genres. The writing program is focused on instruction and application of opinion, informational and narrative writing. Students are taught to express themselves through their writing.
Our first through fourth grade math program is Singapore math with the emphasis on mastery, critical thinking, and problem solving. It is step-based so that students can begin with concrete manipulatives and move into the abstract. Pictorial representation is a crucial part of this program that helps students develop strong conceptual understanding. Essential basic math skills are also part of the program to ensure that our students are fluent in addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.
In first and second grades, the program is built on children’s curiosity of the world around them. They participate in activities, hands-on experiences, and topic research.
Third and Fourth graders use Amplify Science to question, discover and experiment. The scientific process is stressed throughout the curriculum by allowing students to observe, predict, experiment, infer, apply and communicate. Students are provided opportunities for hands-on learning for topics such as energy conversion, earth science, wave communication, forces, weather/climate and environments and survival. Students are taught to gather information from various sources and apply knowledge to solve problems and answer questions. They develop and use models, carry out investigations, analyze and interpret data, construct explanations and design solutions.
Experiential learning is a critical part of the educational experience at Country Day. Each year there are traditions that have stood the test of time and proved positive for the school community. Below you will find a list of experiences that families should expect in Lower School: