Country Day’s Lower School is committed to teaching the whole child by providing opportunities and experiences that develop self-confidence and authentic knowledge acquisition. 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.
First and Second Grade Students use the SuperKids program for Language Arts. This program is a systematic approach that continues to build from Kindergarten. First and second graders master more complex phonetics, learn to decode and encode, and apply their skills to become more fluent readers. Students are taught reading strategies in small groups, critical thinking is fostered, and students are introduced to multiple literary genres. The program also continues with vocabulary, handwriting, spelling, and writing. Writing is an imperative skill where 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.
Third and Fourth Grade Language Arts utilizes workshop methodology in Reading and Writing. The Units of Study in Reading and Writing are 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 allows students to express themselves in the creation of opinion, informational, and narrative writing.
First through Fourth grade utilizes Singapore Math, which has an 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 reinforced to ensure that our students are fluent in addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.
In First and Second grades, the Science program builds on a child’s natural and innate curiosity of the world around them. They participate in activities, hands-on experiences, and topic research.
Third and Fourth Grade students 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, 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, and construct explanations and design solutions.
Physical Education: Country Day's daily Dynamic Physical Education program gives students the opportunity to participate in various activities that improve general physical fitness, fine and gross motor skills, team work, and sportsmanship while having fun.
Fine Arts: Lower School students learn the elements of art, art history, contemporary art, and the interplay of theater with artistic movements. They draw inspiration from artists, art movements, and the world around us. Projects allow students to practice a variety of techniques. Individuality and creativity are encouraged so that every piece is unique.
Library Study: By hearing stories read and told, checking out books, learning to use the library, and making book-related crafts, children have many opportunities to discover new worlds through books and develop a passion for reading.
Music: Music classes introduce children to instruments, singing, cultural dances, rhythm, music notation and reading. These concepts are presented through games, listening, movement, playing instruments, and drama. In the Spring semester, second and third grade students learn to play the recorder. Fourth grade students learn to play the soprano ukulele.
Spanish: Spanish is taught through Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling (TPRS), an input-based approach to teaching language that focuses on the systematic instruction of vocabulary in a highly comprehensible, personalized, and contextualized manner. Students learn the Spanish language through gestures, acting, and repetition and acquire grammar and vocabulary through context clues and games.
Technology Literacy: Lower School Technology Literacy begins the process of developing digitally literate students. With a wide variety of projects and activities utilizing computers and iPads, our activities are designed to teach fundamentals, inspire creativity, and build confidence. Students develop skill in locating and using reliable online resources while engaging in activities designed to pique curiosity to extend classroom learning.
Experiential learning is a critical part of the educational experience at Country Day. Each year, students engage in exciting learning opportunities such as, a Zoo Field Trip, Flat Stanley, Inglewood Field Trip, Kent House Field Trip, Measurement Olympics, City-Wide Tour with Mock Trial, AG Magic Field Trip, Bike Safety Training, Spelling Bee, Sci-Port Field Trip, and Geography Bee. Lower School students can expect these fun, educational experiences: