Our Lower School is made up of children who are on a developmental level between pre-kindergarten and third grade. These classrooms provide an emotionally supportive environment for each child. Our top priorities are to earn the students’ trust, improve their self-confidence, and help them develop appropriate interactions with teachers and peers. By building a strong foundation of trust and increasing student self-esteem in an environment that is secure and positive, we find students are much more willing to take on difficult academic tasks without hesitation. The maximum student:teacher ratio of 6:1 allows teachers to provide the support each student needs to develop socially, emotionally, and academically.
Before going to separate homerooms each morning, all Lower School students join together for S’cool Moves (a.k.a, The Dance Party). These exercises incorporate core strengthening, midline crossing, rhythm, vestibular input, and proprioceptive input and are set to lively music. This combination activates the reticular activating system (RAS) in the brain stem, which alerts and prepares the brain for learning.
The purpose of the morning homeroom is to give students the opportunity to transition to school in a relaxed yet productive manner. During morning homeroom, students participate in the following activities:
- Planners are completed every morning. Students write their name, the date, and then teachers fill in what was done in each class throughout the day and any comments about how that child did in each class. These are sent home daily to be signed.
- Calendar time is used to reinforce concepts such as time (days, months), patterns, counting, skip counting, and place value.
- Classroom jobs are assigned to each student for the week. These are reviewed during morning homeroom and morning jobs are completed.
- The Alert Program is used to help children identify their own level of sensory arousal, judge if it is appropriate to their current environment, and learn how to make adjustments when necessary.
Therapies, Specials, Social Time
Our lower school students receive the following:
- Physical Education daily
- Occupational Therapy daily
- Language Therapy four times weekly
- Music Therapy two times weekly
- Art once a week
- Library once a week
- Computer Lab once a week
- Sign Language a week
- Recess twice a day
Students in lower school have a daily planner that serves as the primary communication between school and home. Students will complete their name and date on a daily basis. The teacher will complete a check list of academic skills and strategies, what specials/therapies were included that day, homework due Friday, and behavior notes. The parents will be able to see what the day entailed and how the student reacted to the events during the day. There is a place for parents to write notes that are important for the teacher to know.
Homework is assigned each Monday and due back each Friday. Homework is used to reinforce academics students have been learning at school or a review of related material to ensure they still remember what they’ve learned in the past. It is a confidence builder in that it is something the child should be able to do independently and feel proud to show their parents what they can do. If homework becomes a struggle for a student, either because it is too much or too difficult or just because they don’t want to do it, we ask parents to disengage and write a note to the teacher describing what happened. Homework is a teacher expectation so let the teachers assist/modify, or provide a consequence if necessary.