Lower School Program
In Lower School, students are introduced to a dynamic, fast-paced, and exciting environment. Their day is structured around the homeroom, but they also attend classes in the art and wood studios as well as in our gymnasium and music classroom. The children begin their academic study with an investigation of their own place in the world. They look at themselves in ever-widening circles: in relation to their peers, their family, and their school community. They learn what it means to be a student — and a member of a class — by following routines and directions. Because our classes are small, teachers are able to genuinely understand each student and how he or she learns. Our teachers recognize individual achievements and encourage each child to flourish at every step of the way.
Take a tour of Lower School, and you’ll see that books are everywhere. Language acquisition is at the heart of all we study. It is woven into everyday life through listening, speaking, reading, writing, and discussing. In pre-k, students begin learning language through letters, sounds, and patterns; by third grade they are well on their way to becoming independent readers.
As our students become proficient readers, they also acquire other basic skills. They learn addition and subtraction, and are introduced to elements of measurement and time. They study their local communities, past and present, as an introduction to history and social studies. At every opportunity, they write. By the end of the third grade, our students are confident writing both expository and creative prose.
With the basic skills mastered, students in fourth and fifth grade begin to stretch their wings, gaining knowledge of the world around them. They study the government of Cuba and ponder what it would be like to live in a dictatorship. In science they program a robotic car and graph its progress on a spreadsheet. Regardless of the discipline, the process is as important as the result. Students are encouraged to develop creative strategies—drawing a picture, making a list, or recognizing a pattern—to find answers to challenging problems.
Visit Tower, and you will see students working with extraordinary focus and determination. Our teachers set high expectations and then work with the students to help them attain their personal levels of excellence. By the end of the fifth grade, our students are confident in their academic skills and have a real sense of connection with the Tower community. They are prepared for the expectations of our Upper School.