The St. George Lower School serves students from junior kindergarten (4 years old) through fifth grade.
The lower school program cultivates curiosity, confidence, problem- solving skills, and a lifelong love of learning in a motivating and nurturing environment. The program combines traditional learning with collaborative and innovative instruction to ensure mastery of basic skills while also challenging students to think more deeply and creatively.
In junior and senior kindergarten, teachers build upon each student's natural curiosity and joy of learning by encouraging creative exploration and discovery through hands-on activities, meaningful play, storytelling, movement, and engaging discussion to develop listening and language skills, math and reading abilities, and social and emotional competencies.
First and second graders build solid educational foundations in arithmetic, reading and the language arts through our explicit phonics approach, the Shurley method, and the Dimensions math curriculum.
The St. George third grade year is one of transition for students as they continue to solidify their skills in math, reading, language, and the social sciences. Third graders become more independent and self-assured learners as they delve more deeply into all subject areas and begin to see and make connections between the different disciplines.
Fourth and fifth grades are years of increasing independence and responsibility as students attend departmentalized classrooms and begin to take leadership roles in chapel and the Lower School Ambassador program. Having established a solid foundation of skills and knowledge, students are ready to grow as learners and develop more abstract critical thinking skills. Fourth and fifth graders actively connect their learning to real world situations and applications through project-based learning and collaborative activities that require students to synthesize learning across subject areas.
All children from junior kindergarten through fifth grade participate in daily morning meetings or afternoon advisory periods designed to develop their academic, social, and emotional skills in a learning environment that is developmentally responsive to their strengths and needs. Lower school students attend chapel daily and participate in the following co-curricular classes: music, art, Spanish, physical education, STEAM, library, and technology.
The following curriculum overviews give a more in-depth look at each grade level’s essential academic material.
Grade Level Curriculum Overviews
Junior Kindergarten Curriculum Overview
Senior Kindergarten Curriculum Overview
First Grade Curriculum Overview
Second Grade Curriculum Overview
Third Grade Curriculum Overview
Fourth Grade Curriculum Overview
Fifth Grade Curriculum Overview
In junior kindergarten through second grade, the reading curriculum includes an in-depth focus on phonemic awareness and beginning reading skills through our explicit phonics program and exposure to a wide variety of print materials. The reading program provides differentiated instruction in reading comprehension, fluency, vocabulary development, and oral and listening abilities. Students learn to write using the the D’Nealian print manuscript and learn cursive script beginning in second grade. The Shurley English curriculum, Primary Spelling by Pattern, Vocabulary Through Morphemes, and Words Their Way are integral components of the writing curriculum.
The Bridges in Mathematics curriculum is the core of the junior and senior kinder math program. Bridges provides a blend of direct instruction, structured investigation, and open exploration to develop a strong number sense which enables students to think flexibly and fluently about numbers. First through fifth graders continue their mathematical development with the Dimension Math curriculum. This program instills a deep understanding of mathematical thinking and allows students to develop competence and confidence in mathematics.
A spiral approach of exploring life, earth and physical science is incorporated into the lower school science program. An emphasis is placed on discovery learning and hands-on activities as students master what it means to be a scientist working through the basic scientific processes of observation, measurement, prediction, experimentation, and recording and sharing of results. At all grades, the science curriculum utilizes engaging activities to promote curiosity and foster the development of science inquiry skills. In addition to the science lessons in the classroom, all students have the opportunity to test their scientific knowledge and understanding regularly in our dedicated Lower School science lab.
In junior kindergarten, students expand their self awareness, social skills and build self-confidence as they study family, communities and different cultural traditions around them. In senior kindergarten through fifth grades, the CORE Knowledge History and Geography program drives the social studies curriculum. This program integrates topics in civics and the arts as it engages students in a comprehensive study of world and American history and geography. Students build knowledge of diverse civilizations, cultures, and concepts by grade level. Social studies is brought to life each spring when the school community culminates instruction in economics , entrepreneurship, and service learning with our annual “Le Marché” trade fair.
The art program exposes students at all grades to a variety of concepts, techniques and media. Curiosity and creativity are encouraged as students express themselves through a wide array of art mediums and build their foundational art skills.
Each student in the lower school visits the library and has the opportunity to check out books once every six days. The librarian uses this time to expose students to different genres of literature as well as various authors and illustrators in order to encourage lifelong reading.
Music instruction combines movement and song, both vocal and instrumental, as the instructor encourages students to actively engage with music. Students learn how to read musical notation and are given opportunities to play various percussion and wind instruments.
The physical education program gives students the opportunity to build their general fitness capabilities through regular cardio, upper body, and core exercises. Students also learn the skill sets needed to participate in a variety of individual and team sports.
The lower school Spanish program exposes students to conversational Spanish with a strong emphasis on vocabulary development and receptive and expressive language skills, as appropriate to each grade level.
Students utilize the resources and materials in the Ice Cube STEAM lab to innovate, create, and engineer solutions to real world problems. Using the Engineering Design Process as a guide, students learn to ask questions, imagine possibilities, plan steps to a solution, create test prototypes, and improve designs based on information gathered. Students are encouraged to act as scientists, engineers, artists and problem solvers, and everyone is encouraged to take missteps in stride and use them as fuel for success.
Third through fifth grade students participate in courses designed to teach them how to use tools, techniques, and processes to support and enhance their learning. Instruction is integrated into project-based curricular activities across all subjects as the students learn to be gatherers of information, critical thinkers, communicators of knowledge, and safe users of technology.