Lower School Curriculum (Kindergarten-Grade 4)

Language Arts
Our individualized, interactive teaching methods motivate students to become strategic readers and writers — integrating the art of language into their daily lives for enjoyment, self-expression, and critical thinking. Children work at their own level to complete meaningful assignments, including reading by themselves, working on writing, learning about words, and listening to reading, as well as reading to someone else. Kindergarten students continue to expand their writing as they develop their reading and language skills. As they progress to the higher grades, students make progress in learning to work independently, while the teacher meets with small groups or with students individually. Teaching strategies and common reading and writing vocabulary are consistent through grade levels to maximize the academic growth of our students. Reading instruction focuses on comprehension, accuracy, fluency, and expanding vocabulary.

A spiraling curriculum provides a solid foundation for mathematics. Our students have consistently exceeded national math scores on standardized tests for more than a decade. Starting in kindergarten, students explore and master basic math concepts in greater depth and breadth. Teachers introduce multiple strategies and tools to help students become successful math thinkers. As the move up, multiple experiences with manipulatives allow children to understand mathematics at a conceptual level and educational technology enhances studies. Students work both individually and collaboratively to solve real-world problems and acquire “number sense.”

Every child needs to be scientifically literate to succeed. Our Lower School science lab provides an excellent setting for students to explore, discover, observe, and communicate. We teach the scientific method through laboratory work and recording, helping children to think, act, and explore like scientists. Our science specialist and classroom teachers promote enthusiasm and curiosity through hands-on activities in the science lab and our nature trails, as well as on field trips. Whether working independently or as part of a group, students acquire the skills necessary to draw connections between earth, life, physical, and environmental science.

World Languages
Spanish is introduced to students in kindergarten, both in the classroom and through the physical education program. Through songs, games, role play, books, and other types of materials, older students begin to read and write in Spanish or French, deepening their understanding of the languages. They take virtual trips to countries where the languages they are studying are spoken and learn about different cultures. Skype and other technologies connect to students in classrooms around the world.

Social Studies
In each of the four grades, the curriculum includes culture, history, geography, economics, and current events. Firstgraders study Japan, Ghana, England, and the Brazilian Rain Forest. Second-graders study the cultures, languages, and traditions of Native Americans. All regions of the United States are studied by third-graders. A two-day Southwestern Wisconsin trip is the culminating activity for the fourth-grade study of Wisconsin.

Kindergartners have the opportunity to spend time with the Lower School art teacher on special art projects. Students in grades 1 through 4 have the opportunity to create and explore through a variety of media, including drawing, painting, ceramics, and sculpting. Using the elements and principles of design as a foundation, children observe and explore art and architecture in extended weekly art periods. All grades visit the Milwaukee Art Museum in preparation for our highly anticipated Student Docent program, when 4th-graders present their favorite work of art to their families and friends.

Music is much more than singing! Students compose, move, create, and develop listening skills — promoting an appreciation for music. Using technology, students explore how music and other arts and disciplines are intertwined. Through performances, students build selfconfidence as they showcase what they have learned.

Children learn the fundamentals of movement through improvisation and composition. They are encouraged to develop ideas, self-expression, and innovation and apply concepts of space, time, and force. In third and fourth grade, they create and present a performance with an end-of-the-year dance concert.
Physical Education
Research shows how important consistent physical activity is for a child, and daily PE classes in our Read Gymnasium encourage students to be active, enjoy movement, and have fun. Our program incorporates health and fitness concepts, providing a great start for a healthy lifestyle. Our PE specialists teach the skills that are the foundation for future participation in athletic activities.

Library Information Arts
Students visit the Lower School Library regularly, where their lessons correlate with classroom instruction and research projects. Teachers encourage children to become independent readers and explore a wide range of genres and authors, cultivating an enduring love for literature.
Prekindergarten (age 3) - Grade 12 • Independent • Coeducational
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2100 W. Fairy Chasm Road, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53217 • 414.352.6000