Our Lower School nurtures a love of learning and exploration of the world through a Jewish lens. We partner with our families in nurturing the whole child.
- Academic learning happens best within a positive social context. Teaching social and emotional skills is just as important as teaching academics.
- Students should be empowered to invest in their own learning. In our Project and Problem-Based Learning approach (or PBL) teachers come alongside students to guide and nurture their curiosity and creativity.
- An ever-changing world requires 21st century skills. We offer our students learning experiences that combine the foundational skills of reading, writing and math with skills in the areas of problem-solving, time management, research and technology.
- Focusing on the whole child allows us to make the best decisions about curriculum, classroom organization and management. Our Lower School faculty is 100% trained in Responsive Classroom (or RC), which is a student-centered, social and emotional learning approach to teaching and discipline where teachers strive to really get to know children individually, culturally and developmentally.
- A strong sense of community sets children up for success socially and academically. Morning Meeting is one of the most significant practices of RC and a highlight of the day for many children. Each morning students and teachers gather in a circle for 20 to 30 minutes and interact with four purposeful components:
- Greeting- Students and teacher greet each other by name
- Sharing- Students share about important events in their lives while listeners offer empathetic comments or questions
- Group Activity- An activity which fosters group cohesion and the development of social and academic stills
- Morning Message- A message from the teacher that helps students focus on the work they’ll do in school that day.
What You Will See in Our Lower School Classrooms:
- Joy in the learning process as students actively participate in lessons, conversations and social opportunities
- Students engaged in IDR (Individualized Daily Reading) with teachers facilitating deep discussions and understanding
- Students participating in Writing Workshop and learning to improve their pieces through editing and revision.
- Students working through math challenges by sharing their thinking
- Opportunities to work as individuals, in a partnership and in small groups
- Students being asked to reflect on their work and share the process they went through to arrive at their final product
- Teachers encouraging curiosity and risk-taking through the idea that mistakes are part of the process that leads to problem-solving and innovation
Support for All Learners
Grade Level Academic Support Specialists (GLASS) support students in the mainstream classes by providing small group instruction alongside the mainstream teacher. They work collaboratively with grade level teachers to meet the needs of all learners. The GLASS teachers provide supplemental reading and spelling instruction and help identify students who would benefit from additional technology resources such as: Learning Ally audiobooks, Read & Write for Google Chrome (text to speech and speech to text as well as other reading and writing tools) and Reflex Math (math fact fluency). They also ensure that classrooms have flexible seating options to match the needs of the students. Additionally, GLASS are the teachers in the Lower School Learning Support Pathway, a half day pull-out model that supports students with learning differences.