Lower School

Advancing Curiosity

Advancing Curiosity Since 1878


We know that when students are encouraged to pursue their passions, the discoveries they make will lead to astonishing outcomes. Diving below the surface of questions and proposing challenging questions is the cornerstone of our Lower School.

Teachers balance wild curiosity and inventiveness within the thoughtful sequence of our curriculum. Developing literacy, numeracy and research skills allows students to learn independently and collaboratively while they pursue projects that harness focus and critical thinking to bring their big ideas to life.

With the elbowroom to apply ideas and test theories, active learners and adaptable thinkers are immersed in an educational journey.



Lower School students gather information through research and develop new skills, including thinking skills and problem solving skills. They are encouraged to inquire and reflect on how their thinking on a topic has evolved.

They refine their ideas through research and asking questions. Theories and knowledge are tested through activities both in and outside the classroom. As our Lower School students learn they retest their theories, adjusting them for new discoveries and experiences.

We challenge our students to extend their knowledge, refine their skills and work together to solve problems.

Our lower school students benefit from unique approaches to building the powerful skills that lay the groundwork for a strong academic future:

  • CAFÉ - CAFÉ is a visual organization of reading strategies into Comprehension, Accuracy, Fluency and Expand Vocabulary. The acronym is analogous to a CAFÉ where our young readers select a number of strategies from the CAFÉ menu in order to improve and enhance their experience. Whole class instruction is given in small repeated bursts to maximize attention and consistently revisit strategies. Teachers and students plan and identify personal CAFÉ goals, which allows for differentiation where each learner’s specific needs are addressed.
  • Daily 5 – The Daily 5 is the structure that supports authentic and extensive practice in reading, writing, and phonics. Daily 5 consists of 5 structured activities: Read to Self, Read to Someone, Listen to Reading, Work on Writing, and Word Work. Learning styles are considered through activity offerings that support visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learners.
  • Math in Focus - Creative, critical, and inquiry-based thinking skills are the key objectives of the Math in Focus program, which follows the Singapore Math Framework. This framework draws is anchored by the idea that students will achieve mastery by constructing their own understanding and exploring topics in depth. A few of the key components to the program include:
  • The Concrete-Pictorial-Abstract (CPA) learning progression ensures that every topic or skill is introduced using concrete materials or manipulatives, then moves to visual models or pictorial representations before students add a mathematical notation to their thinking.
  • Critical thinking skills are cultivated as students explore multiple methods of solving problems. Students are given the opportunity to approach topics in a variety of ways, allowing them to construct their own understanding of every topic and skill.
  • Problem-solving is a key aspect of Math in Focus, which gives students the opportunity to apply their understanding of a topic or skill in a novel situation. This type of problem-solving engages learners to be flexible in their thinking and moves students to authentic understanding.

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