Lower School

Lower School

In the Lower School at Providence Academy, our goal is to provide students with an outstanding elementary education in order to set a firm foundation for learning.  A content-rich elementary curriculum in the hands of professional educators of the highest caliber, enlivened by the faith and values of a Catholic school are the keys to our students’ success.

Providence elementary students learn and grow in an atmosphere that is structured to be calm, yet filled with exciting learning opportunities. Class sizes are small.  Children feel nurtured and valued by their teachers.  This environment creates a sense of security in which children thrive and in which serious discipline issues are few.

The Lower School utilizes the outline provided by the Core Knowledge Sequence. This method, in which various areas of study are integrated, is at the heart of the Providence elementary curriculum. Our dedicated and experienced teachers work in teams to design creative lessons that tap their young students’ natural curiosity and desire to learn.

Afternoon Extended Day programs and after-school clubs and activities offer the same excellent academic quality and focus on faith found in our school-day curriculum. Extended day staff members provide a safe and fun place for students to complete homework assignments and to spend relaxing time with friends after school. Click here to learn more.

As a Catholic school, faith is at the heart of all that we do and all that we teach.  Our elementary educators are dedicated to supporting the work of parents, who are the primary teachers of their children.  Along with parents, we work to instill a love of God and of learning, along with habits of virtue that will help our elementary students meet the challenges of education and of life beyond the school’s walls.

Our English curriculum builds strong foundational skills in reading and in writing in order to prepare students to read great works of literature with critical understanding, to recognize truth and beauty in written text, and to participate in analytical discussions verbally and in writing. Our elementary students develop skills in researching a topic and in written and oral presentation.

Reading Instruction

Lower School students learn to read in the early grades through an intensive phonics program that hones skills in decoding and spelling and that promotes rapid progress in reading fluency. Students learn how to critically analyze what they read, searching for cause and effect in stories, connecting and comparing texts, and determining the author’s perspective.

Classic Literature

Lower School students read, analyze, discuss, and write about classic works of children’s literature and other great texts and stories. Nursery rhymes, fairy tales, and traditional children’s stories are featured in Kindergarten and First Grade classrooms.  Our students become familiar with Greek, Roman, and Norse mythology and classic children’s literature.  Many of the texts are studied in conjunction with related topics being presented in other areas of the curriculum, such as History and Science.

Grammar

Grammar and Usage, Vocabulary, Spelling, and Handwriting/Cursive writing are explicitly taught. Students progress from understanding simple sentence structure in early grades to diagramming more complex sentences in the later grades.

Writing

From rough draft through revision and production of a final document, all phases of writing are learned by students. The study of Grammar, Spelling, Vocabulary, and classic literary works contribute to the students’ mastery of the writing process.

Oral Presentation

Lower School students receive instruction and support to gain skill in preparing and presenting oral reports.

Music and Art is studied throughout the Lower School in well-equipped art and music rooms and taught by specialists. The curricula often intersect with classroom studies, especially in History and Geography. For example, while learning about ancient Greece, second grade students may study the great statues and pottery of the Greeks and create their own works in the style of the Greeks in Art class.

Music

  • Students in grades Pre-K through 5 are introduced to basic music theory, learn to read the G clef, play simple instruments, and have choral experiences as they perform in Christmas and spring concerts.
  • Each year, genres from jazz to classical are introduced and studied and students learn to identify and appreciate the works of great composers.
  • Band instrument instruction is available to fifth grade students and continues into the Middle and Upper Schools.
  • String instrument instruction and string orchestra ensemble experiences from beginner through higher levels are available to students grade 2 and above for an additional fee.

Art

  • Art classes for all students in the Lower School take place weekly in one of our well-equipped art classrooms.
  • Students are instructed in drawing, painting, clay work, and other methods and media as they are encouraged to create their own works of beauty and individuality.
  • The works of great artists, known and unknown, from many parts of the world, both ancient and modern are introduced and studied.

History

  • The study of History connects Lower School students to their place in the world, as citizens of the United States and as children of God.  Students are rooted in an appreciation and love for their own culture and history in western civilization, while also learning about the cultures and contributions of other civilizations.
  • Each year, beginning in Kindergarten, the elementary curriculum includes two main areas of focus: History/Western Civilization and Ancient and World Cultures.
  • Connections between History, Geography, and other elementary content areas, particularly Reading, Writing, Music, Art, and Science occur regularly in the Lower School curriculum.

Geography

  • The study of landforms, oceans and seas, climates, latitude, longitude, and other topics in Geography, including map skills, begins in Kindergarten and continues through the Lower School experience.
  • As students are learning in History about civilizations from every inhabited continent, the topography of those geographical areas is studied as well.
  • Science and Geography studies are often connected through unit studies of weather and climate, the animal world, and other topics in natural science.

The goal of our elementary Mathematics curriculum is to build strong skills in mathematical thinking and foundational math concepts.

  • Our curriculum is based on a traditional approach that provides our students with a strong foundation for understanding more complex concepts in later years.
  • Our teachers are trained in the most up-to-date methods of teaching math and they incorporate these methods into the presentation of concepts.
  • Students receive the best of both worlds: a traditional math program that includes proven new ways to deepen understanding of abstract and complex topics.
  • Lower School students do not use calculators, instead relying on building mental math skills. Through daily practice, students build strong number sense and master skills.

The goal or our dedicated physical education teachers is to provide training in the development of large motor skills and the promotion of healthy living habits.

  • Lower School students participate in physical education classes in one of our spacious gyms twice weekly.
  • Eye-hand coordination, basic strength, balance, and agility are developed through carefully planned lessons, including basic movements, rhythm and folk dance, tumbling, running, skipping, jumping rope, ball throwing and catching skills.
  • Skills and rules related to sports, such as soccer, football, and baseball are taught and practiced throughout the elementary years.
  • Contests, games, and team play are part of the learning strategies. The elements of improvement of personal skill level, support for teammates, respect for opponents and the quality of sportsmanship are stressed.

The study and practice of our religious faith is at the heart of all that we do. Prayer and the teachings of the Church are woven throughout each day.

Teachings

  • Lower School students are taught the history of salvation through Bible stories, the importance of the sacraments, and the inspirational stories of saints and holy men and women of the Bible.
  • Students memorize the Ten Commandments and learn how the commandments apply to their lives as young people.
  • Our students learn about the Trinity, the Sacraments, the meaning of the Mass, the structure of the Church, the story of salvation history from Creation and the Fall through the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ life, death, and Resurrection.

Daily Prayer and Weekly Mass

  • Prayer is an essential part of every day.
  • Students attend Mass weekly. They observe the liturgical seasons and participate in student-led prayer services during Advent, Lent, Catholic Schools Week, and other special occasions.
  • For students in grade 2 and above who will be receiving First Reconciliation and First Communion at their home parishes, we include full teaching in sacramental preparation.

Virtues

  • Lower School teachers seek to inspire young students to practice virtues in order to become better people, holier and closer to God.
  • Through the study and promotion of faith and virtues, students learn to love God and neighbor and to respect one another.

Students in the Lower School at Providence Academy learn to appreciate the beauty and order of the universe through their studies in Science beginning in Pre-K and continuing through grade 5. Formal computer technology classes are taught in fourth and fifth grades.

Science

  • Students are presented with scientific facts and theories and are given tools and opportunities to test them in our Lower School STEM lab.
  • Through the course of their Lower School years, students will study biology in such units as the systems of the human body, basic cell structure, animal classifications, plant reproduction, and more.
  • Physical science is studied through units such as simple machines and electricity.
  • Weather and climate are studied and connected to the study of Geography.
  • The lives and accomplishments of major scientists are studied each year.
  • In combination with English curricular requirements, students complete simple research projects, write reports, and give oral presentations on their findings.

 Technology

  • Computer technology classes begin in the fourth grade and cover areas in keyboarding, researching via the internet, responsible internet usage, creating and using basic word and spreadsheet documents, and creating basic presentations.
  • Students use computer skills to complete and present research projects in fourth and in fifth grades.

 

Students are introduced to the study of world languages and cultures. The goal of the World Languages program is to create enthusiasm for the study of languages that will begin in earnest at the middle and secondary level and to learn about and appreciate a culture different from their own.

  • Students in Pre-Kindergarten through grade 2 are introduced to the Spanish language and to various cultures of Spanish-speaking peoples.
  • French language and culture is introduced in grades 3 – 5. Students learn basic vocabulary words, phrases, and language structure.
  • Methods of learning such as games, songs, stories, vocabulary and writing in both Spanish and French enrich student’s knowledge and cognitive thinking skills.

Lower School eBulletin

Click here for the complete eBulletin

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