Lower School, Grades 3-5
A natural zeal for learning
The years of middle childhood are characterized by a special enthusiasm for school, as well as a growing sense of personal accomplishment and self-assurance. Students begin to think of themselves as role models for younger children and take genuine delight in being called to a greater sense of both independence and responsibility. Students in their Lower School years are curious, competent and confident. In short, they are eager learners who are a particular joy to teach!
We seek to capitalize on this natural zeal for learning by exposing children to a widening base of knowledge that assists them in making broader connections to the larger world. Cognitive developments in the Lower School years allow children to better retrieve information and use it to solve more sophisticated problems, and so the curriculum introduces critical thinking and creative problem solving.
Literature moves to the forefront, and children analyze and discuss a wide variety of literary genres, using a rich assortment of children’s novels as well as the challenging Junior Great Books program. In math, we emphasize foundational skills and conceptual understanding by tackling practical, real-world problems of interest to younger students.
Social studies and science occupy a more prominent place in the Lower School program. Students investigate scientific topics ranging from the Physics of Sound to Microorganisms and Mitosis. They connect the present to the past during in-depth studies of historical periods like Westward Expansion: Life on the Frontier and Illinois’ Role in the Civil Rights Movement.
Reporting and Conferences
Parents receive two narrative report cards and two detailed written progress reports during the academic year. There also are two scheduled conferences for parents and teachers.