Academics
Academics
Lower School: Preschool-Gr. 5

Elementary Curriculum

Dynamic Growth & Transformative Achievement

To create learning that lasts, our talented Lower School faculty has carefully chosen and connected curricula that increase in complexity while reinforcing previous learning. Teachers are adept at challenging and supporting each child to maximize individual growth and achievement. Your child will gain an exceptional foundation for the academic and leadership opportunities of our Middle School.

Lower School students spend approximately two-thirds of their day in a homeroom-based program. At the core of this program is the Responsive Classroom curriculum, which emphasizes social, emotional, and academic growth in a strong and safe community. In homeroom classes, students have assigned responsibilities and build relationships with one another and their homeroom teacher.  Homeroom teachers also instruct students in math, language arts, and social studies. Students leave their homeroom for science, Spanish, performing and visual art, physical education, and religion classes, which are taught by departmental faculty. Chapel services are held weekly.

Lower School Curriculum

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  • Math

    Preschoolers build fundamental skills such as counting, sorting, and shape recognition. Pre-K through grade 5 students learn to be flexible in their computation and problem-solving skills through Everyday Mathematics®, a program developed by the University of Chicago that helps children progress from intuitions and concrete operations to assertions and symbolic manipulations.

    In this proven program, number sense is continually layered with new concepts and connected in exciting, real-world applications. Students hone their abilities in mental computation, reasoning, and oral and written communication as they examine and explain their thinking process.
  • Design Art & Science

    The design process encourages students to think about a question, sketch a plan, test the model, and iterate to improve the original concept. This art and science collaboration provides a unique platform for students to be creative, analytical innovators.

    Students in preschool through grade 2 have art and science twice per week. In the design lab, they study simple machines, LEGO® Robotics, coding, circuitry, life cycles, and animal adaptations. Students in grades 3–5 are in purpose-built studios and labs four to six times per week, exploring chemistry, biology, physical science, and engineering.
  • Language Arts

    Preschool and Pre-K classes build vocabulary, letter recognition, reading readiness, and handwriting skills. Through shared study and small-group instruction, grades K–2 develop good habits for engaged reading and authentic writing. Word knowledge is taught sequentially and systematically so students can focus on knowledge-based comprehension and analysis.
     
    The program in grades 3–5 seeks to develop avid lifelong readers and writers, emphasizing high volume and personal interests. Phonics, spelling, grammar, and vocabulary are taught explicitly and within context through high-impact writing and reading mini-lessons.
  • Social Studies

    In grades K–2, the social studies curriculum centers on what it means to be a responsible member of the community. Students move from a focus on self-identity and celebrating similarities and differences to a focus on the local community and then on Washington, D.C. In grades 3–5, students examine citizenship, history, and geography through yearlong explorations of the state of Maryland, American history, and world geography.
  • Library & Technology

    Pre-K through grade 5 library and technology classes meet once per week to support other subject areas through book talks, research projects, and keyboarding skills. Digital citizenship conversations include online safety, digital footprints, and privacy. All Pre-K through grade 5 students are issued an iPad for use in the classroom.
  • Performing Arts

    Classes in preschool through grade 2 feature musical and creative movement activities, taught by specialist teachers. In grades 3–5, classes emphasize musical literacy and performance skills, including tablature reading, choral and
    instrumental opportunities, improvisation, and drama productions. Students explore music in historic and sociocultural contexts and progress from Orff xylophones to folk flutes.
  • Physical Education

    Preschool and Pre-K have P.E. twice per week. Grades K–2 have it four times per week, and grades 3–5 have it five times per week. Students develop and pursue physical activity for health, enjoyment, challenge, self-expression, and social interaction. Rules, safety, sportsmanship, and team play for different sports are a focus. Units include baseball, basketball, lacrosse, soccer, team-building activities, tennis, track and field, tumbling, and gymnastics.
  • Religion

    All grades attend weekly chapel services, and grades K–5 have weekly religion classes. Through inclusive discussions and projects, students reflect on “who I am” and “who I am in the community.” Drawing on foundational stories from a variety of
    faith traditions, students are called to strive for justice and peace among all peoples and respect the dignity of every human being. Students also participate in service learning projects.
  • Spanish

    Spanish is taught once a week for preschool I, twice a week for preschool II through grade 2, and three times a week for grades 3–5. Through projects, songs, and dramatic play, students demonstrate communicative skills and cross-cultural competence. The study of language allows students to see the world through the eyes of others, thus learning empathy, respecting differences, and creating solidarity with local and global communities.

Service Learning

We also build community through service. Students get to know each other across grade levels and practice leadership skills as older students help younger ones with projects and academic activities. Children connect with the wider community and apply their knowledge through integrated service learning projects such as running bake sales and packing meals.

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St. Andrew’s Episcopal School is a private, coeducational college preparatory day school for students in preschool (Age 2) through grade 12, located in Potomac, Maryland.