Following Chapel, students return to the classroom where they take part in a classroom meeting to connect with their teachers, classmates and the day’s work ahead. The daily schedule is purposefully designed for each grade level to allow for the right amount of consecutive classroom learning as well as breaks throughout the day in the form of snack, recess, lunch and special subject classes.
The morning consists of classroom instruction and one of the eight special subject classes: science, ICE Lab/STEM, library, Spanish language, music, visual art, The Good Shepherd Program, and physical education. Students take a break for snack and play time. They participate in a number of outdoor activities during recess and lunch including: basketball, handball, soccer, kickball, hopscotch, tetherball, reading, or in the Exploration Zone complete with arts and crafts, LEGOs, builder blocks, bean bags, board games and more. We realize that students need a variety of options to choose from each day during their free time.
After recess, most students have a large block for math. The Lower School uses the Everyday Math program including math fact fluency, computer games and extensions.
In grades kindergarten through 2, students play first and eat second. We have found that the little ones have such great desire to play that they often forget or choose not to eat. By having them eat second, they have ample time, are already played out and ready to eat. Grade 3-5 eat first and play afterward.
Lunch is followed by another large consecutive block of time for English Language Arts instruction. In Kindergarten through grade 3, students are taught using the Houghton Mifflin basal text series along with novel studies beginning in grade 2. Students rotate through guided reading centers, spelling and computers. Grade 4 uses the Jr. Great Book series along with leveled readers, and grade 5 uses the Reading and Writing Project from Columbia University Teacher’s College to guide students through leveled readers.
Students then attend another of their 8 special subject classes and return for the Teacher’s College Writing Project. This program utilizes mini workshops focusing on specific writing skills that are then applied to each student’s individual writing piece. Students write for at least 30 minutes every day.