Lower School (PK-5)
Discover Your Child’s Promise
Your child has promise. But how do you bring it to light? First, you spark curiosity. Then you teach children to explore, inquire, reflect, and act for the greater good.
The Lower School is a happy place buzzing with activity. Our youngest students come every day eager to tell stories, build castles, paint pictures, make friends, hug their favorite teacher, and have fun learning. Our older students come excited to tackle new subjects, take on projects with their classmates, and share how much they’ve learned. Lower School is a safe, supportive environment that challenges each child to discover their unique interests and abilities.
At Episcopal Collegiate, we teach to reach the needs of all learners. It starts with hands-on activities that ignite excitement and curiosity, from counting coins to writing in journals to building electromagnets. Learning here is always an active experience. Rather than focusing on worksheets, flash cards, rote memorization, and standardized assessments, we believe there is a better way. For children to truly process and internalize information, we must let them be active participants in their learning. Our students rush into the classroom ready to ask questions, seek answers, solve problems, make connections, and share with each other. In short, they learn to love learning.
The Promise of a Bright Tomorrow
We are a community, a family, a school—a launching pad for your child’s future. Every experience in the Lower School prepares students for the exciting challenges of the Middle School, Upper School, and beyond. Here, the transition from Lower to Middle School is seamless. Teachers get to know students and families well, which leads to a smooth transition into the next phase of learning. There are meaningful opportunities for older students and younger students to connect and learn from one another. Our younger students are eager to follow in their footsteps—proud to carry on our school traditions.
At Episcopal Collegiate, we’ve developed a comprehensive curriculum that builds a solid foundation from pre-k to high school. By the time they leave the Lower School, students are in command of the critical building blocks needed for lifelong academic success. They develop strengths in reading, writing, science, and math. They understand other cultures and languages, can express themselves, and have demonstrated their ability to solve problems and be creative. They have developed a personal value system based on Respect, Reverence, and Responsibility. They have made important friends they will take with them as they grow, and most importantly, they have begun to understand their potential.
From day one, we introduce the critical concepts of how to study, manage time, and complete tasks. We expect a high level of effort and achievement from every student. We use a variety of assessments to measure a child's progress, including interdisciplinary projects, testing, reports, oral presentations, and grades. We ask students to show us what they’ve learned. The curriculum incorporates a "capstone" or culminating activity that cements learning from all areas. Students explore themes such as inventiveness, sustainability, and inequality by conducting research, performing skits, writing poems, drawing maps, building models, making sculptures, creating inventions, writing reports, planting gardens, and delivering digital presentations. This is how real learning happens.
- Language Arts
- Science/Discovery Lab
- Social Studies
- Exploratory Design
- Visual & Performing Arts
- Godly Play & Chapel Program
- Physical Education
Our Language Arts program takes a holistic approach to reading and writing that allows learners to experience how all elements of language arts are interconnected. Students learn decoding, comprehension, vocabulary, grammar, spelling, writing, listening, speaking, and so much more through content-rich units of study. The backbone of our language arts curriculum is Core Knowledge Language Arts, a program which builds students’ reading and writing skills through the study of literature, world and American history, and the sciences. As students get older, they engage in additional novel studies. This approach to reading gives students ownership over their reading and work with the literature. Through Novel Studies, students work their way through a longer text while also learning the skills to continue comprehending and drawing valuable conclusions as they go. They continue honing their writing skills as they incorporate elements from their readings into their writing.
Mathematics at Episcopal is focused on equipping students with a deep understanding of how and why numbers work. From the early grades, students learn about how numbers are built, why we need different place values, and how those concepts help us to build bigger numbers. Once students have a firm foundation of how numbers represent value, we begin to work on composing and decomposing numbers. Our students practice with a wide variety of strategies to be able to build numbers and take them apart in different ways. In order to efficiently add, subtract, multiply, and divide numbers, students must be fluent in taking those numbers apart and putting them back together. Using Singapore Math Dimensions, we emphasize fact fluency of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division skills after students have demonstrated a solid understanding of the rationale behind those operations. We want students to be able to recall facts quickly and accurately to be able to tackle more complex mathematical situations.
The Lower School science program is designed to show students that science encompasses all aspects of daily life all within a state-of-the-art science lab. Our hands-on, inquiry based activities allow students to progress in their knowledge and understanding of the big ideas of science as opposed to learning only facts. Students are encouraged to be curious, ask questions, make observations, think systematically, and draw conclusions which builds the foundation for scientific learning in the future. Some of the key features in the science labs from PreKindergarten through fifth grade include robotics engineering using VEX, monarch preservation through our Certified Monarch Waystation, and use of the Hydroponic Garden System to grow and harvest our own lettuce.
Our goal in social studies is to help students learn how their actions impact others. Throughout our Social Studies curriculum, students engage in research, learning about quality of sources and how perspective and historical context can influence those sources. They also learn to use their knowledge of history, economics, and geography to make decisions that will make the world a better place.
Lower School Exploratory Design offers an interdisciplinary experience for students incorporating science, technology, engineering and mathematics in a lab environment. This approach provides our students with essential skills in production, creative thinking, problem-solving, collaboration and critical thinking. Exploratory Design students investigate real-world situations using technology as an instrument of exploration. This dynamic course uses the Design Thinking model to help our students establish a systematic approach to problem solving and systems thinking where they empathize, define, prototype and test in a child-friendly environment.
Our Spanish curriculum is based on a conversational, immersion approach which offers students authentic opportunities to acquire the language. Music and art are regularly integrated into the Spanish classroom as a way to prompt students’ use of vocabulary and provide context for what they are learning. As a whole, our Spanish curriculum addresses the four key components of learning a World Language: speaking, listening, reading, and writing. As students engage with the language in a variety of ways, they gain a working understanding of the vocabulary and structure and are better able to use and understand the language more each year.
Our goal in the library is to identify, collect, organize and make available research and discovery materials that support lessons in the classroom, while also providing materials that engage, inspire, and cement reading on all student levels. In the Braunfisch-Stella Boyle Smith Lower School Library, all students visit the library once a week for regularly scheduled library instruction. During that designated time, students learn a range of library skills in carefully crafted, engaging, and age appropriate lessons.
Using a wide range of mediums, students engage in different types of art each week. Our teachers use the study of famous artists from around the world to engage students and encourage them to build their own skills. In addition to regular art class where students learn a technique or medium, students also engage in choice work which allows them to hone their creative skills.
In our Performing Arts program, students learn about music, theater, and all different ways to share their talents. Students study famous performers from around the world and throughout history, and learn how their impact changed the world. Performing Arts at Episcopal offers students a number of opportunities to be leaders in the arts through the Christmas Program, Grandparents’ Day, Talent Showcase, and so many more.
Our chapel programing reflects our Episcopal Identity in worship that is creative, inclusive, and draws upon the liturgical resources of the Episcopal Church. Students meet weekly with Mother Curtis to learn from the Godly Play curriculum. Godly Play is a respectful and reverent way to encourage students to explore scripture and tradition through simple story presentation and wondering questions. These open-ended wondering questions cultivate a deep empathy to other human beings while encountering themes of love, forgiveness, mercy, courage, and kindness. Overarching themes in our religious education classes and chapels emphasize God’s love and presence for all humanity, character development of virtues of compassion, courage, tolerance, kindness and integrity, and the importance of caring for creation. All of our learning objectives are deeply connected to expressing our school motto of respect, reverence and responsibility.
Our Physical Education program teaches students skills that allow them to live a healthy and active lifestyle through fun and engaging lessons. We aim to teach students valuable life lessons and positive character traits. We want our students to understand the worth of healthy competition, but also be able to balance it with good sportsmanship. Many activities the students participate in are team based, focusing on the importance of communication. Our hope is that through our physical education class, students will see the fun and importance of physical activity and gain good habits to carry with them as they develop.