Lower School

18 Months - Grade 4

The Lower School serves children 18 months to Grade 4 and believes that every child is different. The program strives to partner with families to cultivate each child’s uniqueness. To meet the different needs of families and students, the Lower School is divided into two programs: the Pre-Primary Section and the Primary Section.

Pre-Primary Section (18 months-Age 5) Curriculum Overview

This section of the Lower School emphasizes the development of the whole child. It is believed that children learn best when they are actively involved in a nurturing environment that is responsive to their varying needs and focuses on their development – social, emotional, physical, and intellectual. Skills and abilities are promoted through developmentally appropriate, child-centered activities that allow each student to explore, investigate, communicate, and problem solve. Through this process, children develop a love of learning.

Early Childhood (3 or 5 day option)

The Early Childhood program provides an environment where students 18 months – 3 years can grow and develop. Our teachers stimulate skill improvement through multiple approaches to document progress through detailed records and digital photographs. The curriculum gives students the opportunity to learn and grow at their own pace with both three and five-day options available. Classroom space is available in a home-like setting near our main building or on main campus in close proximity to our Montessori and pre-Kindergarten classrooms. A separate Early Childhood II classroom serves older toddlers (32-38 months) who are actively toileting and who will benefit from an additional year of early childhood programming, a more advanced academic focus, and additional specials.

Montessori

Country Day’s Montessori program provides students age 3 – 5 years with the opportunity to learn in an experiential environment within a mixed age group of children. Harkening to the honored philosophies of Maria Montessori, the program allows students the opportunity to cultivate a love of learning through collaborative work, exploration, and multi-sensory approaches to pre-reading and group play.

Pre-Kindergarten

Country Day's traditional Pre-K programs follow the Project Approach, providing students age 3 – 5 the chance to hone skills and explore their interests in a structured environment within a contained classroom of same-aged children. From language processing to numerical understanding, our students use their newly burgeoning social skills to investigate topics in preparation for Kindergarten.

Primary Section (Kindergarten / Montessori Kindergarten - Grade 4) Curriculum Overview

This section of the Lower School emphasizes an increased love of learning through a variety of concrete, hands-on experiences. Increased independence, collaboration, self-exploration, self-discovery, risk taking, and more advanced reasoning/critical thinking skills are the hallmarks of the primary section. The curriculum provides developmentally appropriate academic and social opportunities designed to nurture, challenge, and engage each learner.

Kindergarten (Traditional and Montessori)

Fine Arts – Students will participate in visual arts and music. The visual art activities and assignments focus on the elements of line, shape, and color. The students learn the vocabulary of art terms and develop an appreciation for the formal expressive qualities in their own work, and that of others, through individual and group discussions. The musical activities and assignments concentrate on rhythm, including steady beat, short and long sounds, and rhythmic patterns; pitch (high, middle, low, and matching pitch in signing), timbre of instruments, and volume with use of the proper terms: piano, mezzo, and forte.

Language Arts- Students participate in shared reading, guided reading and beginning reading skills and strategies. This helps students with their oral expression. During Writer’s Workshop, students work on D’Nealian handwriting, phonetic spelling and writing conversations.

Math- Students gain a strong understanding of number concepts to 100. This includes counting, recognizing and identifying numbers 1-100, skip counting by 10’s, 5’s and 2’s, and having an awareness of place value with ones, tens, and hundreds. They will focus on counting with accuracy, sets, patterns, geometry, measurement, and collecting and recording data. They will end the year with simple addition, subtraction and problem solving strategies.

Physical Education – Students are introduced to and develop skills in the following areas: rhythmic fundamentals, creativity and self-exploration, locomotor skills, spatial awareness, pathways, and direction following activities, ball skills (throwing and kicking), and cooperative games. In swimming, the students work on development of the crawl stroke, breast stroke and backstroke. They experience water exploration and learn about water safety.

Science- Students develop inquiry skills as they participate in a wide variety of activities. The project approach to learning provides opportunities for children to develop questioning skills, simple research skills, and observe the details of an object. Sharing their knowledge as a group deepens their understanding of the science in our world. Units of study are: living and non-living, plants and animals, types of leaves, the mammal family, the human body and skeleton, and a special focus on food groups and nutrition, birds of Ohio, reptiles and amphibians, parts of the plant, growth of the seed, the flower, the world of insects, simple machines, and magnets.

Social Studies- Students explore what it means to be a part of the classroom community and school community and understanding the importance of sharing, manners, and respecting rules. Students are introduced to our planet’s rich diversity of people. Students are introduced to the continents of the world, emphasizing a region or population’s geography, history, music, art and cultural traditions.

World Language – (French and Spanish) Students take part in an exploratory year of the world languages. Students try out language by imitating high frequency words, phrases, greetings, and responses. They also learn the colors, counting, and parts of the body through games and songs. As part of the world language study, they learn about and celebrate traditional holidays.

Grade 1

Fine Arts – Students will participate in visual arts and music. Visual art activities and assignments focus on the elements of line, shape, and color. Each student works to develop a meaningful connection in recognizing and identifying the function of art in everyday life. We explore two- and three- dimensional art using a variety of media and techniques, including drawing, painting, collage, printmaking, and sculpture. The music program exposes students to American culture and regional music through singing and work with instruments (small percussion and xylophone family). Concepts include rhythm (steady beat, rhythm patterns and reading rhythm), recognizing and singing on pitch, listening exercises with composer study and instruments of the orchestra.

Language Arts – Students participate in daily reading groups that use Guided Reading books to teach decoding, fluency, and comprehension. These skills are also practiced through daily independent reading. The word study program emphasizes the acquisition of spelling patterns and high-frequency words for use in reading and writing. Writing Workshop lessons teach writing conventions and crafts used in writing personal narratives, research reports, opinion pieces and poetry.

Math – Math skills are presented in a variety of contexts that promote problem solving, reasoning, communication, making connections, designing and analyzing representations, and real life applications. Computation strategies for addition and subtraction are taught, and the inverse relationship between the two is explored. Students also work on math facts for speed and accuracy, word problems, geometry, measurement, time telling and money skills.

Physical Education – Students develop fine motor skills by working with manipulatives, and they practice creative movement through rhythm and tempo, rhythmic instruments, and movement exploration. Character development, physical fitness, and sportsmanship are fostered through participation in cooperative games, understanding team concepts, and encouraging respect for others, equipment, and facilities. Classes focus on development of gross motor skills through ball skills, gymnastics, swimming, and kinesthetic awareness. In swimming, the students work on development of the crawl stroke, breaststroke, backstroke, and butterfly. They experience water exploration and learn about water safety.

Science – Students will study all aspects of water. Students will use observation techniques to learn about water habitats while building aquariums and visiting local ponds. As students focus on water in their world, they learn about purification, conservation, and usage. Water properties, including the water cycle, are investigated through experimentation.

Social Studies – Students will have a year-long focus on the city of Cincinnati. Students learn about Cincinnati’s geographic features including ponds, rivers, and hills. Students study Native American cultures and early settlers from the Cincinnati area. The focus then shifts to the present, and students learn about Cincinnati today. Each student researches and builds a significant place in Cincinnati. Mapping skills are taught and utilized as students locate nearby places. Field trips to the Indian Hill Water Works, Cincinnati History Museum, and the Purple People Bridge reinforce and extend the social studies curriculum.

World Language – (French and Spanish) Students will learn elementary vocabulary relating to school, home and family, and foods. In addition to vocabulary introduced with each unit, first graders learn to build sentences beginning with “I am” and “I have” and “is”. Students use their developing skills in written and spoken projects and in classroom games and conversation. Students informally review study habits and are invited to practice for a few minutes each day.

Grade 2

Fine Arts - Students will participate in visual arts and music. Visual art activities and assignments focus on the elements of line, shape, and color. Each student works to develop a meaningful connection in recognizing and identifying the function of art in everyday life. In music classes; students concentrate on songs of other nations in vocal performance, rhythm (adding simple ostinato patterns to rhythm reading), written notation, keyboards, the major scale, and solfege (do re mi etc.).

Language Arts – Curriculum in second grade is comprised of reading, spelling, writing, speaking and listening and research. The goal of the program is to foster creative and meaningful expression of ideas by building vocabulary and increasing fluency in reading, writing, and speaking.

Math – Daily enVision Math lessons include interactive learning, visual animation, and story problems with emphasis on oral and written language to strengthen students’ ability to think and communicate mathematically. Students add and subtract, use measurement, geometry, and data to solve problems. They develop an initial understanding of multiplication as repeated addition.

Physical Education – Students focus on improvement of gross motor skills through ball skills, gymnastics, swimming, and kinesthetic awareness. Character development, physical fitness, and sportsmanship are fostered through participation in cooperative games, understanding team concepts, and encouraging respect for others, equipment, and facilities. In swimming, the students work on development of the crawl stroke, breaststroke, backstroke, and butterfly. They experience water exploration and learn water safety.

Science – Students explore the Life Sciences in second grade. Topics covered include the basic needs of people, animals and plants, world biomes, habitats, weather, and seasons. The 62–acre campus is used for exploration of our local ecosystem through nature hikes and activities when studying local plants, habitats, and seasonal changes. Scientific inquiry is a common approach, and students learn how to collect data and explain their findings in response to those observations and activities.

Social Studies – Students compare contemporary rural, urban, and suburban communities to settlements in Ohio’s past. They learn basic map skills, create timelines, and study relevant current events. The concept of citizenship is expanded through the study of historical figures by encouraging our students to understand that one person can make a difference.

World Language – (French and Spanish) Students continue to expand their vocabulary, particularly related to animals, calendar, and school. In addition to the vocabulary introduced with each unit, second graders focus on solidifying their understanding of target–language grammar, particularly in relation to the number and gender. They continue to work toward mastering proper pronunciation during spoken communication.

Grade 3

Fine Arts - Students will participate in visual arts and music. Visual art activities and assignments focus on the elements of line, shape, and color. Each student works to develop a meaningful connection in recognizing and identifying the function of art in everyday life. In music classes, students extend their knowledge of music through introduction of the soprano recorder, continued growth in vocal performance, and creative movement. The students use their basic notation and reading skills while paying attention to intonation on recorders.

Language Arts – Students in third grade have a curriculum comprised of reading, spelling, writing, speaking and listening, research, and study skills. The goal of the program is to foster creative and meaningful expression of ideas by building vocabulary, increasing fluency in reading, writing, speaking, and furthering literal and interpretive comprehension. In Writing Workshop, our goals include: strengthening mechanics, building confidence in written expression, improving sentence structure, encouraging proofreading skills, and strengthening spelling skills.

Math – Students in third grade utilize enVision Math program, which focuses on building number sense, strengthening mathematical concepts, and learning basic facts. The math program makes a strong connection between math skills and written expression. Students are expected to use the appropriate mathematical vocabulary when explaining their problem-solving strategies, both orally and in writing.

Physical Education – Students are provided a variety of challenges and stimulating activities that promote social interaction and improvement on self-concepts, teamwork, sportsmanship, fitness, and skill development. In swimming, the students work on the crawl stroke, breaststroke, backstroke, and butterfly as we break down the specific skills of each stroke. They experience water exploration and learn water safety.

Science – Students are exposed to a variety of life, earth, and physical sciences to build a foundation of general science knowledge. The curriculum includes both content and process learning. Learning about science (content) and how to do science (process) are two different, but equally important, functions of the science program. To this end, students engage in manipulative activities that allow them to construct a knowledge base of science concepts. The units of study are rocks and minerals, simple machines, sound, and ecology.

Social Studies – Students study and develop an understanding and appreciation of the Earth, its past, its people and their communities. Units of study are cross-curricular with an emphasis placed on learning through simulations, which provide rich, hands-on learning experiences of what life was like long ago. The goal of the program is to further an understanding and appreciation of our natural environment, and foster respect for the people in it.

World Language – (French and Spanish) Students continue to expand their vocabulary while practicing simple verb conjugation. Lessons target communication most relevant to young students. Students use their developing skills in written and spoken projects, in classroom games and conversation, and in correspondence with pen pals. Students informally review study habits and are encouraged to practice for a few minutes each day.

Grade 4

Fine Arts - Students will participate in visual arts and music. Visual art activities and assignments focus on the elements of line, shape, and color. Each student works to develop a meaningful connection in recognizing and identifying the function of art in everyday life. In music, focus is on the complete treble staff and music rhythm reading. Students continue to work toward proficiency in vocal performance with part-singing. Recorder performance is stretched to include performance of more difficult songs.

Language Arts – The foundation of the reading program is guided reading, which includes instructional reading groups, independent reading, and literature discussion. Students engage in reading for pleasure and understanding to gain information, and as a vital tool for beginning research skills. Grammar skills are introduced and reviewed during lessons and independent writing. In writing, the goals include: strengthening mechanics and spelling skills, building confidence in writing expression, improving sentence structure, refining, editing and proofreading skills.

Math – Students strengthen and extend many previously introduced concepts in the areas of number properties and operations, problem solving, measurement, geometry, data analysis, and algebra. Mathematical reasoning and process skills are at the core of the curriculum. Students work on transition from concrete understanding to abstract application of skills and concepts. As the math program moves toward a greater emphasis on application and the ability to express the thinking process, the focus shifts from the final product to the intellectual process.

Physical Education - Students are provided a variety of challenging, stimulating activities that promote social interaction and improvement of self-concepts, teamwork, sportsmanship, fitness, and skill development. In swimming, the students work on the crawl stroke, breaststroke, backstroke, and butterfly as we break down the specific skills of each stroke. They experience water exploration and learn water safety.

Science – Students are exposed to a variety of life, Earth/space, and physical sciences to build a foundation of general science knowledge. The curriculum includes both content and process learning. Learning about science (content) and how to do science (process) are two different, but equally important, functions of the science program. To this end, students engage in manipulative activities that allow them to construct a knowledge base of science concepts. The units of study are plants, solar system and space exploration, electricity, and magnetism.

Social Studies – Students develop an understanding of the past and how ideas, events, and people have shaped our country and state. The study of current events helps the students understand the world we live in, as well as how we are shaping our future. Units of study include: geography, people in societies, Ohio history, economics, government, and citizenship rights and responsibilities.

World Language – (French and Spanish) Students focus on writing paragraphs using common verbs and vocabulary. Lessons target communication most relevant to young students, from making introductions to talking about themselves, their family and friends, and their likes and dislikes. Students use their developing skills in written and spoken projects, in classroom games and conversation, an in correspondence with pen pals.

Extended Day Programs

Country Day has a variety of programs that extend beyond the typical school day to help meet the demands of busy families. These programs include Extended A.M., Lunch Option, Extended P.M., Learning Lab, After School, and Enrichment Clubs. Extended Day Programs.

QUICK FACTS

Grades: Early Childhood (18 months) - Grade 4
Students: 326
Faculty/Staff: 62
Average class size: 12 for younger children; 16 for older children
Student-to-faculty ratio: 6:1 for younger children; 9:1 for older children
Division Head: Jennifer Aquino
Contact: (513) 979-0229 Handbook: Lower School
Curriculum Guide: All-School

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