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Lower School Program

The Lower School Division supports learners in grades 4 and 5. The Lower School Program provides an Orton-Gillingham-based, multi-sensory, cross-curricular educational experience. The curriculum places a strong emphasis on phonics, reading, and writing and is supported by a structured, systematic, and sequential phonics-based system. Multi-sensory instruction ensures that students of all learning styles have experiences that support their educational progress. Our program builds strong foundational skills so that our students become confident, successful learners. Lower School classes are small to ensure that students receive maximum individualized attention.

Lower School Curriculum

List of 5 items.

  • Reading & Supplemental Programs

    Project Read, Passport Intervention Reading, and The Judith Hochman Method for Teaching Basic Writing Skills guide our core language arts and reading curriculum. The programs reinforce reading strategies, oral language skills, written expression, vocabulary, fluency, and reading and listening comprehension skills.

    Lower School students also participate in a wide array of supplemental support programs and auxiliary services. “Boost” classes provide additional instruction in reading comprehension, phonics, and fluency, using Winston’s Blue Book Method and Recipe for Reading programs. The Blue Book Method is a decoding program of keywords based on visual imagery that uses a multi-sensory approach to instruction. This Orton-Gillingham-based program allows students to couple their naturally strong sense of visual data with auditory information. Its purpose is to improve decoding skills, encoding skills, long-term auditory, sequential and visual memory, and the application of spelling generalizations. The Recipe for Reading approach is a research-based program that uses multi-sensory methods to develop phonological processing of words and auditory processing of language that includes auditory discrimination and auditory memory.
     
    The speech and language pathologist teaches weekly “Linked to Language” classes that focus on language comprehension and expression. Students also participate in the “MOVE” class taught by our occupational therapist. These classes focus on handwriting in fourth grade and visual memory, visual organization, and visual sequential processing skills in the fifth grade. Small and individual groups of speech and language and occupational therapy are provided for students requiring additional support.
     
    Lower School students also participate in art, music, health and wellness, physical education, STEAM, technology, and ABIDE classes.
  • Mathematics

    The Lower School utilizes two curriculum programs to support student learning in mathematics. The VMath program is an intervention-based program that delivers grade-level content skill instruction with concrete instructional delivery. This program breaks down the material into more manageable tasks and incorporates more simplified language. The MyMath program offers grade-level content with a greater emphasis on language-based instruction for students who are ready to embrace greater levels of language complexity in their learning.
  • Science

    The Pearson Interactive Science program supports the next-generation science standards and integrates larger themes, which link across grade levels. Additionally, students participate in thematic units such as the rain forest, oceans, space, and dinosaurs. Throughout the year, students write research reports, create language arts stories and participate in themed activities and presentations. The theme is woven throughout all subject areas and this work is showcased at our spring Expo in May.  
  • Social Studies

    The focus of the Lower School social studies program is for students to deepen their understanding of New Jersey and United States history, geography, economics, and government. All classes emphasize reading and writing skills, critical thinking, and study skills. As students build on foundational content, they begin to analyze the role of the individual in society, core democratic values, and the rights and responsibilities of American citizens. Relevant activities help students connect content knowledge to current issues.
  • Technology & Supplemental Resources

    Lower School teachers utilize interactive technology and digital resources for instruction. Students have Chromebooks with apps and extensions to assist with word production, spelling, and dictation. Hands-on manipulatives, peer collaboration, and direct teaching are utilized to model concepts and skills. Curricular, grade-level texts, and student workbooks provide added support.