The Lower School program (kindergarten through fourth grade) provides a motivating and nurturing environment where all children feel respected and honored. Teachers create an environment for productive learning. An emphasis on both mastering the basic skills and challenging students to use them in creative and far-reaching ways is integral to our program.
Personal responsibility for learning is fostered through classrooms that are safe for students to explore, ask questions, and experiment with individual and collective ideas. The school day begins at 8:10 a.m. and ends at 3:00 p.m. Before school care is available from 7:00 a.m. until 8:00 a.m. After school care is available from 3:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.
Language Arts Kindergarten through second grade study the Open Court Reading program. In kindergarten, this program provides a combination of phonics, phonological awareness, social studies, science, music, and art. In the first and second grade, phonics instruction, reading comprehension instruction through authentic children’s literature, and writing practice through guided lessons on types of writing and using the writing process are added to the program. In grades 3 and 4, the curriculum is a collection of award winning literature that cover many genres and themes. McGraw-Hill Treasures provides additional instruction in reading comprehension, phonics, and vocabulary.
Journal Writing/Writer’s Workshop Beginning in kindergarten, students participate in journal writing on an age-appropriate level. Writer’s Workshop begins in the first grade where students are taught the skills necessary for excellent writing. Students are given time on a daily basis to write and learn how to revise, edit, and publish their work. Writing is also integrated throughout the curriculum.
Mathematics – Lower School students are using our newly adapted Singapore Math curriculum.
Science – Beginning in kindergarten through fourth grade, Full Option Science System (FOSS), is used to engage students to actively construct ideas through their own inquiries, investigations, and analyses.
Social Studies – The Harcourt Brace and Company Social Studies Program is studied in the first through fourth grade. This program enables students to organize thinking and develop competencies needed as citizens in a diverse, changing, and interdependent world.
Flowing Wells Campus – All lower school students participate in STEM activities and integrated units of study at the Flowing Wells Campus. Activities include the study of plant growth from seed germination to plant harvesting, nature walks, weather study, music, movement, and storytelling.
Art – The art program exposes students to a variety of concepts, techniques, and media. The basic elements of art, line, color, shape, and space are developed and introduced sequentially in lower school.
Music – The music program fosters music appreciation through singing, listening, moving, and playing instruments. Children in grades three and four may participate in the EDS Lower School Choir, which sings for weekly chapels and other community events.
Foreign Language – Lower School introduces students to the Spanish language and culture using stories, songs, games, poems, rhymes, and role-playing. Instruction continues to build upon the basic vocabulary learned in the Preschool Spanish Program. In kindergarten and first grade, the program is strictly oral, and classes are conducted almost entirely in the target language. The program is also built upon topics and interests of the children’s age. By second grade, students are introduced to phonics and spelling and how to associate those sounds with the written language. In third grade, students are exposed to simple rules and Spanish grammar. Fourth grade students are taught to speak and write simple sentences. Spanish vocabulary is integrated into daily activities.
Physical Education – The physical education program at EDS is taught with the hope of stimulating a love for physical activity and life-long fitness. Through various activities, each student is allowed to progress at his or her own rate. The focus is on creating a positive, supportive, and non-threatening environment where each student is encouraged to be the best that he or she can be.
Religious Education – In lower school, students have religious education and Chapel once each week. Godly Play is used in kindergarten. In first through third grades, the main stories of the Old and New Testaments are studied through a curriculum based around the Christian year. In fourth grade, students study the Old Testament. The purpose of the fourth grade curriculum is to give our students a strong biblical literacy, an understanding of the Bible’s meaning to the Christian faith, and to introduce the students to the Bible’s importance to Western Civilization.
Technology – The technology curriculum emphasizes tools, techniques, and processes that promote productivity in the 21st Century. The use of technology in the classroom supports and enhances all areas of the curriculum and is used as the basis for developing skills that support learning, personal productivity, and decision-making in daily life while also developing real-world skills necessary in continuing education. The benefits of technology best emerge when integrated into project-based curricular activities that further enhance higher-level thinking skills. The following skills are incorporated into classroom activities in which students are: 1) gatherers of information, 2) problem solvers, 3) communicators of knowledge, and 4) safe and ethical users of technology.