Lower School CurriculumIn Lovett’s Lower School, we are dedicated to instilling in our students the habits of mind which will help them to become the servant leaders of tomorrow. The primary focus of our curriculum is to teach students how to be critical thinkers, creative agents, effective communicators, and purposeful collaborators. Our teachers strive to nurture and model a growth mindset and help students to embrace multiple perspectives, develop empathy, and value others’ stories. Students learn in a differentiated and challenging learning environment. We often begin the learning process with inquiry, where students’ questions and ideas drive their learning. Students and teachers work together to set individualized goals in order to promote student agency and reflection. To provide greater student-teacher interaction, class sizes are kept small with a lead teacher and co-teacher in each classroom. Please click on the tabs below to learn the overarching philosophy and curriculum specifics for each area of study in the Lower School.
Our mathematics curriculum is focused on developing students who think creatively, flexibly, and critically. Through diverse strategy instruction, building concrete models and hands-on investigations and inquiry, collaborative learning experiences, and real-life contextual application, students develop confidence, perseverance, and problem solving skills. Students learn to effectively communicate their strategies and mathematical thinking in order transfer their understandings to new learning.
Mathematics content is never taught as an end in itself, but as a means for understanding the world around us and as a tool for exploration and inquiry. In developing students’ mathematical ability, the discourse that takes place in the math classroom is as important as the mathematical skills themselves.
Lower School students learn concepts and skills in: numbers and numeration, operations and computation, data and chance, measurement and reference frames, geometry, patterns, functions, and algebra. As they move from kindergarten to fifth grade, student learn to compose and decompose numbers in order to deepen their number sense.
Beginning in kindergarten and first grade, students develop their number sense through mental math strategies, gain an understanding of place value, begin to collect and organize data, explore early concepts about measurement, categorize and describe shapes, and look for and complete patterns.
By second and third grades, students work towards strengthening their problem-solving and critical-thinking skills. They extend their understanding of place value, compare bigger numbers, and build math fact fluency in addition and subtraction. Multiplication is explored in-depth, beginning with the study of arrays and moving toward accurate computation using both facts and flexible strategies. Beginning understandings of division and fractions are also explored.
By fourth and fifth grades, units of study focus on the mastery of multiplication and division strategies and algorithms, understanding concepts such as factors, square numbers, prime numbers and multiples, and transferring their understandings of operations to fractions and decimals. Students build on their foundations of geometry, measurement, and data to come to understand concepts such as area and volume, graphing complex data, and drawing and measuring angles. By the upper grades, facts proficiency is automatic in order for students to efficiently solve complex problems.
The goal of our reading and writing curriculum is to deepen students’ understanding of the key mindsets and skills of readers and writers. Our reading and writing curricula are grounded in the research proven workshop structure in which teachers model an explicit strategy that students then practice independently, in partnerships, and in small groups. Throughout the workshop time, teachers provide feedback and coaching towards students’ personalized goals. Grammar and word study are taught within the context of reading and writing workshop.
In kindergarten through fifth grade, students write narrative, persuasive, and informational pieces. Students learn to effectively communicate their ideas towards a variety of purposes and audiences. Topic choice within a given genre is largely based on the passions and interests of individual students.
In kindergarten and first grade, our youngest children write books, learn to be “brave spellers,” and grow their confidence as writers. They work on discerning the difference between writing stories (narrative) and “expert” books (nonfiction).
In second and third grade, students begin to craft more detailed and organized writing pieces. Their writing gains depth and meaning as they learn to explain their ideas more fully. Students begin to apply spelling rules they have mastered, as well as use punctuation to guide their readers in meaningful ways. Students in these grades conduct basic research in order to write more developed and informative pieces and to persuade their readers. They also begin to expand their narrative writing by choosing small key moments to stretch out.
In fourth and fifth grade, students spend ample time envisioning, planning, crafting, and revising their pieces. The pieces students write at this level are organized, edited, thoughtfully crafted, and full of voice. Students write pieces such as memoir, literary and research based essays, and historical fiction.
Each classroom has a robust classroom library that includes leveled fiction and nonfiction texts. Book choice is based as much as possible on the passions and interests of individual students. There is also dedicated time for readers to discuss their books in partnerships and book clubs in order to deepen their understandings about what they are reading.
In kindergarten and first grade, students learn to increase their stamina as readers. They practice the habits of strong readers by choosing books that match their abilities and using strategies to decode challenging words.
In second and third grade, readers build their “toolbox” of strategies. They monitor their reading for comprehension as they move into longer books where characters become more multi-dimensional and non-fiction is filled with layered facts.
By fourth and fifth grade, students are reading more sophisticated texts in a wide variety of genres. As readers, they develop theories and inferences about characters and track character changes. Students find text evidence to support their thinking and read with a critical eye to distinguish fact from fiction. When reading nonfiction, students read widely and deeply within a topic to broaden their understandings and synthesize information.
The goal of our social studies curriculum is to develop students who think critically about the past and the world around them in order to become global change agents. Through the use of a variety of resources, students draw on multiple perspectives to build complex understandings. Students study geography, civics, government, and history within context. There is also room for inquiry within each unit of study for students to research specific areas of interest within the broader topic.
In kindergarten and first grade, students come to understand themselves and the multiple communities of which they are a part by studying community and servant leadership.
In second and third grade, they use the lens of Georgia’s history and early American history to begin to understand how we, as global citizens, learn from the past to help shape the future.
In fourth and fifth grade, students study the early history of our country from colonization through the turn of the 20th century, in order to understand how institutions are formed and why people survive, thrive, and come into conflict. Students at this level also conduct intensive inquiry into whose story is being told and whose story they need to research further.
The Lower School science curriculum is designed to develop students who actively question and explore the world around them by applying their scientific thinking and understandings. Our indoor and outdoor classrooms provide children with meaningful, hands-on opportunities to make discoveries. We use an inquiry-based approach that encourages students to be creative, curious, and open-minded.
Each year, as students go from kindergarten through fifth grade, they delve into the key areas of science: Earth and Space Science, Physical Science, Life Science, and Engineering. We focus on concepts such as systems, patterns, and cause and effect within various units of study. Specific topics include: light and sound, forces and motion, Earth’s changing surface, ecosystems, and robotics. All of these studies build on prior knowledge and increase in complexity each year.
In accordance with Lovett's mission of educating the whole child and creating young men and women of character, the guidance counseling curriculum strives to help children develop their best selves by understanding the importance of self-awareness and connections with others, and how these deeply rooted social-emotional connections lead to healthy relationships.
To achieve these goals in kindergarten through fifth grade, students spend the fall semester of the guidance curriculum focusing on how to be servant leaders. Servant leaders are defined as people who do the right thing, without being asked, because they want to help others. The servant leadership curriculum focuses on the habits and character traits in The Seven Habits of Happy Kids, and lessons are geared to the appropriate age level of the students. During the second semester of the guidance curriculum, students learn healthy habits and decision-making skills, which contribute to their social-emotional well being. Lessons throughout the year are also inspired by current best practices in mindfulness and cultivating empathy.
In our visual art curriculum, students generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work. They are encouraged to create original art through focused exploration and practice. Exposure to a variety of resources, materials and art-making processes expands their views. Students develop an appreciation and curiosity about the meaning and purpose of art and design.
In kindergarten and first grade, students experiment with a variety of art materials to express ideas playfully. They learn about artists and what inspires them. In second and third grade, students practice intentional use of elements and principles of design to develop their art-making abilities. Discussion and presentation of their art provide opportunity to share ideas and to value their peers. In fourth and fifth grade, students continue to gain experience with specific media. They learn to revise their art and work with mistakes. Opportunities for collaboration expand their understanding of self and community.
The goal of the Lower School music program is to build a strong foundation of music skills using a diverse curriculum designed for enjoyable, active music learning and performing. Through these positive experiences, students will grow up to become more confident and well rounded adults who appreciate the arts and incorporate it into their lives. Beginning in kindergarten, all students take General Music. Beginning in third grade, students may choose to move to the orchestra program, and in fourth grade, band becomes a choice as well.
In kindergarten and first grade, children establish a foundation of musicality, through active music making such as singing, playing instruments, movement and listening experiences. Music notation is introduced for rhythm and melody patterns. Social development is fostered as children experience the joy of making music individually and as a part of a group. Children deepen their passion for and knowledge of music through exposure to orchestral instruments, music vocabulary, and all genres of music.
In second through fifth grade, students are taught the concepts of rhythm, melody, form, harmony, and texture. Students engage in singing, listening, playing instruments with influences from variety of cultures and styles. They work in cooperative groups to compose and create music to sing, chant, and play. They sing songs in unison, rounds, and partner. Students also dramatize to music and act out stories.
The Lower School Orchestra offer third graders the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of playing the violin and cello. Fourth and fifth grade players may continue instruction in violin or cello, or they may begin instruction in violin, viola, cello, or bass. Teachers differentiate instruction to support a range of orchestra experience and to prepare these young players to perform with more advanced orchestra ensembles throughout their Lovett journeys.
The Lower School offers band to fourth and fifth grade students. Students will successfully learn to play their instruments in different musical settings and have the opportunity to perform several times each year. They learn the general physics of the all the instruments within the band. Students improve their appreciation, understanding, and performance of music through their instruments. Our program focuses on the musical elements of embouchure, posture and playing position, breathing, mechanical knowledge of instruments (keys, valves, etc.), melody and harmony, articulation and style, tone quality and intonation, dynamics, phrasing and personal interpretation, history, and music of many cultures and genres.
The Lower School inGen Studio curriculum seeks to develop resilient, empathetic change agents equipped to better themselves and the world around them. Through technology and design, children’s imagination and iterations become tangible. Instruction is centered around students working to sharpen their computational thinking and design skills alongside of fostering their individual passions and curiosities. Teachers look for intersections between the curriculum in order to deepen students’ understandings. The inGen Studio itself is a makerspace and inspiration hub designed to provide a flexible environment and a variety of tools for critical thinking, tinkering, and building. In this space, students wrestle with real-world challenges and learn various design processes, including Design Thinking, to innovate and build out their ideas.
In Kindergarten through fifth grade, students have scheduled classes in the inGen Studio. Throughout the year, students explore computer science and its relationship to our everyday world, web tools/applications to communicate their ideas, and making/engineering to cultivate the creative problem-solving process.
Our Spanish curriculum is focused on developing appreciation, global awareness, and communication skills, so that students have meaningful interactions in the target language. The simulation of real life scenarios and the inclusion of current topics allow students to use functional vocabulary to communicate ideas effectively. Through engaging lessons and age appropriate, authentic resources, students maximize their oral proficiency, acquire cultural knowledge, and learn to express and respect other perspectives.
The kindergarten Spanish class instills the appreciation of and the enthusiasm for the study of language and cultures. As they learn about colors, shapes, farm animals, fruits, family traditions, and personal attributes, students develop an understanding of themselves and their role in the larger community.
First graders begin to make important linguistic connections as they expand their learning and broaden their vision about communities through cultural holiday traditions, homes, telling time, classroom objects, ocean animals, feelings, and emotions.
In second grade the learning spiral continues. Students develop the ability to communicate purposefully and creatively through greeting others and introducing themselves. They learn to describe personal health, habits and well-being, family, clothing, homes, and transportation. They also learn the letters and sounds, how to tell time and how to express their likes and dislikes.
In third grade students continue developing their interpersonal communication skills by expressing how they feel physically and emotionally and through learning how to ask about someone else’s state of being. They also develop their interpretative communication through speaking, listening, and writing. Students learn to tell time, describe sports and leisure activities, discuss their community, and describe different professions. Students also learn descriptive adjectives, interrogatives, and prepositions to successfully communicate and describe the world around them.
Fourth grade students develop conversations about personal preferences using the five senses as they focus on expressing ideas in multiple ways. Grammatical skills enhance sentence complexity through verb conjugation, use of comparatives, interrogatives, and the application of a more extensive vocabulary.
By mastering the conjugation of irregular verbs and the use of possessive adjectives, fifth graders develop the skill of conversing in more spontaneous ways. Through real life stories and collaborative projects, students promote awareness and appreciation for diversity, culture, and sustainable efforts so students create strong language connections with the world around them.
Lower School Physical Education cultivates the physical, social and emotional needs of each individual through exercise and game play. The curriculum is designed to develop physically educated individuals who have the knowledge, skills and confidence to enjoy a lifetime of health physical activity. As students grow in self-awareness and confidence, they are empowered to transfer what they learn through play and sport to everyday situations. The health curriculum is designed to empower students to learn and practice health-enhancing behaviors. Areas explored in each grade are tailored to each age and skill level and include nutrition, anatomy, safety and injury prevention, and personal and community health.
The PE curriculum is based on the school-wide vision of wellness. In kindergarten and first grade, students work on basic locomotor and non-locomotor skills to recognize personal and general space and to move in different pathways. In second grade, they build on the learned movements and develop more complex motor skills incorporating those skills during game play. In third, fourth, and fifth grades, students work on acquired skills becoming less mechanical and more automatic during sport-specific game play. Importance is placed on responsible personal and social behavior.
The health curriculum begins in first and second grade, with students learning about the food groups, the importance of filling your plate with colorful and healthy foods, ways to keep the heart and lungs healthy, dental hygiene, how to get help in an emergency, and recognizing and avoid poison. In third and fourth grade, students learn about food labels, nutrition for fitness, functions and health requirements of the digestive system, relationship between bones and skeletal muscles, pedestrian safety, fire safety, first aid, and current health issues. In fifth grade, students learn how food is used as energy; basic functions of the brain and nervous system; concussion symptoms, risks, and treatments; CPR (compressions only); dangers of tobacco use; and human growth and development.
The Lower School Library curriculum is designed to support and connect to the classroom curriculum Within this framework, the librarians select materials and provide services to further the research and reading interests of students and faculty and to promote enthusiasm for reading. The libraries as teaching agencies seek to develop confidence and independence in the use of traditional and digital library resources, including reference materials; to help in the selection of books and other media; and to provide an atmosphere that will inspire a lifelong appreciation for literature.
In kindergarten, students learn to care for, check out, and return materials. In first grade, students discuss series books, biographies, and nonfiction. They also learn to conduct more complex searches in the catalog find titles on their own. In second grade, students search the catalog on iPads, learn the Dewey Decimal System, and understand how alphabetization is used in the library. All three grades participate in the Georgia Picture Book Award Contest. Classroom projects and research are enhanced by resources and staff in the library working in conjunction with the classroom teachers.
Students in third, fourth, and fifth grade focus on literature, information, and information technologies. In addition to focusing on building a lifelong love of reading, students are instructed on locating, evaluating, and effectively using technology for research purposes. Lessons in all intermediate grades are planned through collaboration with classroom and resource teachers. Third grade students begin to focus on the use of academic databases and also begin to understand that research is necessary across all disciplines. Fourth grade students work on effectively locating, evaluating and communicating information and ideas using the research process. Fifth grade students are ready for greater independence. They learn how research extensively and extend their investigations in preparation for Middle School.
The purpose of our religion curriculum is to cultivate an understanding and acceptance of all cultures and religions. Our Religious studies curriculum is focused on cultivating students with strong character, which includes students with faith and spiritual lives. While not affiliated with any religion, classes are taught through the Judeo-Christian tradition, with value and emphasis places on religious diversity. Students are encouraged to draw upon their own religious tradition to inform and shape their understanding of the world and others. Throughout all the grades, students learn about and participate in the traditions of various religious holidays (Diwali, Christmas, Hanukkah, Ramadan, Passover etc.).
In kindergarten, first, and second grade, students read bible stories to learn about character. Kindergarteners focus on the beginning stories of the Old Testament. A highlight from the first grade curriculum is participating in Heifer International’s “Read to Feed” program. During this study, students learn about the needs of others in our world and how each of us can reach out and make a difference. In collaboration with the second grade social studies unit about community, students focus on the New Testament story of the Good Samaritan to emphasize the importance of treating others with respect and kindness. In third grade, students focus on answering questions about where the bible came from, who wrote it, and why the order of the books is important. They build on this biblical knowledge in fourth grade, when students focus on the timeline of the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation. They learn both the bible stories alongside of the historical events that shaped these stories. In fifth grade, students learn about and find connections between the three major monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
As members of The Lovett School, our Character Pledge guides our actions both in the classroom and in our greater local, national, and global communities. As students become honest, respectful, responsible, and compassionate citizens, The Lovett School seeks to:
Help students combine their digital and nondigital lives into an integrated approach to identity;
Encourage that as they use technology, information resources, and media as a means to employment, learning, and personal development, students also examine these resources critically and reflectively with regard to the impacts on themselves, their society, and their environment;
Nurture students’ character development and their ability to contribute effectively and positively to the local, global, and digital communities of which they are a part;
Encourage students to balance their digital lives with opportunities for face-to-face interactions and unplugged reflection.
In each division, Lovett uses these through lines as guiding principles in the development of curriculum designed to foster not only digital citizenship in the student body, but also the overall citizenship of all students as they learn and grow into people of good character. The Lovett School utilizes the standards created by the International Society for Technology in Education as a foundation for the development of relevant skills and principles in each division.
For more information on Digital Citizenship in Lower School, click here.