Academics

Lower School

The Lower School day emphasizes interaction with teachers and peers in which students learn to embrace multiple perspectives, develop empathy and grow as members of our school community.
The Lower School curriculum develops proficiency in reading, math, writing and communication. Lower School challenges students while also providing support, all with the aim of helping them learn. Individualized instruction and a vibrant classroom experience cultivates creativity, collaboration, skill development and problem solving. Teachers instill a growth mindset and work with students to set personal goals and monitor progress toward achieving them.

Lower School Staff

List of 2 members.

Program Specialties

  • Instruction is individualized, thematic and interdisciplinary.
  • Spanish and Mandarin are taught in Lower School.
  • In-school music or voice lessons are available during the day.
  • Science and social studies are taught in each grade.
  • Recess and exercise are considered part of the learning experience.
  • Coding and robotics begin in first grade and goes through fifth grade.
  • Each day begins with morning meeting in preschool through fifth grade.
  • Teachers have close relationships with all their students, and tailor instruction to individual strengths and weaknesses.
  • Our students are engaged learners who want to be here and to be involved in all aspects of the school day.

List of 4 items.

  • 2

    art, Spanish and music classes a week
  • 30%

    students of color
  • 33%

    of students receive financial aid
  • 4-5

    Play-based PE Classes a Week

Academics

List of 7 items.

  • Literacy

    The Reading Workshop is a method which teaches students strategies to improve both their reading and comprehension. The flexible workshop model allows teachers to adapt to meet the needs of each individual student. Reading Workshop helps foster a love of reading and gives students chances to practice reading strategies independently and with guidance. There are six components to Reader’s Workshop: mini-lessons, read-aloud, independent reading and consultation, guided reading, response and reflection, and sharing. 

    The Daily 5 is a series of daily literacy tasks which students complete while the teacher works with them either in small groups or one-on-one. This system helps teachers find the most effective and efficient ways to encourage students’ positive reading behavior.

    CAFE stands for “Comprehension, Accuracy, Fluency and Expanding Vocabulary,” four components that educational research has shown to be vital to reading. CAFE enables teachers to stay focused on students’ needs and goals, in addition to keeping records that help them plan dedicated individual conferences, manage flexible, small-group instruction and teach whole-class lessons.

    The Writing Workshop is a teaching method that gives students opportunities to write in a variety of genres and helps foster a love of writing. The Writing Workshop allows teachers to meet the needs of their students by tailoring their lessons using information gathered throughout the workshop. When teachers use Writing Workshop, they teach using genre studies. Examples include personal narratives, information writing, procedural writing (how-to), etc. For students to write in disparate genres, they must first be immersed in books written in those genres. These texts are known as touchstone or mentor texts. Read alouds are one way to make the authors themselves teachers of genre-specific writing style. Students can emulate the authors, using different styles and literary techniques to craft their own writing.
  • Comprehension

    Making Connections helps students increase their comprehension skills. The interactive reading comprehension program develops the essential skills and strategies recommended by the National Reading Panel—and reinforces them by revisiting them throughout the curriculum.
  • Spelling and Phonics

    Rebecca Sitton Spelling Program has a set of core words divided by grade level. They provide a foundation for each student to begin or expand spelling exploration, and serve as a springboard for learning hundreds of additional words. The core also includes certain "No Excuse" words, which students are expected to spell correctly in all of their writing.

    Explode The Code builds the skills essential for reading success, such as phonological awareness, decoding, vocabulary, comprehension, fluency and spelling.

    The fourth and fifth grade use the Vocabulary for Achievement program to build spelling and vocabulary skills. Students will be expected to spell and use each vocabulary word correctly. Students are also required to learn the meanings of many Greek and Latin roots during a weekly root study. The program will also include proper spelling of commonly occurring words, and words from each discipline.
  • Math

    Everyday Math is a rigorous curriculum used across all grades (K-5). Developed by the University of Chicago, the curriculm is proven through research to build students’ mathematical knowledge, from the basics to higher-order thinking and critical problem solving. The program uses a problem-solving approach based on everyday situations and allows for frequent practice of basic skills. Lessons are designed to build on previously learned concepts and skills throughout the year instead of treating them as isolated bits of knowledge.
  • History and Geography

    The Core Knowledge Sequence is predicated on the realization that what children are able to learn depends on what they already know and, equally important, that what they know is a product of previous experience and teaching. Although current events and technology are constantly changing, there is a body of fundamental knowledge and skills that form the core of a strong preschool-fifth grade curriculum. Explicit identification of what children should learn at each grade level ensures a coherent approach to building knowledge across all grade levels. The children are introduced to basic concepts and ideas about citizenship, cultural differences, wants and needs, location, distance and time.
  • Science

    The Full Option Science System (FOSS) provides students with the opportunity to absorb real science in a hands-on way. Students learn about the world around them through observation and experience, and we encourage the students to ask questions, seek answers and to discuss and write about their findings. Our approach combines this hands-on experience with book learning to provide the foundation for an informed curiosity that leads to a deeper understanding of our world.
  • Foreign Language

    Spanish is taught in Preschool to fifth grade. In Preschool and Junior Kindergarten, students will be exposed to Spanish in a fun and relaxed atmosphere. Topics will be introduced through songs, questions and “Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling,” or TPRS, which will facilitate immediate comprehension. The students in grades K-5 use the Viva el Española! curriculum and study cultures where Spanish is spoken. Also, students in fifth grade are exposed to French for one trimester during the year. This introduction allows students and families to make an informed decision on which language choice to pursue in Middle School.

Extracurriculars

List of 4 items.

  • Art

    In Lower School, students learn to express their creativity and imagination. Each student has the opportunity to experiment and refine their skills with a variety of materials and processes. In addition to teaching the elements and principles of art, we also put a high value on the instruction of art history and art from other cultures. The lessons connect to other areas of study, such as history, math, literature and science.
  • Music

    Lower School music students explore musical concepts through singing, listening, playing instruments and creative movement. Each student will have the opportunity to better understand music through creative performing and instruction. Musical concepts and skills will be presented in activities in which all students can enthusiastically participate. Students will learn to recognize and demonstrate the basic musical elements of melody, rhythm, harmony, texture, tempo, dynamics, timbre and form. Lower School performance opportunities include fifth grade chorus, fourth- and fifth-grade band and orchestra, fourth-grade beginner band and orchestra and third-grade recorder ensemble.
  • Physical Education

    Physical education consists of a carefully planned curriculum designed to cultivate the healthy growth, development and behavior of each student through activity and movement. We place a special emphasis on involvement and the opportunity for each student to build and maintain mind and body through participation. We recognize that students develop physically and emotionally at different rates, and we make every effort at every grade level to accommodate these differences.
  • Library

    The primary objective of the Lower School library is to enrich, support and supplement Lower School learning. The library contains a dedicated collection for Lower School students and faculty that complements Country Day’s main library. This collection reflects curriculum goals while accommodating a wide range of reading abilities and points of view. The Lower School library adheres to an information literacy curriculum, which follows a scope and sequence specific to each grade. Books are carefully selected for their relevance to class work, as well as reading purely for fun, as it is the goal of the Lower School librarian to infuse a love of reading in each child and to introduce them to quality literature.
Lancaster Country Day School is a preschool-12th grade, coed college preparatory school with students from Lancaster, Hershey, York and Reading.