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Lower School (Grades Pre-K - 5)
|Designed to awaken the curiosity, intellect, and creativity in every child, the Lower School program is a stimulating, multifaceted introduction to the world of ideas. The sequential curriculum is carefully structured to build on the previous year’s studies and prepare for the next. Foundations are strengthened while higher levels are explored. |
The essential skills of reading and writing are the objectives of a wide range of activities in the lower grades. Books are ubiquitous and students become accustomed to reading as both an individual and a social pursuit. As they read literary classics from many cultures, children gain insight into their own experiences as well as the lives of others. As they develop the capacity for abstract thinking, they learn that the articulate interpretation of a text is integral to sophisticated reading. At all grade levels, writing is integrated into students’ daily lives. From the sentence to the essay, instruction in writing is explicit, plentiful, and consistent.
Both social studies and the sciences help students bridge personal observation to the world around them. Our faculty seeks to teach students to look upon the human and natural environments in which they live as opportunities for learning. Studying human experience on family, local, regional, and global levels introduces students to the intersections of culture, geography, civilization, and history. Cultivating vegetables and flowers, collecting data from our weather station, and composting waste are among the activities that foster scientific discovery and environmental awareness.
The mathematics program uses similar strategies to give students confidence in essential skills. Teachers make extensive use of tangible objects and real-world data to illustrate pertinent concepts. Using the human and physical resources of the school, students collect, process, and graph data that pertains to them. Mathematics classes occasionally venture outside to put their skills into practice around the campus.
Early exposure to world languages is an important part of a Riverdale education. To help our students appreciate and participate in other cultures and traditions, the introduction to two world languages begins in the third grade. By the fifth grade, students select either French or Spanish to study in depth.