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Learning Experience

Lower School

Active Learning in the Lower School A fourth grade teacher posted a quote from Socrates in her classroom: “Wonder is the beginning of wisdom.” She then asked her students to discuss how this concept might apply to their own experience at Riverdale. This exercise reveals something central to our teaching principles and practice. We believe it is important to help even our youngest students think about their own learning process and relate what they are learning at Riverdale to their lives outside the classroom. With two teachers in each classroom we can closely focus on each individual student’s interests and needs. In Pre-K and Kindergarten intentional play introduces students to teamwork, problem solving, character skills, and emergent literacy. As students move to more formal academics, each lesson is an opportunity to orchestrate an active learning experience. In every classroom, teachers encourage students to develop character strengths in parallel with disciplinary knowledge. For example, we choose literature that helps children learn empathy. In math classes we consciously encourage students to reach beyond their problem-solving level to help them develop resilience and grit as well as basic skills. In reading, writing, and math, we use a workshop model of instruction.

In Workshop, students receive stretches of time for practice and repetition in order to apply new skills and become more proficient independently. The workshop methodology supports our commitment to giving students time and space to move across their individual progression of learning. Throughout the Lower School, our campus drives active learning, allowing students the freedom to play outside and explore the world. Our science classes have an ever-changing laboratory for the study of plants, animals, birds, and the Hudson River. Students become scientists by immersing themselves in activity. In this publication you will see how learning progresses grade to grade in Math and Science, Humanities, Arts, and Special Projects. In addition, all Lower School students study Spanish and participate in our signature drama program, which gives each grade the opportunity to produce an original play directly related to academic and character themes. Although it’s impossible to fully capture daily life at Riverdale, the following pages will give you a rich picture of our learning environment. We look forward to welcoming you to campus where you can see firsthand how exciting it is to be part of the Lower School community.

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Profile for Riverdale Country School

The Riverdale Learning Experience (2019)  

The Riverdale learning experience is influenced by many factors: the growing science of how children learn, the role of character strengths...

The Riverdale Learning Experience (2019)  

The Riverdale learning experience is influenced by many factors: the growing science of how children learn, the role of character strengths...