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TOWER HILL SCHOOL Lower School Curriculum Guide 2012-2013

Lower School Special Subject and Reading Philosophies

Lower School Reading Reading and language arts activities comprise a major part of the class day. A balanced approach to reading instruction fosters development of word recognition and comprehension strategies, vocabulary, fluency, and reasoning skills at all levels of the Lower School program. Small instructional groups at each level remain flexible to accommodate change and growth in students' literacy development. Through group discussion of engaging texts and application of reading skills and strategies, students develop the ability to read and think critically. A variety of materials are used to explore literary genres while cultivating a desire to read with an appreciation of good literature. Lower School Science Science is a process of gaining knowledge and understanding of the natural world around us. The Lower School science curriculum combines life science, earth science, physical science, and chemistry in grades K-4. Students at each grade level receive progressively more sophisticated instruction in the scientific method: they gather existing information, form hypotheses and predict expected outcomes, experiment and collect data, organize results, and draw conclusions based on their own work. Each year they become increasingly confident using the equipment and tools of science. Our curriculum emphasizes exciting age-appropriate activities using hands-on inquiry techniques and field experiences with outdoor nature and environmental studies. All students will participate in Starlab, an interactive planetarium. Lower School Spanish The primary focus of the program is teaching children to use Spanish as a communicative tool. Classes are taught primarily in Spanish in order to build speaking and listening skills. Class activities are contextual in nature. The use of language in authentic situations is encouraged during each class, such as common greetings, describing weather and expressing feelings. Our program uses the ¥Viva el espaùol! series, incorporating games, puppets, realia, storybooks, art and music. Lessons are interactive where students sing, respond to simple commands and questions, role-play, dialogues and participate in activities using the SMARTboard. The program’s goal is to provide our students with a solid background in language and expose them to various Spanish-speaking cultures. Lower School Math Lab The Lower School Math Lab provides developmentally appropriate instruction and achievement for each student in a dynamic and supportive environment. The Math Lab uses manipulative materials as a foundation for teaching, enriching and supporting the Lower School students. Lessons span across the curriculum and across grade levels. Multi-sensory instruction ensures the success of every student. As the students engage in mathematical investigations, they are encouraged to think of multiple solutions to ensure deeper understanding and to cultivate their innate curiosity.

Lower School Special Subject and Reading Philosophies 2012-2013


Lower School Visual Arts The Lower School Visual Arts Program at Tower Hill School offers many rich and varied learning experiences. It is based on a Fine Arts foundation, which includes drawing, painting, sculpture, ceramics, printmaking, elements of art, principles of design and strong observational skills. Lessons are on par with the National and Delaware Art Standards, which are posted in the art room. The Lower School art curriculum is based on the belief that every child is guaranteed the right to experience the special joy that art brings, because it is a regular part of the school day. We believe that art is a basic component in meeting the needs of the whole child. In the art room, students are given tools to help them understand more about themselves, their world and world cultures. They are taught to be critical thinkers; they learn that there are many ways to solve one problem and there are no failures when one takes a creative risk. Each stage of the child’s artistic development is honored and valued, and a sequential program is tailored to meet their developmental needs. It is a constant goal to implement connections among the arts and other disciplines, as this approach often makes learning more authentic. Lower School Music The music department sees its mission as an integral part of a well-rounded, school-wide curriculum. The department continues the tradition of presenting a diversity of culture and beliefs in the curriculum that encourages students to respect the heritage and beliefs of others as well as their own. The program endeavors to give students a set of values for discrimination in the area of music and the knowledge necessary to combine mastery of basic skills with opportunities to make creative use of this knowledge in musical performance. The concepts taught in music classes help to prepare students to be well-adjusted members of society. Music provides students with the means to transform their life experiences symbolically, a basic human need, and helps them to gain aesthetic sensitivity, the source of man's highest satisfaction in life. Lower School Technology Technology is utilized as a tool that enhances the learning process. Computer skills are formally introduced and reinforced at each grade level beginning in Kindergarten through Fourth Grade. Skills are integrated into the curriculum through the subject areas. In each classroom, SMARTboards are utilized as interactive tools to support the curriculum. Lower School Library The Lower School Library program encourages students to develop a love for literature, an appreciation of the knowledge found through books and other resources, and the skills necessary to access and analyze those resources successfully. The overarching goal is to encourage children to become life-long learners. Students visit the library weekly for classes and a for research or reading program activities, such as book talks. Collaboration between the librarian, grade-level, and special-area teachers is an integral part of the library curriculum. The main threads of orientation, location, access, evaluation, and synthesis of information, as well as literature appreciation, run through all Lower School library instruction and increase in complexity each year. Activities focus on basic library procedures and use of resources, listening skills, parts of a book, and organization of books and libraries, including the Dewey Decimal Classification System. Other activities include genre studies, exposure to stories from many cultures, how to choose books, book awards, including our own Tower Hill Lower School Library Awards, literary analysis, use of the online library catalog and databases, and appropriate use of the internet. Research lessons include bibliographic instruction and evaluation of websites.


Lower School Special Subject and Reading Philosophies 2012-2013


Lower School Physical Education Physical education is an integral part of the school curriculum and contributes to the well being of the students through the encouragement of participation in activities designed to meet their physical and recreational needs. The program is devoted to purposeful instruction in a variety of activities that guide students through successful stages of physical development, as well as mental, emotional, and social characteristics essential to a well-rounded personality. General Goals: 1. Social development - One of the major goals involves the interaction within a group of students by the individuals. Development in this area is accomplished through instruction and experience in sportsmanship, leadership, cooperation, and teamwork. 2. Physical development - The object of the physical activities is to train and improve the student’s coordination, speed, strength, stamina, agility, and skill level. 3. Mental and emotional development - This main objective is attained through focus on the following sub-phases: Assertiveness, self-discipline, temper control, poise, objective decision-making, and the selection of options under stress.