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The lower school curriculum begins in first grade. Each student follows a sequential curriculum to master the foundational knowledge and skills in English, mathematics, science, history and geography, Spanish, music, art, and physical education. Semi-private piano lessons begin for every child in first grade with the option of adding violin, viola, or cello in third grade. Character education during daily morning assemblies focuses on positive character traits such as respect, honesty, perseverance, and integrity. Other important learning activities include nature walks, theater and museum trips, and guest speakers.
Language arts emphasizes learning and writing sounds associated with the 71 phonograms of the Riggs Writing and Spelling Road to Reading and Thinking. The rigorous Singapore Math® curriculum builds on both computation and problem-solving skills as topics are introduced through a concrete, then pictorial, and finally abstract approach. The Japanese science curriculum is a sophisticated experiment-based program using and teaching the scientific method. The history and geography studies draw on the Core Knowledge History and Geography curriculum, and students study world geography as it relates to historical events. All lower school students study Spanish five days a week. Classes address the four skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing, and also incorporate in-depth historical, cultural and geographic studies of several Spanish-speaking countries.
Music instruction includes singing, movement, piano lessons, music theory and history. Students prepare for recitals, school concerts and special performances, and optional graded examinations of the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM), London. Art classes offer instruction in drawing and sculpture, supplemented with art history. Physical education emphasizes fitness through individual and team sports that address a range of whole-body and fine motor skills and teach lifelong fitness like soccer, track and field, and tumbling.