The Lower School, from Early Birds to Grade 2, fosters a love of learning in students while nurturing the natural curiosity students bring with them to school each day. Our program educates the whole child in the Franciscan tradition, creating a balance of engaging academics and exciting enrichment programs, alongside social and spiritual development. As students develop the building blocks of literacy and mathematics, they explore thematic units of study in science, social studies and religion. Students in the Lower School are encouraged to develop independence and self-confidence as they become comfortable taking risks both academically and socially.
Early Birds (2's Program)
Early Birds creates a “bridge” between home and school for our 2's. In the start of the year, parents or caregivers are encouraged to support their children in the class full time as we develop a nurturing and warm environment for the students. As the school year moves forward, caregivers/parents step out of the classroom and into the sitting room for increasing portions of class time, so that students can work towards greater independence where they are encouraged to take risks and explore. This gradual separation model prepares our youngest students for the drop off/pick up model of Pre-K that will be the next stage of their school experience after Early Birds. We work in partnership with parents and caregivers to support each child’s individual needs while also helping children to become part of a larger community. With Franciscan values in mind, we encourage children to be aware of their fellow classmates. Using a hands-on approach, Early Birds students will tackle concepts using interactive play, manipulatives, song, and movement. Children “play” in centers supporting fine and large motor skill growth, literacy, math, science, and social studies concepts. We believe in the joy of learning and want to foster a love of life-long learning during this “first experience with school."
Early Childhood (Pre-K 3, Pre-K 4, Kindergarten)
Children in Pre-K 3, Pre-K 4, and Kindergarten challenge themselves with the faculty's rigorous "hands-on, minds-on" instruction. Through centers-based learning, children interact, play, and learn while keeping engaged and excited. This holistic approach to learning, with an emphasis on each child's academic, social, spiritual, and physical growth, provides children with a nurturing, warm environment. Children feel supported to take risks and explore as they transition from the half day program in Pre-K 3 to the full day in Pre-K 4. Students benefit from enrichment programs that enhance their thematic studies within the classroom. In these early and formative years of school, children forge friendships that will endure a lifetime. Children also learn to love school and value the learning process.
Primary Grades (Grades 1 and 2)
As students move into the primary grades in grades 1 and 2, we recognize the value in celebrating the individual talents of all students to continue the development of life-long learners who are willing to take risks. Using the New York State Common Core Standards, teachers create curriculum that is differentiated to fit the needs of all students' individual strengths and areas of growth. A hands-on, real life application approach engages students to think critically and to problem solve in order to build comprehension. Students in grades 1 and 2 continue to solidify the foundational skills in both literacy and math that will allow for continued success in the Upper School. Science, social studies, and religion units increase in depth as students develop a deeper understanding for the world around them and strengthen critical thinking skills. As part of their religion classes, students in Grade 2 prepare for the Sacraments of Reconciliation and First Holy Communion.