Lower School Experience
The Lower School Experience is what inspires well rounded, inquisitive, creative, collaborative students who enjoy a variety of rich hands-on learning opportunities. In addition to core subject areas, students engage with enrichment teachers and specialists to collaborate in the following areas:
The mission of the Montgomery Academy STEM Lab is to encourage a love of science and innovation and to foster a spirit of excitement as we explore the natural and mechanical world. The students will be exposed to a variety of natural science, technology, engineering and mathematic principles and how they relate to the world around us through hands-on, project based learning. The most important thing we do in STEM Lab is have FUN!
Our goal is for all students to enjoy and experience a wide variety of studio art media and processes which are focused on teaching the basic elements and principles of art. Our students’ hands-on art-making experiences help develop the early skills that support learning in all of their classes. Their visual art experiences are integrally linked to their entire Lower School experience through well-established programs such as the culture study, visiting authors/artists days, and tie-ins to the science and literature curricula.
Music is an integral part of our Lower School curriculum. Research shows that music enhances learning in all areas and should be a part of every child’s school experience. The goal of our program is for every child to develop a love for music, a lifelong desire to perform vocally and instrumentally, and the confidence to perform alone or in a group without fear. In Kindergarten through second grade, students learn to feel and move to the beat and match pitch in order to develop their singing voices. In third and fourth grades, students begin reading music with the Recorder Karate method. Our fifth graders learn how to read and play chords in our ukulele program. Students in fourth and fifth grades have the opportunity to participate in our Lower School chorus. All grades perform an annual musical to build performance skills and confidence.
The technology program at the Lower School offers many opportunities for students to practice good citizenship in the digital world and learn the skills needed to navigate in the constantly changing technology world. Students learn to use technology as a tool to enhance and support what they are doing within their curriculum. This authentic technology approach lets the students learn important skills, while understanding the importance of being good stewards of technology. The program offers use and understanding of various devices and such as computers, robotics and iPads. The students also learn age appropriate keyboard and research skills through integration. We help our students to learn to make wise decisions as they embrace all the digital world has to offer.
Whole School Celebrations
Our Lower School is a community, and we believe that coming together for meetings and celebrations is one way for us to promote a sense of belonging among all of our community members.
- Eagle Talk – Each month, the entire community meets for Eagle Talk. At this school-wide meeting, students lead greetings and school accomplishments or events. We also use this time to introduce the character value of the month.
- Culture Study – The Lower School embarks on a month-long immersive, interdisciplinary study of an international culture each year. Students learn about the country’s art, people, history, customs and traditions, food, natural resources, and language. The study generally lasts for three weeks, and the final week consists of a festival where special projects and experiences take place each day of the week. Some of the cultures studied are China, Germany, Korea, Brazil, Mexico, India, and Australia.
- Annual Author Visit – Each year in the spring, we host a visiting author or illustrator. He or she talks with students about the process his or her ideas go through before becoming published books and answers students’ questions. Some of the authors or illustrators we have hosted in the past include Kate Messner, Bob Shea, Mac Barnett, Paul O. Zelinsky, and Charise Harper.
- STEAMfest – STEAMfest is an annual celebration of all things science, technology, engineering, art, and math. Our school transforms into a “pop-up” children’s museum for one Saturday in the fall. Families of children in Grades Pre-K through 6 are invited to learn and wonder together at this free community event. Our teachers facilitate 15+ hands-on stations, and community organizations host interactive stations for families to enjoy. The stations include robotics, live animal demonstrations, design challenges, virtual reality, unique art projects, and much, much more!
The Lower School Counselor works with students in each class on a bi-weekly basis to encourage social and emotional development. Using the Second Step curriculum, students learn developmentally appropriate ways to make friends, manage emotions, and solve problems. The program is designed to strengthen each student’s academic and social skills as well as his or her sense of connectedness within our school community.
Physical education is a valued part of our daily schedule that helps students develop the foundation of skills, principals, and confidence needed to be physically active for life. We place an emphasis on meaningful instruction that will lead our students to be lifelong movers that value the importance of a health and active lifestyle.
The Spanish program provides an opportunity for students to understand and use basic components of the Spanish language. The expectation is that children will be able to express themselves verbally, and at times writing, in a limited fashion on a variety of topics. We also want to familiarize students with the diversity of Spanish speakers and have our students be receptive to and interested in other cultures and people.
The Jean K. Weil Library exists to support Lower School students’ growth in reading, and to encourage lifelong learning.Teachers use the collection to enhance curriculum units and stimulate curiosity. Parents, alumni, younger siblings, preschoolers and prospective applicants are welcome to use the collection as well. The library occupies a beautiful, wide-open, sunken area beneath the vaulted ceiling of the main entrance to the school. Physically it is the heart of the school, and its open design emphasizes our core tenet: that everyone is welcome in the library!
MA + Program
For Lower School students, additional care is provided through the MA+ Program on site at the Hill Campus from 3:10 p.m. until 5:30 p.m. Parents may choose a three-day or a five-day plan. Click here for information on the MA+ Program.