Lower School (PreK-2nd)
In lower school, students develop a love of learning through an intellectually stimulating curriculum and classroom environment specifically tailored to a child’s need for safety and routine. Lower school teachers create a supportive learning community that nurtures curious minds and encourages children to tackle new challenges. Through this process, lower school students develop critical thinking skills, confidence and a positive attitude about school and their own education.
PreK/K and Kindergarten
Four- and five-year olds, whether they move up from the Stevens three-year-old program or enter Stevens from other preschool programs, are encouraged to be more independent and self-confident. Curious and eager to try new things, they begin to look beyond the world of self to the world of others.
Math, science, social studies and language arts is hands-on and inquiry based. Children pose questions, investigate and draw conclusions, which provides the basis for more constructive and engaging learning experiences. Literacy is developed through a guided reading curriculum consisting of journal writing, reader’s and writer’s workshop and author studies. Subject studies are enhanced with Spanish, the arts, music, movement, physical activity and the integration of technology.
Learning Through Blocks plays a central role in the curriculum as children experiment, create and learn cooperation and responsibility.
Experiential learning is an essential component of the lower school curriculum. Visits to the post office, the bank, stores, the waterfront and other local establishments inform block building and furthers students’ understanding of their community and environment.
In 1st and 2nd grade, students learn the principles of various writing forms — narrative, persuasive and analytical to name a few — and begin to tailor their writing to different audiences and academic subjects. Outside-the-classroom learning helps students become critical thinkers and capable researchers who can assess and synthesize information, as well as demonstrate all they have learned through writing, the arts and oral presentations. Block building also becomes more sophisticated as children mature. The capstone projects in the Lower School, Permanent City and the study and re-construction of the Brooklyn Bridge encompass a wide range of academic disciplines and require students to draw on multiple skills and abilities developed in the Lower School.
Assigned homework begins in 2nd grade, and on average, assignments are 15 minutes per weeknight. Stevens anticipates that children in PreK, Kindergarten and 1st grade are being read to or reading for 30 minutes each evening. This is the best way to develop literacy and lifelong readers. Lower School classrooms also have optional “Take Home” bags with enriching mathematics and reading activities.
To view sample Lower School class schedules, click here.