Lower School Curriculum
At Sandy Spring Friends Lower School, we focus on each child’s growth academically, physically, socially, and spiritually.
Our Lower School emphasizes the individual strengths and talents of each child, nurturing a sense of self-worth and a confidence to take risks. Our supportive teachers help each student develop mastery of basic skills and concepts with open-ended problem solving, expansive thinking, and creative writing.
Looking for the Preschool Curriculum? Visit our Preschool Curriculum Page!
Lower School Curriculum
Download a printable version of our Lower School Curriculum for more details about our educational philosophy.
Our language arts program builds confidence in our students as readers and writers, and expands their joy of language. Our curriculum consists of Reading, Writing Workshop, Spelling, Handwriting, Vocabulary, and Speaking/Presentation Skills. Students participate in independent and small group activities that incorporate a variety of multi-sensory approaches.
Lower School teachers take every opportunity to integrate math throughout the curriculum and in daily routines, and to incorporate the standards set forth by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) into the curriculum. Utilizing the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Math In Focus: The Singapore Approach™ curriculum, we endeavor to ensure that our students become competent in basic math skills, view math as fun and relevant to their lives, and experience preparation for more advanced math work within the Lower School and into the Middle School.
Our science program supports the innate curiosity of children and emphasizes hands-on, process-oriented activities that allow students to explore the living and nonliving world. Students use their senses and are given time, materials, and resources needed to question and experiment.
We maintain two community farms, and our Lower School Farm Program serves not only to expand students’ scientific thinking, but also to further develop their understanding of stewardship and continual care of the earth. In this inquiry-based setting, they reflect on and record their explorations and experiences and have the opportunity to form their own conclusions.
Our social studies curriculum opens the door to the discovery of communities across the globe. Students explore diverse cultures and their history, environments and people. Map skills are developed through the study of geography. Students learn the many ways that world cultures and traditions have influenced American communities over time. Retracing the steps of history, they develop a basic understanding and chronology of key events.
Our art program focuses on exposing the students to a wide range of artistic principles and techniques, enhanced by illustrations from art history and different cultures. The arts program fosters a sense of pride, pleasure, and accomplishment in their artistic ability while broadening their artistic knowledge base.
Our music program aims to foster a lifelong enjoyment and appreciation of music by providing experiences that develop and continually increase musical skills while nurturing musical imagination and creativity. Students at all grade levels explore and expand their musical abilities through singing, moving, playing instruments, listening to selected musical works, and creating original music and interpretive movements.
Our Lower School Spanish study focuses on active listening, comprehension, and communication. Students are introduced to the language the same way they were introduced to their mother tongue. As they progress through the grades, students gradually internalize frequently-used vocabulary and basic grammar while they learn to speak. By the fourth and fifth grades, students get familiar with phonetic spelling and begin to communicate ideas in writing.
Our physical education program encourages enjoyment of physical pursuits throughout life by helping students be successful and comfortable in a variety of active games, dance, and exercise. Our Quaker values are stressed in play to build good sportsmanship and teamwork. Our learning approach is developmental – accepting and challenging individual levels of fitness, skill acquisition, and understanding of strategy.
Other Lower School Curriculum Highlights
Outdoor Education on our 140-acre campus, including exploration of our woods, pond, and streams.
Technology integration, from project-based learning assignments to our 1:1 iPad program in the 4th and 5th grade.
Our Library program, fostering a love of books and teaching information skills to our students.
Building age-appropriate Life-Skills to nourish a respectful and caring classroom community and develop essential emotional and social learning competencies.