The Joy of Learning Begins Here
The Lower School at Westminster is a place where students, parents, faculty and visitors are warmly welcomed each day and where energy and excitement fill our hallways and classrooms! Our students are known and loved by teachers and staff, and viewed as uniquely-crafted individuals created in the image of God. Teachers teach with grace and with developmentally appropriate expectations and integrate needed social skills into the curriculum daily.
The Lower School faculty and administration work in close partnership with parents, communicate early and often, and encourage parental participation in classroom activities. This teamwork approach fosters a strong mutual commitment to each child's learning experience.
"As a parent, I couldn't be happier with the fact that my children are known and loved at school. The teachers and administrators have been so supportive and have made a positive impact on our family."
Parent, TK and 2nd Grade
Developmentally appropriate activities are combined with needed social skills to produce students who are responsible and motivated. Our Lower School students look forward to learning new concepts and are challenged daily to use their talents to glorify God. We partner with parents to ensure that a strong foundation for the future is being established in the early years of education.
Delivering personalized instruction and a proven curriculum
Students study biblical accounts from Genesis to Nehemiah as well as the life of Jesus using the Deep Roots curriculum.
Language Arts/ Reading
First grade utilizes a guided reading approach to teach reading in small groups at various ability levels. Phonics rules are integrated to enhance word-decoding skills and increase sight word vocabulary using Open Court Reading.
First graders learn foundational concepts through concrete manipulatives and pictures before moving to more abstract representations. They develop concepts and skills through hands-on instruction and practice, focusing on number sense, place value, time, money, fractions, addition, subtraction, building math fact fluency, data analysis, and problem-solving.
Science and Social Studies curriculum includes many hands-on experiments and projects. Science themes include living and nonliving things, hygiene, weather, plants and data collections.
Social Studies units include landforms, community and culture.
Deep Roots curriculum provides students the opportunity to learn Biblical truth while studying the life of Jesus, and the beginning of the early church.
Students continue to learn phonics patterns using the Vowac program and develop reading and vocabulary fluency through the Open Court Reading Program. Small group work and special activities provide opportunities to strengthen needed skills.
Students develop foundational skills to gain proficiency and fluency in applying mathematical concepts at the second grade level through the Progress in Mathematics curriculum. Special events and extended lessons provide opportunities to use hands-on activities and games that reinforce the material covered.
Science includes many hands-on experiments, projects and STEM days. Science themes include the study of magnets, nutrition, oceans and animals.
Social Studies focuses on goods and services, producers and consumers, government and geography.
The Deep Roots curriculum provides students the opportunity to review and learn Biblical truths with a focus on mankind as God's image bearers.
Third grade is a transition year in reading when students move from learning to read to reading to learn. Students review phonics and spelling patterns taught in lower grades while learning to comprehend what we read in a variety of literary genres.
Students deepen their grasp of number sense and become proficient in key math skills and concepts. Students use hands-on manipulatives and problem solving skills to enhance learning.
Third grade focuses on life science and discovering the world around us. Through hands-on learning, including STEM activities and projects, students learn about space, animals and habitats.
Students focus on diverse aspects of communities and cultures. Third grade service learning has an international focus.
The Deep Roots curriculum provides students the opportunity to develop foundational beliefs of a Christian worldview. Students focus on many different themes throughout the year with an emphasis on servanthood.
Language Arts encompasses the areas of reading, composition, grammar and spelling. Students study various novels to strengthen critical thinking and writing skills. Vocabulary practice also enriches and builds reading comprehension for students.
Math continues to strengthen foundational skills through the use of hands-on learning, manipulatives and math games. Students’ math fluency and competency is also reviewed throughout the year.
Through hands-on investigations and labs, students explore the world around them by examining simple machines, matter, earth science, human body, electricity, rocks and minerals. Students also create and present their own inventions in fourth grade!
Students master the 50 states and their regions through the study of geography. Students also develop research skills as they study topics such as natural resources, geography and cultural changes.
Bible & Chapel
The Building on the Rock curriculum is designed to help students interpret knowledge and build foundational beliefs and values from a Christian perspective. The students will learn the biblical story through the worldview framework of creation, fall, and redemption, while being grounded in the biblical view of truth, God, self, others and creation. Fifth grade studies the life of Christ as well as stewardship. Along with our Bible curriculum, we will also be using our stewardship theme in our service learning emphasis of social change.
Students build reading comprehension and practice independent reading in fifth grade, including novel studies and stories from Open Court. The writing process is reinforced, and students develop grammar skills through Daily Grammar Practice (DGP).
Fifth grade uses a variety of teaching techniques to ensure a strong understanding of math concepts. The use of the Progress in Mathematics curriculum, as well as the interactive websites, help students achieve this goal.
The social studies standards are accomplished utilizing the Harcourt Horizons curriculum and the supplemental text, Why America is Free. The curriculum provides the students' opportunities to learn how our country was founded and its history throughout the years. The students practice their knowledge through presentations and projects.
The science program centers on the acknowledgment that the world in which we live belongs to God who created and upholds it. The units in science use students’ natural inquisitiveness and joy of discovery as the basis for investigation. It is developed from the perspective of “let’s find out.” God’s creation will be explored through a combination of critical thinking skills, labs, experiments and STEM activities.
Exploring our God-Given Talents
Westminster recognizes that our students are created with their own unique gifts and abilities. Our curriculum, balanced in core academics and co-curricular subject areas, enhances these talents. Our Lower School students in grades PK3 through grade 5 are involved in one or two of the following co-curricular classes daily:
- Physical Education
- Technology Innovation Literacy Time (TILT)
Innovative Teaching and Learning
Engaging Our Students in Learning for the 21st Century
Westminster Lower School employs state-of-the-art educational technology at all levels. Technology provides access to content and engaged learning opportunities for all of our students. Students use technology for creative expression and will develop essential 21st century skills to address modern issues and become responsible digital citizens.
Students use sets of iPads in the classroom with educational apps and interactive games to support their mathematics, reasoning, and literacy development. Students in kindergarten through fifth grade also attend Technology Innovation Learning Time (TILT) for co-curricular class and content reinforcement. Here, they develop computer and keyboard skills, learn to use productivity software, are exposed to computer programming and coding, and enhance their content area studies. Students use Ozobots, Lego boost Kits, Wonder Bots, 3D pens, IO Blocks, and more to incorporate learning objectives. An XYZ Davinci Jr. 3D printer is used to create real-world solutions to everyday problems.
Developing Servants Hearts
Serving God by Serving Others
In order to equip students to live extraordinary lives for Jesus Christ, we engage in authentic service learning. This teaching method applies classroom learning to action that addresses a community need. The process allows for student initiative and time for reflection.
It is our desire to be a light in our community and beyond. School-wide community service projects and outreach opportunities are woven into our curriculum so that students have the privilege to serve our local community and support different mission endeavors.
Coming as students, leaving as leaders
All Lower School grade levels encourage leadership through classroom jobs and developmentally appropriate duties that give students ownership of their own classroom experience. Students learn accountability, responsibility, oral communication skills, and teamwork. Leadership opportunities include: chapel teams, daily morning announcement anchors and carline helpers.