The goal of our program is to offer students a series of common experiences in both academic and social environments to give them opportunity to build strong academic and social-emotional skills and to build a Global perspective.
Some hallmarks of the Lower School curriculum are in the ways we come together as a Learning Community. Our morning meetings, our division cultural celebrations, our SmartLab, and our Reading Buddies program are just a few of the ways we actively work to build culture and a sense of community. Children may learn at different paces and through different modalities, but unless each child has a sense of safety, belonging, and connection, true learning would be difficult to engage in.
Starting as early as Kindergarten, students are beginning on the road to college and beyond. The love of learning that is instilled in our Lower School students is what will take them into Upper School, University, and into adulthood. Our goal is to create life-long learners in all of our students. Creating curriculum, units, lessons, and projects that are hands-on and have authentic, real-world value for our students is critical. It also allows students to engage in their work of learning in positive ways, building a desire for them to take responsibility for it themselves in the long run.
Parents often ask, "what can we do at home to help our child achieve?" The answer is simple. Spending time with your child to create routines for studying and homework are critical to success, but so is how we engage them to connect their learning to the larger world around us. Asking them what they learned at school today and following up with a conversation about how it might connect to the experience of others, appropriate current events, or to our Global Society. Reading to them daily, and encouraging them to help with tasks that enrich their learning (grocery shopping or planning for a trip). Learning doesn't stop when they leave our school buildings and parents can do a great deal to improve upon the academic successes of their children through these methods.
Every Child is Different - We place a high value on the level of individualized attention that we provide to each student at Palm Valley School. In addition to the everyday hands-on teaching that we provide in our small class sizes, we practice differentiation. Differentiation is a means through which we craft specific learning plans for students that fall outside the "bell curve." In grades 1-5 that means that if your child is consistently performing above or below the middle of the class, testing is suggested and an individualized learning plan is implemented. Especially for students that are bright, but who might have difficulty accessing content due to a learning challenge, this is particularly helpful for their ongoing success. A Gifted Clustering program for students who qualify is being rolled out in 2016-17 for grades 3-5 and our Math program schedule that allows for grade skipping, remediation, and individualized pacing are some of the ways we embrace the differences in every child. Our goal is to ensure that every child is met where they are academically and socially, and engaged in a way that provides adequate challenge for growth, and appropriate support for success.
LOWER SCHOOL CURRICULUM