Academics in the Lower School
We build a strong academic foundation in the Lower School that ignites the minds of our students. Confidence and communication skills thrive, and our students develop into compassionate community citizens. Chase’s Core curriculum - language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, foreign language arts, music and physical education - advance with each grade. Innovation, design thinking and tinkering are introduced to students as a way to nurture creativity and develop solutions to problems.
Each lower school grade weaves a main theme throughout its curriculum, so that the subjects are linked in a meaningful, engaging way. From this tapestry, our students develop bold, creative ideas. SMARTBoard technology and IPads are integrated into all areas of the curriculum.
Our students started their vibrant Chase journey here, combining strong academic fundamentals with social development in our welcoming kindergarten classes. With hands-on, child centered activities, our kindergartners develop the skills to progress with confidence and lots of exuberance along the way.
Although our kindergartners have common attributes, one size does not fit all. Chase’s curriculum supports and encourages each child’s individual learning style.
Our children work at their own pace through differentiated instruction, developing reading, writing and math skills. Physical education, music and art enhance and deepen the traditional curriculum, and our Responsive Classroom social curriculum is practiced daily. Embedded in this curriculum are Chase’s central values of honesty, fairness and respect. Through this program, our children develop essential skills that will last a lifetime.
Themes, such as gardening, link all of the subject areas, and this brings a deeper understanding, along with an appreciation of the inter-relationships in our complex world. Our kindergartners partner with first graders on a play, which draws from a compelling science or social studies theme. Project and play based learning expands beyond our classrooms, into the 47-acres of our lush, verdant campus. Our kindergartners tend and maintain a vegetable garden that promotes the farm to table philosophy, and they enjoy sharing the harvest with the Chase community.
The Imagination Zone and Tinkering Stations provide our children with activities that inspire problem solving, innovation, collaboration and cooperation. Our kindergarteners design and create projects independently, based on their own imaginations and interests, and develop a love of learning, curiosity and wonder.
Our first graders are filled with an unbridled enthusiasm to learn and explore. It is a year of great academic and social growth. They develop an ever-increasing sense of independence and responsibility, learning to take charge of putting their gear in lockers, returning library books and being prepared to start the school day. Each day begins with a classroom meeting where our students gather to greet and welcome one another, and establish a cooperative, trusting atmosphere. This community building activity, accompanied by rules and logical consequences, brings to the forefront the values that are the trademark of a Chase education.
Our first grade academic curriculum grows with each student.
Our students blossom with a wide variety of teaching strategies, including whole group, small group, and individual learning. Language arts skills, such as reading, writing, spelling, and phonics, are taught through a creative mixture of instruction and challenging activities. Math lessons incorporate hands-on manipulatives, technology, and other engaging tools. Science and Social Studies are taught thematically, and include plentiful opportunities for projects and innovative experiments. Homework begins in the first grade to start fostering time management skills.
We conclude the school year with a dramatic performance and a science fair to showcase our first graders’ achievements. Whether working in our classroom, designing a project in our Imagination Zone, or using our beautiful campus as an outside classroom, first grade is a lively place where our students shine and grow.
In Chase’s warmly supportive atmosphere, our second graders rise to reach their academic, social and creative potential. Our students develop strong social and academic bonds with their classmates, while pursuing more introspective individual work as well. They practice asserting their ideas while learning to respect those of others, and attaining the self-control necessary for that courtesy.
Our second graders work hard so they also need breaks - playing or sitting quietly - to re-energize themselves during the day.
Our second graders stretch their reading and writing skills in guided reading book groups and writers’ workshop sessions. They progress at an individual pace, and achieve a year or more of literacy growth, which boosts their sense of accomplishment. Math concepts are introduced in a vivid, concrete way, using manipulatives, which provide a tangible understanding of the math process. Then our second graders progress to pictorial representations of the concepts and, finally, to more abstract mathematical ideas. Complex math problems bring a sense of discovery and excitement, as they are studied, puzzled over and solved in a variety of ways.
Our second graders practice design and innovative thinking in the Imagination Zone. Here, our students collaborate to discover a need, define a problem, brainstorm solutions, build prototypes, test and refine their creations. Our second graders love to imagine and invent at lower school tinkering stations, and this emphasis on outside-the-box thinking enriches the traditional curriculum. Our second graders apply their creative, hands-on learning to the mysteries of science explorations, or the study of history, and gain a broader perspective on the events that shaped their world.
Chase’s third graders are marked by a growing spirit of confidence and independence. To nurture this growth, we provide students with ample opportunities to work independently and in small groups. Discipline and study habits are strengthened through the use of a daily planner, which helps our students organize nightly homework as well as longer-term projects. Our exuberant third graders love to share and tell stories, which we highlight during morning meeting. Concurrently, our students develop into attentive listeners who ask thoughtful and relevant questions of their peers.
Our third graders move from learning to read to reading to learn.
Our teachers instill the joy and love of reading into our third graders. They choose from an intriguing variety of fiction and non-fiction texts, which complement our science and social studies curriculum. Books about Native Americans, space explorers, inventions, and many more engage our third graders’ curiosity.
Writing is a core academic piece for third grade. The curriculum focuses on producing well-organized paragraphs, along with the central elements of a research paper.
At the end of the year, our students’ work and creativity is displayed in research papers and imaginative experiments at the science fair.
As they enter the upper elementary years, our students continue to develop the maturity and self assurance that is the hallmark of a Chase education. They switch classrooms seamlessly for math and science, keep a daily planner and take greater ownership of their assignments.
Our fourth graders collaborate, innovate and explore with trips to the Imagination Zone where they strengthen problem solving skills.
Brainstorming, creating and bold thinking are common practices within this innovative space. In science, our students investigate and experiment to explore principles of life, physical and earth sciences. Technology, hands-on tools and a variety of other resources help students learn fundamental mathematical principles and apply them to real-world problems. Our fourth graders develop a sense of excitement about math with these meaningful connections. Reading and writing skills are woven into the day, as the class is regularly asked to reflect on their learning and further extend their critical thinking.
Our students read a stimulating variety of books and participate in lively discussions about what they have read. They are encouraged to be members of a global society in the 21st century, using various mediums to express their ideas. Their study of geography is an exciting exploration of the world around them, and the cultures of several different countries. In keeping with Chase’s emphasis on public speaking, class discussion and participation are encouraged throughout the day.
Independence is fully ingrained in our fifth graders, and they bring their own strategies to their learning. Using their imaginations, they choose their own research topics to work on individually. Leveled reading materials enable our students to gather information confidently. They compile notes on common themes to discuss with classmates. Spirited conversations are common when discussing intriguing characters and unfolding story plots.
History comes alive as our fifth graders use information they have read to envision the thoughts and feelings of the people in early American history to debate the side of Patriot or Loyalist.
In science, our students apply research and observation skills to tend a variety of plants. They conduct experiments to help the plants thrive. Learning through exploring is the best way to discover things like pH value, for example. There is nothing more fun, or more instructive, than having an acid (vinegar) and base (baking soda) erupt indicating a chemical change. In math, students use a variety of technological tools to enhance their learning and delve into new mathematical concepts. Discussion is encouraged to help students see the real-life applications of their math studies and how it extends beyond the classroom. Our students learn that math is a rewarding and meaningful tool to help us interpret our modern world.
The fifth grade goal is to study smarter, not harder. Strategies are built as our students work to solve problems collaboratively and on their own. Study techniques are explored and presented to prepare our Chase students for a lifetime enlivened and enriched by learning.