The Lower Elementary program at Five Oaks Academy houses students ages 6 – 9 (grades 1 – 3). Each of our Lower Elementary Classrooms provides large community instruction, accompanied by smaller individualized teacher groups. The elementary-aged child is moving from the physical world of concrete understanding to ability to reason abstractly. The Lower Elementary program is designed to meet the specific needs and sensitivities of the Lower Elementary student; a need to question, a need to explore justice, and a need to go out into the world. At the Lower Elementary level children dive deeply into the concept of community, what it means, how to build it, and how to foster a collaborative learning environment. The elementary child quickly learns that this is not the teacher’s classroom, but one that belongs to every student and requires every member of the classroom contributing to its success.
The curriculum in the Lower Elementary Program includes all core subject areas (Language Arts, Arithmetic, Geometry, and Sciences), cultural studies (History, Geography, and Technology), Foreign Languages, and the Arts (Visual and Music). Children are provided with age appropriate learning opportunities, additional support, and challenge through extensions. All children are given individualized academic attention as well as small and large group instruction. Students are given material based lessons; they begin working with research and learning how to use resources to answer questions of greater depth and focus. Homework begins in the Lower Elementary program. Children participate in homework assignments that are open-ended and related to classroom explorations. In addition to specific assignments, the children are expected to complete reading logs that reflect daily reading. Assessment at the lower elementary level is achieved through numerous methods. Observation, completion of follow up work, the three period lesson, formal progress reports, weekly work records, portfolios, and MAP testing are all assessment tools used to gain a dynamic perspective of each child.
In addition to our emphasis on academics, the Lower Elementary Program fosters whole-child development where students develop socially and emotionally through a wide range of lessons and experiences. The children are engaged in lessons that include care of self, care of environment, and development of invaluable interpersonal and conflict resolution skills. As part of our weekly practical life exercises, the students plan, shop for, and prepare snack for their peers. The Lower Elementary program fosters many community service programs throughout the year and follows a service learning three year curriculum plan. To meet the needs of the Lower Elementary child, the students “go out” on monthly field trips, practice grace and courtesy, and embark on experiences within the larger community. Our monthly field trips provide the larger learning environment to practice appropriate etiquette in a variety of settings, such as the theater or restaurant. “Going out” experiences also allow the students to develop a broader sense of community and to better identify their places in the world as well as conduct hands on explorations that enrich our curriculum and enhance the depth or their understanding.