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Lower School

Academic Intentionality

 

At CCCA our lower school academics are planned and implimented with care. Teachers seek to challenge, assist, and inspire each child. Our teachers focus on building warm and caring classroom communities where students feel safe and secure. Because early education is the foundation for all future academics and endeavors, our curriculum offers cohesion, continuity, and an unwaivering commitment to mastery of the basics.

Small Class Sizes

Small classes, averaging 15-17 students, allow each child to be known as a unique individual and enable our teachers to nurture each student’s academic, social, spiritual, and emotional needs.

Lower School Curriculum

Over-arching elementary curriculum is mapped out from kindergarten through grade 5 to ensure that the students follow a developmentally-appropriate, logical sequence of learning (and review) from one grade to the next. Our program holds fast to laying a firm foundation; reading, writing, and arithmetic recieve ample class time, and complimentary disciplines (science, history, arts, Spanish, and technology) are introduced and explored. Teachers collaborate in curriculum teams and benefit from each other's strengths.

We have chosen curriculum for each grade level in every subject area that we believe is challenging and interesting. We continue to evaluate and adjust our curriculum as needed, bringing in more effective tools and methodologies that enhance our program. Because of our commitment to "best practices," our excellent curriculum will remain strong.

The Basics

Language Arts

Reading - Reading is the single most important skill that a child will learn in school. Our reading instruction begins in kindergarten and is built upon a phonics-based approach. An understanding of phonics is the key that enables students to decode words. As decoding skills increase, the primary emphasis shifts to comprehension and vocabulary acquisition. Students are instructed in specific comprehension strategies in order to improve their understanding of any type of text. All students are given a reading assessment at the beginning of each year.  In grades K-2 the reading instruction is individualized so that each student is challenged to excel and progress in his reading ability. In grades 3-5 we use a literature-based approach as students grow, which encourages both comprehension/vocabulary and critical thinking/analysis.

Grammar - The grammar program used in grades 1-5 progressively teaches students to understand all the words in a sentence and how they relate to one another. Students are taught that each part of speech has a particular function within a sentence.  Our grammar program uses repetition, builds one concept upon another, and teaches students how to perform a critical analysis of entire sentences. These skills are foundational for writing with clarity and precision.

Writing - Writing skills begin in Kindergarten with rudimentary sentences and progress to basic essay writing in grade 5. Students explore several types of writing: creative, persuasive, formal, as well as poetry. Writing prompts encourage students to use imagination, creativity, problem-solving, planning, execution, and follow-through.

Spelling - The method used in grades K-5 is a multi-sensory approach where students learn to spell by saying, hearing, writing, and seeing, thereby using multiple avenues to the brain. The students apply their knowledge of phonograms and English rules to analyze and spell the 1,000 most commonly used words in the English language (the Ayre's List, Dolch Sight Word List)

Arithmetic and Mathematics

Mathematical fluency requires both:

memorization

and

signification

"What are the basic math facts (memorization, computation)?" and "What do these facts really mean (signification, reasoning)?"

In early elementary, we use a curriculum that supports a "hands-on" understanding of arithmetic. Additionally, daily Calendar Math teaches "patterning" (a foundational concept in all mathematics.)

In all lower school grades, students encounter new concepts, practice new concepts as a group and individually, and review previous concepts.

Because math builds continuously, mastery of all material supports future success. Our teachers assess student progress weekly, identify any conceptual deficits, and work with students to attain mastery. 

Beginning in grade 3, students reach a new developmental stage; they are able to start understanding abstract concepts. At this point, math curriculum begins to require higher levels of reasoning and problem solving.

 

Additional Disciplines

STEM-based Science - Our STEM-based science program is designed to equip our young students to think well and to be compelled by their faith to know science and apply that knowledge in innovative ways. Students study topics in earth science, life science, and physical science. The classroom experiences and the lab are integrated to encourage students to want to know more as they master content, learn the scientific method, and successfully draw conclusions. This is expanded through our GT enrichment as well.

Social Studies - It is important for students to understand the world around them and have a clear understanding of historical events and how they impact the world today. Students study cultures in countries around the world as well as our own community, state, and nation. In each grade level, a specific project is added to enhance the students’ knowledge of the cultures studied.

Bible - Students learn about the grand narrative of the Christian faith by studying the Bible. They study the people, places, and events in the Bible. They are taught a cohesive framework for Christianity and understand where they fit into God’s plan for His people.

 

Fine and Performing Arts & Enrichment Classes

Music - Students learn music theory and grow to enjoy the gift of various forms of music through general music classes. Introduction to band is in 5th grade. Several performances are scheduled throughout the year to encourage presentation before an audience.

Art - Instruction in the elements and techniques of the various media allow every student creative expression as an artist. Art mediums explored include drawing, painting, printmaking, various 3-dimensional art mediums, and mixed media.  Students study master artists and their various techniques.

Technology - Our program in grades K-5 is designed towards creative computing. All tools used to teach (such as unplugged activities, arts, stories, and games) are design based. Students design creations, personalize them, collaborate with peers, and then reflect on and rethink their ideas.

Spanish - Songs, games, drama, and other activities help students learn the sound, basic conversation skills, and beginning vocabulary of Spanish. Students study Spanish from preschool throughout each grade of lower school in a fun and interactive way.

P.E. - Students exercise, learn skills, and develop sportsmanship, teamship, and character each day in P. E. (Exercise is proven to increase student focus and ability to learn.)

 

 

First Grade

Second Grade

Third Grade

Fourth Grade

Fifth Grade

Book - Readiness Skills and Art Projects K - ABEKA Curriculum