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Lower School
Academics & Curriculum

Lower School Academics & Curriculum

From the moment your child steps through our doors, they begin a transformative journey that jump-starts their learning, development, and growth. The SGS Lower School community celebrates the joy of working and playing together. Children are encouraged to explore their diverse world, expand their creativity, develop their sense of self, and build lasting friendships. Through our robust, private elementary education, we celebrate the power of teamwork and recognize the profound impact that community has on your child’s development.

Teachers provide an enriched environment that nurtures our core values of honesty, respect, generosity of spirit, and best efforts. Our mission statement, Inspiring scholars, athletes, and artists to serve and lead others, drives our rigorous and innovative curriculum in the classroom, on the field or stage, and in the community. The personal teacher-student connection fosters self-expression, inquiry, critical thinking, and risk-taking. Together, we pursue our passion to be lifelong learners.

With intentionality we collaborate cross-grade and cross-divisionally with middle schoolers and upper schoolers. Your child will be immersed in learning outside at various times and in multiple locations of our 120-acre campus, from the river to the woods and in-between.

Your child benefits from specialist teachers in Art, Music, Spanish, Library, and PE. Weekly class activities with our school counselor build social-emotional learning capacities. Technology is integrated throughout the curriculum. Friday Assemblies provide performance opportunities for all K-5 students, and Student Council positions offer students a chance to lead and serve our Lower School.

At Saint George’s, our teachers are free to develop a comprehensive curriculum that strives to propel the child towards their potential. Each child is empowered to take ownership of their learning and is encouraged to translate their knowledge into action and reflection. Through a blend of collaborating with others and working individually, children receive a solid foundation in the core subjects while broadening their global awareness and developing their artistic and athletic potential.

Below are some very brief summaries of each grade’s curriculum to give you a window into the classrooms. These just begin to scratch the surface of the vibrancy our program offers.

Our all-day Kindergarten program provides experiences that help your child grow socially, emotionally, physically, creatively, and intellectually. Individual, small and whole group instruction fosters the developmental skills for each child in reading, writing, math, science, and social studies. Play is valued, for it strengthens problem solving skills and builds friendships. The Neighborhoods and Communities unit especially pulls together teamwork, collaboration, and negotiation amongst our “Littlest Dragons.”

First grade is a time to delve deeper into the content areas of math, reading, writing, science and social studies. Children are expected to move from the concrete level in learning math to the pictorial and into the symbolic level of understanding. Fluency in reading is strengthened and comprehension skills are developed. Publication of stories and books showcase the writing process. The annual Penguin Unit incorporates math, science, and geography with reading, and the annual Rumpus in the Rainforest musical presentation ties together science, social studies, reading, and performance skills.

Second graders integrate the skills of reading, writing, and speaking in their class presentations throughout the year. Students learn to use reading as a tool to gather information. Responsibility and independence are vital while working on multiple-step projects. Highlights include dissecting owl pellets, exploring the 50 states, book club celebrations, being an American hero in the class wax museum, studying Native American cultures, performing Aesop Fables, and service-learning projects. Weeks-long STEM projects include the marble investigation and wind power experimentations.

Third graders transition into the “intermediate grades” by taking more ownership for their learning. The creative and narrative writing process is an integrated component of the curriculum, and our Dragons develop their keyboarding and cursive skills through instruction and application. Children work cooperatively and individually on projects and experiments to explore the scientific process. Each year, third graders start a business from scratch in order to donate the profits to a charity they choose. This Business Unit ties mathematics and economics with a healthy dose of collaboration! The Family Heritage unit beautifully combines social studies, language arts, and public speaking to further broaden our students’ skillsets.

Our fourth grade’s comprehensive and interdisciplinary curriculum fosters critical thinking, curiosity, connecting learning to the world, and reflecting on the learning experience. Our Dragons gain and apply knowledge through a year-long science investigation of monthly water quality testing of our various natural water sources on campus. Complexities and frequencies of writings increase from prior years. Fourth grade studies also include invasive species of the Pacific Northwest, macroinvertebrates found in our river, in-depth analysis of the Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery and accelerated westward expansion, the biennial 4th & 5th Grade Montana Adventure, a field trip to Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge in conjunction with the cross-curricular northwest animals project, monthly book clubs, hands-on math investigations, and optional Math is Cool competitions.

Fifth grade abounds with leadership opportunities. From Student Council positions to buddy reading with primary grades to lunchroom responsibilities, fifth graders put their energy into action for the good of our school. Capstone projects are a central part of the fifth-grade curriculum and include the Living Artists Exhibit, where the students transform themselves into a famous artist, and the fifth-grade musical stage production which uses our school’s main theater. Other highlights include a canoe trip down the Little Spokane River, an Ellis Island simulation unit, bridge building as a STEM investigation, a study of the foundations and types of government (while creating their own mock country!), the biennial 4th-5th Grade Montana Adventure, and an annual ski trip. As in their prior year, these Dragons take part in new monthly book clubs, hands-on math investigations, and optional Math is Cool competitions. The fifth-grade recognition ceremony in early June caps off their Lower School years bridged with their eager anticipation of becoming part of the Middle School the next fall.

To Lower School Parents

   Letters from Rick Petrini, Head of Lower School

Rick Petrini Directory Photo