At Sayre, we believe that Lower School curriculum should be rigorous, engaging, and taught in a way that introduces new information in a context that is relevant to children’s lives. Our goal is for our students to develop both concrete academic skills as well as the competence to apply these skills in meaningful ways. Our experienced and talented teachers work collaboratively to weave rich, integrated curriculum which cultivates our students’ interests and engagement with the world around them.
Our core academic areas for Kindergarten through 5th grade include the following subject areas:
The University of Chicago Everyday Mathematics Program, which is a research-based curriculum that emphasizes the application of mathematics to real world situations, is the heart of our mathematics curriculum. This curriculum takes a spiraling approach, providing repeated exposure to concepts through games and manipulatives, frequent practice of basic skills, and the use of a variety of methods and algorithms to strengthen students’ conceptual understandings, problem solving and fundamental math skills. Mathematical concepts are not presented in isolation, but are linked to situations and contexts that are relevant to our everyday lives. The curriculum is continually differentiated based upon individual strengths and needs. In addition to our structured curriculum, teachers capitalize on the “teachable” moments that emerge across the curriculum and throughout the day to solidify children’s understandings of mathematical concepts in real life context. We certainly do believe that math can be fun!
The ability to read, write, and communicate clearly is critical to academic and life success. We believe that early and regular interaction with text, the joyful experience of reading and writing for pleasure from an early age, and the study of literature develop creative and critical thinking abilities and foster an understanding of forces that help shape our lives. Beginning in preschool, our teachers build children’s early literacy skills by providing opportunities for children to develop their phonemic awareness skills and to gain practice with the symbols that make up our alphabet. Young children are supported in using their emergent writing skills to express their ideas and are encouraged to find delight in the rhythms and stories found in good books. In kindergarten through fifth grade, students have opportunities for daily practice in reading and writing. Using a blended approach, which combines a structured, explicit curriculum that systematically ensures that children receive instruction in the basic skills of reading and writing, with a philosophy that ensures that these skills are used and practiced in the context of children’s meaningful attempts to compose written text as well as the reading of quality literature, our program immerses children in literacy. Our classrooms hum as students read and write across the curriculum all day long.
In a complex and ever changing world, scientific concepts and practices are central to our ability to adapt, innovate, and think critically. Aligned with national standards, Sayre Lower School’s science curriculum strives to produce scientifically engaged and literate students who can use scientific processes and principles to make decisions and engage in intelligent discourse. In the Lower School, students in preschool through 1st grade study science in their classrooms as a part of broader projects or thematic units. Beginning in 2nd grade, the students are taught general science in a laboratory setting while the integration of science content throughout the curriculum continues in the classroom. Our curriculum helps students develop an understanding of the four disciplinary core ideas: physical sciences; life sciences; earth and space sciences; as well as engineering and technology. Students demonstrate their proficiency by using models, planning and carrying out investigations, analyzing and interpreting data, and engaging in argument from evidence in order to evaluate and communicate relevant information. Students are given the opportunity to experience phenomena first and are then tasked with modeling and explaining what they have observed as they work towards understanding the world around them. Environmental education and sustainability are areas of focus and the Sayre Farm is a frequent destination for our science classes as they take ecological field trips to study the natural world right around us here in Kentucky. Our science program values children’s own thinking, encourages hands-on exploration, and delights in the sense of wonder that comes from experiencing scientific phenomena up close and in person!
Developing a greater appreciation for the people of the world and themselves, Lower School students pursue a wide variety of concepts, ideas, and content in the social sciences beginning at an early age. Using a four domain framework of civics, geography, history and economics, units of study across all grade levels are integrated across disciplines, intertwine with project-based learning, and often end in an interactive, culminating event. Our social studies curriculum supports children in developing a strong sense of self in relation to their community and helps children to see their role in our multicultural world. Students demonstrate knowledge of social studies content through writing, replication of artifacts, creation of maps, virtual simulations, research projects and presentations, culinary experiences, and performances.
Lower School students have the opportunity to take both Spanish and French during their preschool and elementary years. Sayre empowers students to explore, comprehend and appreciate cultures and languages as curious and empathetic world citizens. Students are engaged in an active learning process in developing cultural competency and language proficiency for interpersonal, interpretive and presentational communication. The thoughtful use of authentic materials, the target language, and existing and emerging technologies, guides students towards building both language and general literacy skills.