Learn. Discover. Together.
Igniting a Love of Learning
The Lower School years encompass a step-by-step journey of transformational growth as children move from Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 4. Lower School students partner with expert teachers in active learning, which engages their natural curiosity and develops a strong academic foundation. Students discover a love of literacy as they advance from learning to read to reading to learn. They practice expressing their ideas clearly in speaking, in writing, and through creative outlets. Students explore science, numbers, technology, and culture, asking questions and listening carefully as they build an understanding of the world and their place within it.
Students learn best when they are engaged and active, when they feel they belong, and when they are challenged just the right amount.
Our invigorating and supportive program recognizes each learner’s unique timetable and needs. The measure of success is in the ongoing process rather than the finished product. In a joyful and nurturing environment, students love learning. Teachers and parents/guardians view each other as partners, and they communicate regularly to know, support, and nurture each child.
Small class sizes and a uniquely low overall student to teacher ratio of 6:1 in Pre-Kindergarten and 9:1 in Grades K-4
In homerooms, lead teachers and assistant teachers collaborate to build a strong learning community and deliver instruction based in math, social studies, and language arts. In their “specials,” students discover music, creative art, science, physical education, computer science, library, and, beginning in second grade, French or Spanish. Each year, students engage in projects that cross disciplines, using their learning from multiple subjects to solve a problem or create a project, deepening their understanding and interest. Study skills, metacognition (learning how to learn), and developing a growth mindset are taught at all levels and across all areas as students learn to listen actively, organize their work, and manage their time.
Cultivating Character in a Caring Community
Ask any RCDS Lower Schooler what “CARES” stands for, and they will tell you:
Lower School teachers are trained in the Responsive Classroom philosophy, which provides a consistent toolkit and vocabulary for the social-emotional learning strategies they teach and model every day. What does this look like? Each day begins with a morning meeting in which students and teachers greet each other, share something important about themselves, practice social-emotional strategies and skills, and preview the day ahead. Each classroom in the Lower School features a “peace corner,” and our students and teachers regularly practice evidence-based mindfulness strategies. Our report cards and parent-teacher conferences review academic progress as well as social-emotional and real world competency development.