In the Lower School, best teaching practices and twenty-first century technology combine to create an environment that celebrates the joy of learning for students in Junior Kindergarten through Fifth Grade.
During these most formative years, we strive to develop the unique gifts and talents of each of our students. Our dedicated and talented teachers create an environment that promotes meaningful learning through exploration, collaboration, and innovation. In the Lower School, we work hard to instill a love of learning.
Reading, writing, and critical thinking skills play a prominent role in our rigorous curriculum. Additionally, special area classes such as music, art, science, Spanish, technology, and library are incorporated into our core curriculum and allow our students to experience success in many different areas.
In the Lower School, we believe in celebrating childhood and all of the moments that make it so special.
Our Junior Kindergarten program emphasizes the development of cooperation, independence, and the child’s innate love of learning while building a strong foundation for their future at Brookwood School. We utilize Lego Education, Letter People, and the Happily Ever After reading program as a stepping-stone for the SuperKids program used in Kindergarten through Second Grade. Our students also benefit from many special areas of instruction: art, music, Spanish, physical education, library, and technology—all within a half-day program. Our hands-on activities promote learning through play, which creates a happy and positive first year at Brookwood.
Our Kindergarten program offers a strong academic curriculum in an enjoyable and nurturing environment. The SuperKids language arts curriculum facilitates optimum development of each child’s emergent reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. The Everyday Math program’s spiraling curriculum and hands-on activities offer an opportunity for every child to progress to his or her potential. A low student-teacher ratio allows teachers to provide individual attention to ensure maximum development of the whole child academically, physically, spiritually, and socially. The Kindergarten year includes music, art, Spanish, technology, physical education, and literary special areas.
First Grade involves an exciting, fast-paced, and engaging instructional process that builds on skills and knowledge learned in Junior Kindergarten and Kindergarten. We provide a strong foundation for successful reading, focusing on instruction in systematic phonics, fluency, and comprehension. First grade is also a year for discovery of the numbers around us. We provide a balanced curriculum by offering daily devotions and special area classes in science, art, music, Spanish, technology, library, and physical education, as well as various after school programs and summer camps. We include and encourage hands-on activities, critical thinking, and the use of creativity to ensure the development of the whole child.
In Second Grade, students learn to work more independently and be responsible for daily assignments. They are introduced to more sophisticated elements of the writing process, including planning, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing. Daily math computations, word problems, telling time, and counting money are refined, as are team building and collaboration in all subject areas as students learn to respect and value each other.
Third Grade curriculum encourages critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, and problem solving in all academic areas. Differentiated instruction allows for every kind of learner to develop his or her academic progress using varied strategies specifically designed for individual learning needs. Special area classes such as music, art, science, Spanish, technology, and library are incorporated into the core curriculum to allow students to explore and discover new gifts and talents. Cursive writing is taught and used throughout third grade.
Students in Fourth Grade work through an accelerated Everyday Math curriculum, which is designed to build a strong foundation in computation as well as provide the higher order thinking skills necessary for complex problem solving. Fourth graders read a variety of literature, poetry, journalism, and non-fiction to become discerning and versatile readers. Strategies are taught which allow them to derive meaning and gain deeper comprehension in all content areas. Writing assignments in the language arts program utilize and hone grammar, vocabulary, and spelling. Students are also immersed in technology throughout the day through a one-to-one iPad initiative.
Fifth Grade curriculum includes focused preparation for Middle School. Students are challenged to think critically while working in groups and independently. An advanced math curriculum allows students to excel, while work in social studies takes them from our nation’s founding through World War II. In language arts, students are taught to identify intermediate strategies in reading and writing. Students are also immersed in science, music, technology, library, Spanish, physical education, and art.
In first through fifth grades, science classes provide a springboard for our STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) program. This program enhances the existing inquiry-based curriculum by offering more connections to the real world by elevating critical thinking and problem solving and increasing students’ awareness of career opportunities and connections. The STEAM Lab is equipped with state-of-the-art learning materials, including Pitsco Missions (engaging hands-on STEAM activities), textbooks, iPads, MacBooks, and LEGO Education simple machines and robotics. Robotics education begins in third grade with the LEGO Education WEDO series, and fifth graders are challenged with LEGO Education’s MINDSTORM Activity Packs.
The Williams-Parker Library provides a space where students are encouraged to cultivate a love for lifelong reading and learning through both browsing and pleasure reading and reference and research instruction. Junior Kindergarten through Fifth Grade classes visit the library weekly. Book talks, a visiting authors program, and the acquisition of curriculum-centered books with student appeal are in place to encourage reading throughout the year. Access to information is offered in a variety of formats to meet educational and recreational needs.
The Lower School Spanish Program focuses on an early start to the four basic language skills: speaking, listening, reading, and writing. It seeks to expand student horizons by inspiring an enthusiasm for foreign language study and appreciation for other cultures. Program content is linked to the school’s curriculum and expectations. Thematic and interdisciplinary units incorporating art, music, science, geography, math, and technology further extend learning and appreciation for the language. Each class is student-centered and students are encouraged to participate in a variety of activities to promote daily practice of Spanish inside and outside of the classroom.
All classes in the Brookwood Lower School receive general music instruction two times per week. The experience includes a full complement of melody percussion and untuned percussion instruments, experiences in rhythm, melody, harmony, form, and expressive qualities with the goal of giving students the tools needed to perform, create, and listen to music with understanding. The Lower School music program also provides opportunities for students to work cooperatively and actively in a performance setting with each grade level presenting an onstage production.
Brookwood’s Lower School Art program embraces National Visual Arts Standards as the guidelines for encouraging students to achieve visual literacy and develop artistic skill through work in varied media. Using lessons based upon art history and culture, from ancient to modern, as well as the work of specific artists, line, form, shape, value, space, texture, and color are taught, and the principles of design are introduced and developed from Junior Kindergarten through Fifth Grade.
Students are given the opportunity to showcase their artwork through several local exhibits and contests during the school year. Lower School students are often asked to create unique art projects for in-house special events throughout the year.
The physical education program in the Lower School aligns with the philosophy and the mission of the school, particularly in the development of the whole child, socially and physically. PE at Brookwood seeks to capitalize on each child’s strengths, and is success-oriented in order to foster a healthy self-concept. Leadership and responsibility are stressed through problem solving approaches to learning, cooperation through teamwork, and good sportsmanship. Physical education curriculum promotes optimum physical, mental, emotional, and social development through a program of fundamental skills in movement, sport, recreational activity, rhythm, and dance.
Children learn in many different ways. Brookwood ARC staff understand and address the ways in which each child learns differently in order to help them become successful, independent learners as they pursue the school’s rigorous college preparatory curriculum.
After School for Kids (ASK)
The Brookwood After School Kids (ASK) program provides quality on-campus child care from 2:50 to 6 p.m. daily. ASK is for students in Junior Kindergarten to Fifth Grade, who may come Monday through Friday or drop in as needed. Brookwood provides a snack for each student daily, and staff encourage students to finish homework and seek any needed assistance. ASK students may enjoy playground time while outside or center time and movies while indoors.
Junior Kindergarten Afternoon Program
We offer a flexible extended day program Monday through Friday to meet the day-to-day needs of our families. The program is available from 12:00 until 3:00 p.m. to Junior Kindergarten students. Students have the option to stay on an hourly as needed, daily, or weekly basis, with the option of bringing a lunch from home or purchasing a lunch through our meal program. Our after school program provides a safe and supervised environment in a familiar setting, where students have the opportunity to interact with children in the other Junior Kindergarten class and engage in enrichment activities.