Lower School | K-Gr.5

Special Subjects

Special Subject classes at Severn Lower School expand imagination, intellect, character, and creativity and are key to the academic success of our students. We have specially designated spaces to enhance your child's learning experience in art, music, performing arts, Spanish, technology, library, and physical education.
Every child is an artist! Developing an aesthetic sense, taking risks with creative expression, and understanding the visual world inspires our students. Students are immersed in art experiences and activities that are designed to foster original thinking while exploring many different mediums. Pottery, 3D art, sculptures, paintings and oil pastels are some of the items that adorn the school walls and art cases. Art history, integration of grade level unit of studies and creative experiences into the classroom curriculum are also an important part of the program.

Band & Strings Ensembles
The Band and String Ensemble programs offer students opportunities to pursue their musical interests and create meaningful performance opportunities for our young musicians.

String Ensembles are offered to third, fourth, and fifth grade students. Our Beginning String Ensemble is available to students who are just starting to play a string instrument, with Advanced String Ensemble open to students who have had one year or more of lessons on their instrument. The ensembles meet separately after school.

Band Program is for students in fourth and fifth grades and meets after school twice a week. Students learn the importance of collaboration as they study and play musical compositions.

Technology and Maker Classes
Technology is an intentional and purposeful instructional tool in the Lower School. The Lower School Campus has a Maker Lab fully equipped with laptops, iPads, 3D printers, littleBits, Spheros, Beebots, and more where students are engaged in the the Design Process to explore, create, problem-solve, collaborate, communicate, and reflect to further enhance their learning. Intentional balance of having students on- and off-screen while learning the skills and applications of keyboarding, coding, word processing, graphic & digital design, engineering, and multimedia presentations is essential to supporting students in their thinking, learning, and connections to content and skills.  The technology and maker curriculum is linked to corresponding grade level academic subjects to provide meaningful connections for students.
Students in kindergarten through fifth grade visit the Maker Lab weekly for technology and maker classes taught by our technology coordinator and technology specialist.  In addition, the technology specialist visits classes weekly in students' homerooms to further support learning.  Digital citizenship is embedded into the curriculum to support students in learning their responsibility of safely using the many digital resources.  In addition to the technology resources in the Maker Lab, laptop and iPad carts are located in various classrooms and available for all classes to provide students with opportunities throughout the day to research, create, and present their learning in new ways.
For our Early School students, we are intentional that our youngest learners have very limited access to using technology at school.  While they may engage in learning activities as a class on the SMART Boards, our goal is to have Early School students participate in lessons through multiple modalities. 
As part of our Renaissance Program offered to 4th and 5th graders, students have the opportunity to produce a full theatre production from start to finish. In addition to life skills such as project management, collaboration, public speaking and teamwork, students learn theatre terms and history, basic stagecraft, movement, script and character analysis, costume, set and prop management. To support all Lower School students with these skills, in-class drama opportunities are also provided by the Lower School Drama Teacher. These opportunities include: Reader's Theater, acting out scenes from select texts, public speaking through giving prepared speeches, making presentations and more!

Heart Strings: Social & Emotional Learning
Social and emotional learning is as fundamental as academic rigor at Lower School. The Heartstrings social-emotional curriculum strengthens social responsibility by building a foundation of understanding and respect for others. Our program celebrates and appreciates people and their perspectives, addresses the social-emotional needs of the individual student, and educates the whole child by furthering important social skills.

The Lower School uses the Second Step character education program as a core instructional resource, as well as supplemental books and hands-on learning activities that support and reinforce the concepts being taught. Focused grade-level activities address age-appropriate strategies for areas such as Empathy, Problem Solving, Conflict Resolution, Mindfulness, and Bullying Prevention.

Equipped with more than 10,000 volumes, Severn’s library has something of interest for all grade levels. Our Library/Media curriculum teaches students how to use digital and print resources effectively and opens up the world of research and exploration. Classroom lessons are designed using a hands-on approach, engaging students in discovery and reflection of skills and concepts introduced. The addition of laptops and iPads has made the possibilities for exploration endless.

Rhythm, melody, dynamics, timbre, form, and style are part of the curriculum and when combined with an assortment of vocal and instrumental music from around the world – our youngest musicians are thrilled with all they are offered. Musical knowledge is developed through listening, performing, and the reading and writing of music through singing, dancing, playing instruments, speech, movement, games and drama.

Photography & Yearbook
Photography is offered to 4th and 5th grade students through our Renaissance Program. Students learn photography fundamentals, explore their creativity and create and produce the Lower School Yearbook.

Physical Education
Physical Education in the Lower School plays an important role in developing the physical skills, strengths, confidence and sportsmanship in our students. Our school facility includes a large gymnasium with a rock wall, a large outdoor sports field, outdoor basketball court and extensive natural space. In the Early School, we develop loco motor skills through a variety of units that emphasize movement, manipulative skills and small group games and activities. In the grade levels, we progress to team and individual sports that further develop a well rounded athlete, teammate and leader. Units include soccer, flag football, kickball, 4 square, parachute, pickle ball, badminton, archery, basketball, lacrosse, floor hockey, backyard games and more. This is carried out in a learning environment where students are made to feel comfortable, safe, valued and encouraged to take risks to try new activities. 

Renaissance Program for Grades 4 & 5
Our Renaissance program is offered to Fourth and Fifth Grade students as an extension of the Arts and Science programs, with selection based on student choice. Science programming includes the full STEM offerings including Robotics, Rockets, Bridges, Renewable Energy K’Nex building and Design Squad engineering challenges. The Arts programs include Advanced Art, Photography, Yearbook, and Drama.

Since young learners have an aptitude for language, we start the introduction to Spanish in Preschool and continue in each elementary grade. Beginning with songs and games, children progress to writing, reading and conversational Spanish. Cultural highlights are woven into the curriculum, which is coordinated with grade level curriculum.

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