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Lower Elementary School (K-2nd) Courses

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Lower Elementary School (K-2nd) Courses

Please find detailed information about each of the subject areas students in grades Kindergarten through Second Grade are enrolled in. With lead teachers for all of these subject areas, The Fay School puts great emphasis on ensuring a well-rounded education for each student.

Lower Elementary (K-2 Division) students experience a balanced literacy approach to language arts that includes reading, writing, spelling, grammar, and phonics.  Students read books at “just right” levels. They apply reading strategies, which include context clues, letter and sound relationships, word patterns, vocabulary development and sentence structures. Students also work with words on the individual word level by exploring phonics, instant word recognition, and reliable reading and spelling patterns. Multi-sensory grammar instruction further develops the reader and writer with the parts of speech in both oral and written form. Students develop writing skills through participation in writing workshop during which they experience partner work, individual conferences with teachers and time for independent writing.


Everyday Mathematics comes from the University of Chicago Mathematics Project and provides research-based best practices and hands-on activities to ensure that all students have an opportunity to succeed. This program encourages students to be creative problem solvers and flexible thinkers, and it requires students to explain and discuss their mathematical thinking in their own words.  The five domains taught in Everyday Mathematics include: operations and algebraic thinking, number and operations in base-ten, number and operations in fractions, measurement and data, and geometry.  In the lower elementary grades, students focus on four lesson types for each unit: regular, explorations, open response and reengagements, and progress checks. The regular lesson includes differentiation options, mental math exercises, instructional activities, and practice skills. Exploration lessons give the student three opportunities to explore concepts and math tools. The open response and reengagement lessons present the students the opportunity to solve a challenging problem using multiple strategies and defend their reasoning. Each unit ends with progress check assessments.

In Lower Elementary, the science curriculum is A Closer Look, an inquiring based program. Students will be introduced to multiple areas of science information. Through engagement lessons, exploration activities, extension to other curriculum areas, and evaluation checks, the science program is strong in developing a depth of conceptual understanding. Focus areas include: Life Science, Earth Science, and Physical Science. The students use scientific vocabulary in their writing as they support hypotheses and complete observations.

The Social Studies Alive program promotes increased awareness of self, family, community, country, and the globe. The Kindergarten focus is Me and My World as they explore the relationships with families, friends, teachers, and neighbors. Students learn that people live differently in different places and that they can help care for the world. In first grade, students study My School and Family as they learn the structures of schools and families. Students learn how to get along with classmates, follow The Fay Code, and identify people who work at a school. Second graders focus is Our Community and Beyond. Students obtain an awareness about the local and global communities in which they live. They learn the fundamentals of geography and explore different cultures and public service roles.

Our Lower Elementary music curriculum engages students in singing, dancing and instrument playing activities. Through creative movement, students are also exposed to the major works of classical composers throughout history and develop an appreciation for all styles of music.

Each grade level has the opportunity to present a staged musical program. These shows are a beloved Fay tradition and provide many fond memories. 

The Fay School's K-2nd art curriculum encourages inventive thinking, creative problem solving, visual awareness, as well as intellectual, social, and emotional development. We consider every student an artist and cultivate innate creativity and curiosity with hands-on exploration of art materials, as well as self-reflection during art making.

K-2nd art focuses on age-appropriate assignments, guided experimentation, group demonstrations, and one-on-one instruction. All Fay School art students use a variety of materials, tools, and techniques as they develop individual expression, focus, and a strong work ethic.

The Fay School art program allows children to engage in the creative process, take risks, solve problems, and develop insights. Their ideas take shape in a finished work of art. The Fay School is constantly changing exhibitions in several spaces throughout the campus to show case student work.

Our goal is to provide a supportive studio environment where students can visually express themselves and experiment with a variety of processes and techniques such as drawing, painting, collage, printmaking, and sculpture. As students move through the grades, they engage in deeper and more elaborate understandings of materials, processes, and techniques.

In Lower Elementary Physical Education, we begin by emphasizing safe and precise movement in open space. Throughout the year, we continue to incorporate these movements, galloping, skipping, hopping, and jogging, into our warm-ups and class games. As the year progresses, we work with the students on advanced skill acquisition, reiterating the importance of correct technique and form. In our throwing and catching unit, the students work on keeping a high elbow while stepping with the opposite foot. In catching, we work on providing a target and tracking the ball. In our soccer unit, students develop dribbling, passing, and ball control skills. During our volleyball unit, we focus on moving to the ball and using correct passing form. Along with spatial awareness and skill development throughout our units, we consistently accentuate the importance of playing cooperatively, playing honestly, and playing as a team. 

The Spanish program develops in Lower Elementary. Giving as much comprehensible input as possible is still the goal in students acquiring the language. The use of props, toys, motions, song, and storytelling with student actors is still prominent in the students’ ability to acquire the language while they become more comfortable with giving and sharing responses in Spanish. 

The Wolf Library serves our Lower Elementary students, as well as their parents and teachers. We have over 15,000 volumes of books and aim to provide a collection that meets the needs of our students, all while promoting a love of reading. Students are taught basic library skills as well as becoming familiar with outstanding fiction and non-fiction books. Online databases give students and their families access to encyclopedias, periodicals, and even animated picture books for beginning readers.  Author visits enrich their learning and are usually coordinated with the Book Fair.  

At The Fay School, our students learn to be good consumers and discerners of information. We provide an interactive and safe environment with cutting edge, age-appropriate technology to enhance learning in a digital world. Technology is a daily part of classroom instruction and is integrated in a forward-thinking and innovative way. This prepares our students to have independent and collaborative experiences through the consumption of digital resources for instruction, research, production, and assessment.

In Lower Elementary, the focus in technology is on introducing students to core skills, applications, and digital safety necessary for the effective use of technology. These skills are introduced during computer class and reinforced through extensive technology integration. Each Lower Elementary classroom is equipped with a set of iPads and an interactive SmartBoard. Skills learned in the computer class enhance the curriculum and prepare students for Upper Elementary. 


The Engineering Program strengthens reasoning and sparks curiosity. We know that kids are natural-born engineers. Our MakerSpace provides our students with the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of the Engineering Design Process. Students solve real-world problems through hands-on activities that are discovery-based, enjoyable and creative. Research shows us that engineering activities, in a collaborative learning environment, help build classroom equity. This inclusive educational opportunity nurtures a lifelong love of learning.