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 work with words on the individual word level by exploring phonics, word recognition, and spelling patterns. Multi-sensory grammar instruction grows readers and writers with instruction about parts of speech. Students put these skills together in their Reading and Writing Workshops where they work individually, with peers, and with their teachers. They read books at “just right” levels and grow through group and individual conferences with their teachers. Students develop writing skills through participation in Writing Workshop during which they experience partner work, individual conferences with teachers, and time for independent writing. They apply reading strategies, including context clues, letter and sound relationships, word patterns, vocabulary development and sentence structures.
Lower Elementary Teachers use the Everyday Math Scope and Sequences to guide their instruction and supplement with a variety of resources. Growing out of the University of Chicago Mathematics Project, Everyday Math encourages students to be flexible thinkers and creative problem solvers as it requires students to explain their thinking. 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. Students also participate in extra math fact fluency practice. They gain a deep conceptual understanding of numbers and practice facts in a purposeful way. From cards, games, and online resources students engage in meaningful activities to grow their fact fluency.
Our science curriculum in Lower Elementary introduces students to Earth, Physical, and Life Science through hands-on learning activities and nonfiction reading and writing. Fay Students learn to observe, experiment, and record in the best laboratory in the world: our green campus. Each grade participates in at least one science unit each year that is centered on the plants and animals who live here. From our Fay Farm to our Forest there are many opportunities to explore dig into Science.
Our Social Studies curriculum 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 and identify people who work at a school. Second Grade's focus is Our Community and Beyond. Students obtain 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.
The Lower Elementary music curriculum focuses on helping students cultivate their music reading skills and expand their knowledge of music history. Students continue to develop their level of expertise in playing both unpitched and pitched percussion instruments in the classroom Orff ensemble. We also guide students in the areas of vocal technique and sight-singing, using the Kodaly method. We especially focus on music experimentation so that our students develop the skill of creative musical freedom. Our primary goal is to enhance the music-making experience for each student.
Each grade level has the opportunity to develop their inner creative genius with the tools they are given in class so that they can use music in any future setting they encounter as leaders.
The Fay School's Lower Elementary 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.
Lower Elementary 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 showcase 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 (P.E.), 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 the 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 focusing on the development of speaking vocabulary and appreciation of Spanish culture. The use of props, toys, motions, song, and storytelling with student actors is 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 individual 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.