Preschool (Little Lukers, Pre-Kindergarten, & Junior Kindergarten)
At Miss Lee’s we believe that ‘play is the work of the child.’
How do preschool children learn through play?
Play is intuitive. Through play, children learn language, mannerisms and meaning. They learn how to read faces, learn about themselves and their families, learn what makes someone happy or sad, and what place they occupy in the world.
Through play, oral language development flourishes. Play that occurs in a rich language environment at school and at home helps the child make connections to print and leads the child to search for meaning regarding print. This search leads children to books and print and to a desire to master the alphabetic code.
Through play, children begin to apply the basic math principles of numeracy that are intentionally woven into our curriculum. Counting, measuring, and 1:1 correspondence are important early math concepts in Preschool. Our teachers choose real ways to incorporate math objectives into the day so that they are placed in a meaningful context for young children.
Through play, young children begin to learn social and emotional skills. Empathy is modeled through stories, puppets and plays, which encourage negotiation and problem solving in social situations. By giving support when dealing with social-emotional issues, a child learns to be part of a larger community.
Through play, children practice questioning and inquiry. Children wonder, investigate, innovate, and experiment much as adults do in a bio-lab or an ad agency or technology company. In the block area, children are often heard asking other children who have had success at making their bridge stay up, 'How did you do that?' Children at easels who are mixing paints will ask another child to show them how they made that color or created that pattern.
Through play, children are given two weekly opportunities to learn and use a second language - Spanish. Our Spanish teacher uses one session a week to introduce a new concept to a class, and one session as an immersion lesson in which they play in small groups and only speak Spanish.
While play is our focus in the Preschool, children are not left to their own devices, nor is their development left to chance. Teachers skillfully weave in academic goals and objectives and build on what children can do and challenge them to try new things. Using play to reach our academic goals allows us to help our students become lifelong successful learners.
In Little Lukers and Pre-Kindergarten, our youngest students are introduced to school life at GSL. Our focus is social and emotional growth, and learning how to be a friend, how to be part of a group, and how to care for one’s self are central concepts. Our days are filled with meaningful play, giving students opportunities to explore art, music, literacy, math, science, and social studies at their developmental level. Spanish, Fun and Fitness, and trips to the school Library supplement classroom activities.
In Junior Kindergarten, we build on the social development focus implemented in prekindergarten, with an emphasis on cooperation, independence, and responsibility. We also introduce the Open Court Literacy and Handwriting Without Tears curriculum programs to build foundational reading and writing skills. Thematic units that emphasize literacy, mathematics, science, and social studies fill our days with learning. In addition to Spanish, Fun and Fitness, and trips to the school library, JK students also enjoy a supplemental Music class.
Lower School ( Grades SK-4)
Literacy development that began in Preschool is continued throughout the Lower School utilizing the SRA/McGraw-Hill Imagine It! language arts and reading curriculum. In addition, teachers supplement curriculum materials with the use of trade books and other resources to teach reading and language arts skills. Handwriting is taught following the Handwriting Without Tears method. Teachers lead students in a variety of constructs designed to increase reading fluency and comprehension: direct, explicit, sequential instruction, a combined phonics and whole-language approach, decodable books, partner reading, responding creatively to literature, and of course, reading for pleasure. Cursive writing is introduced in second grade with mastery by the end of third grade. Formal keyboarding instruction through UltraKey begins in third grade.
With a focus on real-life application, math instruction is based on the Everyday Mathematics curriculum published by the University of Chicago. This curriculum features numerous hands-on activities using a variety of manipulatives and fun games. GSL also utilizes IXL, an online math program, which assesses a student's understanding as they practice and generates detailed performance reports to give teachers insight into a students’s abilities. IXL allows teachers to differentiate math assignments based on ability and offers algorithmically generated questions, real-time analytical reports, and dynamic scoring to encourage mastery.
The FOSS (Full Option Science System) curriculum breaks the mold of traditional instruction, offering a discovery-based approach to learning about science by doing science.
Our social studies curriculum helps students gain awareness of the increasingly global world in which we live. While students are learning about the United States and foreign countries and studying the continents, they will also be developing the 21st century skills needed for them to become relevant and productive citizens of the larger community. Each unit of study will finish with a culminating experience aimed at pulling students’ learning together.
Students attend co-curricular subjects with trained teachers in the disciplines of art, music, science, computer, library, Spanish, and physical education.
Character development is a part of everyday life at GSL, and intentionally taught through weekly chapel "Tips for a Happy Life" talks based on the Middle School’s Traits for Success program.
Middle School: Grades 5-8
Students take English, history, science, mathematics (pre-algebra and algebra), foreign language (Latin or Spanish), physical education and performing arts (see list by grade below*).
Language arts study transitions from Lower School to 5th grade with a continuation of Imagine It! and Wordly Wise. In 6th grade, English becomes a literature-based program, using the Holt Reader and Vocabulary Workshop as the main texts for instruction. The English curriculum includes vocabulary development, spelling, grammar, creative and expository writing, and literature.
Math transitions from the Everyday Math to a traditional math program that leads into pre-algebra, algebra, and geometry for 7th and 8th grade. Science is based on Glencoe texts, with weekly experiments in two brand-new science labs for hands-on experience. The school's new greenhouse will be another venue for experimentation and research.
Students continue Spanish in 5th and 6th grade; in 7th they choose to continue on with Spanish or begin Latin for the final two years of Middle School. The 7th and 8th grade language courses provide the rough equivalent of a 1st year high school course, so graduating students may potentially begin their foreign language at Level 2 when they begin high school.
Grace-St. Luke's provides laptop computers on mobile carts for use in the Middle School classrooms. These computers operate within the school's wireless network. There are additional desktop computers available for student use in the classrooms and in the school library. Students in Middle School are taught keyboarding, word processing and other computer literacy skills, so that by the time they graduate they are comfortably interacting with today's technology on a daily basis.
As an Episcopal School, Grace-St. Luke’s has a special religion curriculum for Middle School that enables students to apply Biblical and spiritual values fostered in the Lower School to circumstances of contemporary life. Bible is taught in sixth grade, World Religions in seventh, and Ethics in eighth. Additionally, students learn about character through the Middle School’s Traits for Success program that focuses on core values applicable in school and life. Students are encouraged to develop an appreciation of values important to them and to grow in understanding their own faith.
Science: Earth Science
Trimester Rotation: Visual Arts, Performing Arts, and Computer
Pre-Algebra or Algebra
Latin 1A or Spanish 1A
American History to Civil War
Science: Life Science
Trimester Rotation: Visual Arts, Performing Arts, and World Religions
Algebra 1A, Algebra 1, Honors Algebra, or Geometry
Latin 1B or Spanish 1B
American History since Civil War
Science: Physical Science and Chemistry
Trimester Rotation: Visual Arts, Performing Arts, and Ethics