Art, music, science lab, Spanish, Chinese, physical education, technology, chapel, and library activities are integrated into daily schedules, rounding out a curriculum that promotes independence, responsibility, moral character, and excellence in academics.
Lower School Art
The approach to art education used for grades 1-4 is called Discipline Based Art Education or D.B.A.E.. This is a method of learning about art that includes four basic areas which lead to the creation, understanding, and appreciation of art. The four areas are production (making art); criticism (responding to and making judgments about works of art); art history (gaining knowledge about the contributions artists and art make to culture and society); and aesthetics (understanding how people justify judgments about works of art). St. Andrew’s takes an interdisciplinary approach to art. An art project may include social studies, math, science, literature, music and dance, integrated in a fine art format. Art reinforces the subject area, as the subject enhances art. Click to see more.
Lower School Music
The music curriculum is an interactive program involving singing, playing, listening, moving, and creating. Much of the music program is based on the teaching principles of German composer Carl Orff, who believed that children learn best while doing. In any given music class, students might be listening to the music of the Masters, playing Orff instruments, working on songs for their plays, creating movement and action for musical stories, improvising rhythm patterns and melodies on a variety of instruments, or playing note recognition games. Third graders begin an in-depth study of the instruments of the orchestra, which carries over into fourth grade, when they begin playing recorders. St. Andrew’s also enhances studies in social studies, history, literature, and art with appropriate musical offerings. Through this interactive program, children learn a great deal about music and have fun in the process. Click to see more.
Lower School Science
Lower School science is taught as an inquiry, hands-on, earth-based program. All students are introduced to the water cycle, rock cycle, and the Earth’s tectonic forces in the first semester. During the second semester students encounter three more units: the universe; technology, also referred to as playground physics; and life cycles of animals and plants. Each grade level has its own discovery activities which build on knowledge gained the previous, creating a spiral approach to the wonders and excitement of science. Click to see more.
Lower School World Languages
Introducing Mandarin Chinese and continuing with Spanish in the Lower School, the World Languages program in the Lower School provides a fun-filled, positive learning environment in which students begin building a solid foundation in vocabulary, grammatical structures, and cultural appreciation. Students learn the language in the same way in which they learned their first language – by developing listening skills, speaking skills, and, as they enter third and fourth grades, beginning to read and write. The Spanish and Chinese curriculums often integrates with the core subjects. --To see the program in more detail, please click on the following grade level:
Lower School Library Activities
Students in first through fourth grade visit the library once a week to check out books for curriculum related work or pleasure reading. In addition to the regular visit, teachers may allow children to return individually for book selection, reading time, small group projects, or class activities. Each year, the Lower School library hosts a special guest author, illustrator, or storyteller who presents programs for all students with opportunities to purchase signed copies of their work. Students shop for books during an annual Book Fair.
Lower School Chapel
A chapel service based on the liturgy of the Episcopal Church is held every Friday morning at 8:15. The service includes music, the reading of Scripture, a brief homily by the school chaplain, and prayer. Fourth graders serve as acolytes and ensemble. All students attend chapel, and family members and friends are also welcome to attend.
In addition, all students attend chapel class with their classroom. The chapel class curriculum is loosely based on a program called Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, which encourages children to engage in the stories of our faith (does “our faith” refer to the Episcopal faith?) and to see with wonder the presence of God in the world and in their lives. Chapel class includes music, storytelling, art projects, and guided play. Click to see more.
Lower School Fitness
The St. Andrew's physical education curriculum is based on the principles of wellness. Wellness is being at one’s best possible level of health in the body, in the mind, and in relationships with others. St. Andrew’s goal is for students to enjoy P.E. and to think of wellness as a life skill. Students in every grade level attend physical education classes twice a week. The first day focuses on games, which involve movement and improve motor skills, balance, and coordination. Students also learn the foundations of sports sanctioned by the Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) of which St. Andrew’s is a member. The second day is devoted to improving the students’ general fitness and emphasizes strength, speed, endurance, and muscle balance. Most activities require the students to work in groups or teams; all activities emphasize good sportsmanship. Students learn to respect, support, and encourage one another regardless of their individual athletic abilities. Click here to see more.
Lower School Technology
Students in kindergarten through fourth grade visit the computer lab once in a six day rotation. Students progress from basic computer use to introductory web research to independent nine-week projects. Very early, students learn keyboard basics and eventually begin working on their touch typing skills. At Lower School, the emphasis is on accuracy instead of speed. Students enhance their classroom curriculum by developing multimedia presentations, class blogs, and desktop publishing projects. By fourth grade, they even dabble a bit into programming using Lego robots! Click to see more.