The Lower School years are years of exploration and learning. Through hands-on experiences, children are afforded the opportunity to develop socially, emotionally, physically, and intellectually. Children work in small groups and receive individual attention on a daily basis. For much of the day, the children are immersed in theme-based learning in which topics are integrated across subject areas. Because much of the curriculum is interdisciplinary, the classroom teachers plan their activities in consultation with the specialists to ensure continuity. Field trips and performances by artists, musicians, dance and theatre groups further enrich the Lower School program.
As part of their study of bears, a multidisciplinary unit in which they learn about the physical features, habitats, and behaviors of several types of bears throughout the world, Kindergarteners have a day when each student brings to school his or her favorite teddy bear. The children play games that make use of their knowledge of the bears they have studied; line up all the bears in size order; and tell the group about their special bear, an activity joined by their teachers and even Mr. Waters, the Head of School. Each child also suggests a special feature about his or her bear (Best Dressed Bear, Pinkest Bear, Biggest Bear, etc.) and receives a custom-made award for the bear, which recognizes that superlative characteristic.
The bears are left in the classrooms overnight for a "sleepover," but when the children arrive at school the next morning, they are amazed and enchanted by the sight that greets them. The bears have been having quite a time; some have climbed up onto the rafters, others are using the computers, and still others have been playing chess, having snacks, holding meetings, writing notes, reading books, playing games, and generally living it up. The scene is magical, and the children’s delight is contagious and unabashed.
The Pike School 34 Sunset Rock Road Andover, Massachusetts 01810 978-475-1197