basis of future learning
The habits formed in lower school are the basis of future learning. Many Hill students have struggled to reach academic benchmarks in their previous settings, and the lower school emphasis on remediation of skills is an important cornerstone of the program. The identification of missing skills, re-teaching these skills or pre-teaching new material toward grade-level expectations is central to future success.
Learning in Lower School—Kindergarten through Grade 5—emphasizes the building blocks for future academic success. Along with daily PE class, there are two recess periods a day for the youngest learners, as we recognize the importance of exercising the mind and the body.
Building blocks include:
awareness of and the ability to manipulate the building blocks for reading
the ability to
learning the elements of sharing and conflict resolution
lower school focus
Language and Reading
Addressing the struggles that come with dyslexia and/or ADHD, such as grasping certain aspects of the language, is the core focus of the Lower School academic program. Much of our daily schedule is devoted to language arts instruction.
Lower school faculty members have completed comprehensive training in the Orton-Gillingham multi-sensory instructional approach for reading, which enables them to target student decoding and comprehension skills while providing meaningful, progress-focused instruction. Entry-level reading groups focus exclusively on decoding skills and phonological awareness to build foundational reading skills and fluency for later learning. More advanced groups integrate sentence, paragraph, and textual comprehension strategies in addition to continued work on fluency.
While Hill’s Lower School classes are much smaller than a traditional class (no more than 6 in our kindergarten class and typically 8-10 students in grades 1-5), the learning experience is still socially structured as students work in groups and collaborate with others during the day.
Developmentally, lower school students expand their social repertoire dramatically as a focus on others and how to interact becomes more essential. The small setting and close connections formed with lower school teachers facilitate the acquisition of these skills in a safe environment.