Lower School includes students from Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 5. All classes are small, with teacher-pupil ratios below 15:1 in the lower grades, encouraging individual growth. Each class has a Homeroom teacher responsible for the pastoral care of students, and who keeps in close contact with parents. Homeroom classes meet daily, and are taught in their core subjects by the homeroom teachers, with other classes taught by specialist teachers.
There is much collaboration between your child’s homeroom teacher and the specialist teacher to ensure that topics of study are integrated into a variety of disciplines such as Art, Music, and Computer Studies.
The Brent curricula are revised regularly to ensure that we are up to date with new research and approaches to teaching and learning worldwide.
Children who will be five years old by December of the year of application are eligible for entry to the Kindergarten program. Objectives include the development of social and emotional behavior and an introduction to the formal school curriculum in the foundations of language, literacy and numeracy. The Kindergarten classes end at 2:30pm daily.
The Language Arts program develops literacy skills of reading, listening, speaking and writing skills through varied classroom activities which link and integrate these through a range of processes, including performance, research, guided activities and classroom teaching. Reading and spelling programs operate from Kindergarten to Grade 5, allowing students to be assessed at a particular level then receive individual assistance to allow them to progress at their own pace. This focus on individual needs allows teachers to teach, assess and report more accurately on student progress. Students are exposed to a variety of literature forms, improving their comprehension skills and encouraging the application of the techniques of writing and grammar in context. Library periods are regular features. In addition, students who are reading at a more advanced level, study short novels and complete individual book reports. All students learn to respond and use oral and written language effectively in a range of contexts.
The Math program in the Lower School is designed to help students see the subject as an integral, interesting part of everyday life. The program is a careful progression of concepts and skills that help students relate the concrete to the abstract. The numeracy concepts and skills of problem solving, estimation, basic operations, place value, time, money, measurements, decimals, fractions, rounding, handling and graphing data using expressions and the study of geometry and algebra are covered between Kindergarten and Gr. 5. The approach to all topics is investigative and emphasizes mastering basics, using and applying Mathematic strategies, communicating mathematically and reasoning.
Science is divided into four main categories, each of which is covered in a carefully planned cycle of learning throughout the elementary years. Life Sciences teach about living things and ecology; Physical Science covers the properties of matter and energy; Earth Science covers space, earth and weather. Each grade builds on previous work. Laboratory work is important and other practical work takes place on our campus. The scientific method is integrated in all units of work. The annual Science Fair gives students an opportunity to demonstrate their understanding and application of the scientific method is a practical investigation.
These courses aim to integrate a number of subject areas through the philosophy of encouraging students to be good custodians of our Earth and responsible members of society. The approach is broad. Research and discovery are encouraged and critical-thought is highly valued.
Each course focuses attention on a key question then uses a strand in Social Studies (Social Organization, Place and Environment, Time, Continuity and Change or Resources and Economic Activities) to cover the topic in depth. Most units result in the production of concrete materials such as projects, models or written reports.
Courses in the early years aim to guide the students through Bible stories to teaching about God and his creation, Jesus, as Son of God, an understanding of the Bible, and the sacraments of Baptism and Communion. The material studied becomes broader in scope and context through the grades, reflecting student’s growing understanding.
Art is a very important means of encouraging personal expression, developing fine motor skills and learning an appreciation of a key means of communication. Key techniques taught in the Lower School include: principles and elements of Art, color, line, texture shape, perspective and composition. These essential elements are taught through units of study on drawing, painting, printing and sculpture. Throughout the learning of skills great emphasis is placed on the cognitive aspects: thinking outside the box, free expression, ‘seeing rather than looking’, and creativity. Students, just as importantly, have fun in our well-equipped Art room!
Physical Education and Health
Physical education aims to develop a positive outlook in students by raising their fitness levels, physical skills and attitudes. They learn skills across a wide range of sports and activities to enable them to participate safely and competently in a variety of modified sports, some of which form part of the regular House Activities structure. Fair play and leadership are emphasized. The P.E. program is supported by Health Studies, with students learning about cooperation, physical health, the human body, and how we care for it and ourselves.
Elementary music introduces the basic concepts of speech, rhythm, melody, harmony, texture, and time. Various instruments and styles of music are introduced. Class work includes singing, improvisations, instrumental experiences and game playing. Individual tutorials are also available in many instruments. Opportunities are available for solo and group performances, particularly through school productions and recitals.
Information and Computer Technology
ICT is taught as a separate subject, but is also incorporated in all core subject areas as students transfer knowledge and skills from ICT to other classes. Students begin with mouse control and drawing progressing through word processing and graphics, with research as an integral part of the course. Computers are available in three dedicated computer suites, with the two main labs open after school to allow research and production opportunities to students.
English as a Second Language (ESL)
ESL students in K – Grade 1 at all levels are fully integrated in all their classes, as we believe that at a young age, students learn best through full immersion in a new language environment. Beginning at grade 1, student progress is checked twice a year to ensure that individual language skills are developing.
For Grades 2 – 5, specialized classes are provided in lieu of the mainstreamed language Arts class. In other mainstream classes, the subject teacher provides various types of accommodations to ESL students. Beginner level students will also have extra pull out sessions to increase their conversational English confidence. There is an expectation that ESL students exit the ESL program after two-three