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LOWER SCHOOL

Special Subjects

Ursuline Academy provides your Lower School learner with a variety of special subject classes to increase academic achievement and give opportunities for self-discovery in cultural, artistic, and athletic fields. Your child also has the opportunity to participate and compete in Science Olympiad, Geography Bee, Spelling Bee, and Speech competitions at the Lower School level. These offerings help shape your child’s personal interests both in and out of the classroom, creating a well-rounded and balanced student.

World Language and Culture
Promoting greater cultural awareness through our Global Education Curriculum, our Lower School offers both Spanish and Chinese Language and Culture courses for your child. Our Spanish Language Program prepares your child for dual language fluency, and our Chinese Language Program exposes students to the Chinese Language by focusing on the Chinese Romanization system, the phonetic transcription of Chinese Language.

Our Primary Program develops the foundation set in Early Childhood and creates culturally aware young learners who better understand our global society. Our first grade curriculum focuses on recognition of and response to greetings, calendar activities, numbers 0 – 25, colors, shapes and sizes, positional words, names of immediate family members, feelings, parts of the body, animals, religious holidays, and cultural traditions. Our second grade curriculum builds on your child’s vocabulary foundation, introduces food and household vocabulary and the alphabet, and increases conversational proficiency in both languages. To round out our primary world language curriculum, your third grader develops cohesive thoughts and simple sentences in both languages, furthering vocabulary and writing comprehension. Incorporating the Spanish and Chinese language into your child’s primary program study enables your child to not only foster an appreciation of another culture but also increases your child’s English reading comprehension through Latin-based root words in Spanish and writing comprehension and fine motor development through the creation of Chinese symbols and scripts.

At our Intermediate Level, your child builds on the world language base set in grades 1 – 3 and focuses on developing conversational and grammatical proficiency through advanced sentence composition, varied verb tense usage, and deeper vocabulary exposure in both grades 4 and 5. To enhance the language aspects of our classes, our teachers also explore the different cultures and locations of both Spanish- and Chinese- speaking countries to provide your child a more comprehensive world view. Exposure to these two vital and unique languages at an early age gives our students the advanced aptitude to not only progress to fluency in Spanish and Chinese but increases their English writing and reading comprehension and the probability of success in mastering other world languages.

Computer
As an award-winning technology school, we pride ourselves in integrating interactive technology and computer science into our academic curriculum at all grade levels. Our Lower School offers a progressive computer curriculum, which begins in Early Childhood and continues through fifth grade, focusing on computing and network dynamics, document creation, graphics and presentations, spreadsheets and databases, and e-mail and the Internet. Our classes familiarize your child with a variety of hardware options, including desktop and laptop computers, iPads®, SMART® Boards, SMART® Tables, printers, and cameras, and emphasize the importance of responsible computing by highlighting the social and ethical issues of technology use. Through our computer classes, our students become early adapters of the newest technology programs and applications, boosting their self-confidence in problem solving and giving them a competitive technological advantage over their peers.

Our Primary Curriculum advances your child’s technology skill set established in Early Childhood to include navigation of the school’s network, digital storytelling, basic research, and an introduction to coding, which leads to a future interest in science and engineering fields. Students in the intermediate grades master the use of multiple windows and programs at the same time and further their research skills by learning how to properly evaluate accuracy and relevance of information. Students also receive their first personal school email address starting in the fifth grade, which gives them greater digital access within the Ursuline community. The skills taught in our Lower School give our students the preparation needed for an effective transition to our award-winning One-to-One Laptop Program, which begins in Middle School.

Fine Arts
Our award-winning Fine Arts Program prepares your child for participation in and mastery of creative expression in music, drama, dance, and visual art. Our Primary Curriculum helps your child master basic proficiency in demonstrating the elements of music through singing, dancing, and instrumental play and provides a stage for both musical and dramatic performances throughout the year. Our Intermediate Curriculum expands your child’s exposure to the endless opportunities for artistic expression through both group and individual activities, including choral performances, an introduction to dance choreography, and band, among others. Our Fine Arts teachers also work individually with students who show an interest or proficiency in any of our artistic disciplines. Visual art classes in our Lower School provide an understanding of the elements of design and encourage your child to explore various avenues of creative expression, which instills an appreciation for the arts at a young age. Our Fine Arts Department provides a safe and comfortable space for your child to explore, discover, and reveal creative talents, which not only offers a host of healthy self-image benefits but often uncovers exceptional gifts worth sharing.

Library
Our Library program at the Primary Level reinforces the benefits of reading and story development, while teaching basic research skills and proficiency in advanced library lessons, such as bibliography, genre type, author study, and library search skills. Our librarian incorporates technology into their curriculum to ensure our students are aware of the latest research tools and databases. These skills help your child understand the importance of effective research, which is an invaluable lifelong skill necessary for success in any field.

As an intermediate student, your child’s library experience promotes educational and creative book club opportunities and integrates highly developed research and information skills into your student's educational curriculum.  An intermediate student participates in study skill classes concentrating on organizational skills, time management, test taking strategies, and note taking skills. Our librarian works with our students on how to write a quality research paper by using notecards and outlines to produce well-developed sentences and paragraphs. The research project includes lessons on using accurate, reliable sources to construct an MLA formatted bibliography and parenthetical references.  The library lessons for the intermediate students are designed to support the student to confidently transition to the Middle School curriculum.

Wellness
Our Primary Physical Education Curriculum incorporates lessons of sportsmanship, fairness, and cooperation into an environment of play and fitness. Your child enters our physical education program improving individual skills while engaging in a variety of games and activities focused on spatial awareness, dexterity, cooperation, and motor coordination and gradually incorporates introductory sport skills necessary for proficiency in individual and group sports.

In our Intermediate Physical Education Program, your child applies team and individual skills while learning sport basics and participates in our health classes, which start in the fourth grade. Our physical education teachers demonstrate the rules and basic skills of field hockey, volleyball, basketball, soccer, and kickball, and during the spring, your child participates in the FITNESSGRAM® fitness test, which illustrates the value of physical activity and a fit lifestyle.

Our fourth grade health classes focus on topics of physical, mental, and emotional health, as well as family and social health, while our fifth grade classes focus more heavily on health and nutrition, including personal health and safety. In lessons on making responsible choices, on expressing and managing emotions, reducing stress, eating a balanced diet, and maintaining a positive body image, our students participate in discussions and act out scenarios, which prepare them for and increase their self-confidence in responding to real life situations. Your fourth grader learns introductory lessons on body systems, stages of the life cycle, and the food pyramid, which encourage a holistic view of wellness, and your fifth grader studies chapters on food safety, personal health, physical fitness, and sports safety, as well as injury prevention.