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Email or call (804.272.1341) our admissions office to inquire about a tour of the lower school.

LITERACY AND LANGUAGE ARTS • Reading and Writing Workshop
Early years of Language Arts in the Lower School are devoted to developing and supporting literacy. In all grades, lessons are designed to cultivate a culture of reading and an understanding of writing as a process. The workshop approach encourages students to regard reading and writing as interrelated; they learn to use their reading to develop their writing skills, and their writing as an avenue for understanding and appreciating the books they read. Weekly reading buddies between the lower elementary and the middle school students fosters a literacy connection across the grades. The faculty’s work in this area is highly collaborative and is supported by the Research & Media Specialist.

MATHEMATICS • Everyday Math
Our Lower School math curriculum is a research-based, best practice curriculum. Expectations for students at each grade level are defined by the standards set forth by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. The curriculum emphasizes computational fluency, reasoning about mathematical ideas, and strategic mathematical thinking. Students gain experience with important areas of mathematics, including numbers and operations, geometry, measurement, data, and early algebra. Both teachers and students are supported by our Math Specialist

INVESTIGATIVE RESEARCH • Authentic inquiry and problem-solving
Students are given time, attention, resources, and teacher guidance to undertake extended collaborative projects of their own design. Teachers encourage students to define goals, identify needs, and solve problems.

Students are naturally curious about the world around them and eager to know how it works. Students respond to authentic questions, develop and practice skills, and collaboratively construct understanding through processes based on the scientific method. Each year, choosing from the content areas of Life Science, Physical Science, Earth & Space Sciences, and Engineering & Design, students address topics and research questions that are meaningful to them.

Our inquiry-based social studies program seeks to enable children to begin to understand and participate responsibly in their worlds — in their families, classrooms, and the wider community. Students learn to understand their relationship to other people and to social, economic, and political institutions. The curriculum emphasizes building skills for critical thinking, researching, productive problem solving, and the making of thoughtful decisions and judgments. Recent projects include co-constructing an understanding of love and the heart (K), participating in an anthropological dig of a century-old dump on campus (2nd), and a reconstruction of the Ellis Island immigrant experience (3rd).

Beginning in 3rd grade, students study Spanish in an immersive environment. Students are challenged to use their communication skills in real-life contexts (to express opinions, give information, solve problems, and complete tasks). Language acquisition is promoted through scaffolding of comprehensible input, and it is contextualized and made relevant by incorporating culture, the arts, games, and projects.

Every year, the Sabot at Stony Point community undertakes a school-wide exploration, with opportunities for cross-grade collaboration. The Studio Teacher provides support in conceptualizing students’ and faculty’s endeavors, and in bringing their ideas to fruition. In September of 2016, Marty Gravett (Director of Early Childhood and Outreach) and two teachers - Mauren Campbell and Anna Golden, published this article about our Umbrella Project. (From Innovations in Early Education: The International Reggio Emilia Exchange, v. 23, n. 3, September 2016. Published by the North American Reggio Emilia Alliance (NAREA).

In the Lower School, integration of the arts fuels thinking in all subject areas. The studio is a place for collaborative investigation and a laboratory for students to represent their thinking in various media, including music, drama, poetry, design, and tinkering. 4th and 5th grade students participate in Musical Theater or the Richmond Ballet’s Minds in Motion, in alternating years.

We approach physical fitness as a life-long endeavor, where the goal is to cultivate skills, habits, interests, and an intrinsic motivation for physical activity. Students engage in a range of sports and non-competitive activities that get them outdoors, moving, and having fun. Larus Park, a 100-acre city park adjacent to our campus, provides access to explore the natural world.

Our curriculum emphasizes developmentally appropriate, accurate, and responsive information about the human body, health and wellness, gender, self care, puberty, reproduction, and human sexuality. We encourage families to engage in ongoing conversations with their children about their own families’ values and beliefs. Our health and human sexuality curriculum begins in 4th grade and continues through the 8th grade, although consultation with all grades is available upon teacher request.

Our School Counselor explicitly addresses the social and emotional needs of students. Classroom lessons focus on the developmental needs of students as well as address specific issues that arise (e.g. conflict resolution, handling responsibility, stress reduction). Individual and group short-term counseling is available for students who need support at school (e.g. grief and loss, study skills, friendship skills).