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).
WORLD LANGUAGE • Spanish
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).
VISUAL ARTS, PERFORMING ARTS, AND MUSIC
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.
HEALTH & HUMAN SEXUALITY
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).