Lower School Traditions
The childlike spirit in all of us is perhaps best expressed in the beloved traditions of the Lower School. Beginning with Friday Sharing Assemblies and October's schoolwide Fall Frolics carnival, our students are immersed in rich experiences throughout the year.
Friday Sharing Assemblies
We invite parents to join us for our Friday weekly assemblies, where students come together to showcase their learning, sing, practice speaking, and learn to be an audience. This special time to gather and celebrate learning and community dates from our founding in 1904.
On the Friday before Halloween, we gather in Langstaff Auditorium to share in a musical celebration of the season as all Lower School children perform for friends and families. We endeavor to be very sensitive to our differences while protecting our traditions.
Kindergarten Halloween Parade
On Halloween morning, kindergartners don their favorite costumes and travel the hallways and walkways around the entire campus, led by the Head of School and the Lower School Head.
Second graders work on this integrated project as part of their study of the Eastern Woodlands. In the regular classroom as well as library and science classes, students select and research animals, authoring their own “All About” books. In art, each child creates a clay likeness of his or her animal. Finally, students build shoe-box habitats that display the animal in its native surroundings. Second graders are very proud to share their efforts and learning with family and friends.
Lower School Carols
During the month of December, Lower School children and faculty work together to create a beautiful musical tribute to the winter season. This event offers a rich combination of time-honored carols as well as songs celebrating cultures near and far. While this program is steeped in school tradition, new and innovative works are included each year. Lower School Carols always proves a joyful way to send everyone off for the winter holiday vacation.
Black History Month Assembly
We embed the accomplishments of African-Americans in all curricular areas throughout the year, then set aside a February assembly to highlight and honor the contributions of various individuals, some who are famous and others who are less well known. The format of this assembly varies from year to year, but all Lower School students contribute.
Third Grade Science Fair
One of the capstone events for our third-grade students is February's Science Fair. Parents and students are invited to meet our young scientists, who display their work and explain the findings from experiments in which they used the scientific process to form a hypothesis, collect data, and draw conclusions.
On Japan Day, first-grade students and many parents immerse themselves in Japanese culture. Rotating through activity stations, children decorate Japanese fans, create Zen gardens, cook and taste Yakisoba, try on authentic Japanese clothing, practice Japanese calligraphy, fashion origami samurai hats, and participate in a “chopstick challenge.” The celebration complements the first grade's unit study of Japan, which is part of a larger study of global communities.
As the culmination of their unit study of colonial life, second graders step back in time with their teachers and parents for our annual Colonial Day. Dressed in traditional garb, students attend a colonial classroom (complete with hornbooks and dunce caps), make tin art, build a log cabin with sticks and mud, make cornhusk dolls, learn about different types of herbs, and participate in colonial games, songs and dances.
Lewis and Clark Day
Following the third grade's study of westward expansion, students and parents spend a day as members of the legendary Corps of Discovery. They bury a cache in the woods, build Native American tepees, take keelboat measurements, and sew moccasins.
Throughout the spring, students and teachers in the first, second, and third grades work as a grade to present a dramatic production. This is a favorite experience for our students, as they learn to work with a script and move about on stage. Costumes, student-made sets, and musical numbers make the production memorable for students and audience members.
In May, our kindergartners delight Lower School students and kindergarten parents with their annual Kindergarten Circus. Clowns, bodybuilders, wild animals, acrobats and more take the stage to entertain the audience. Our older students enjoy reminiscing about their roles in the circus.
Lower School Field Day
Field Day marks the end of the school year with a morning of relay races, collaborative games and dancing. Students rotate through a series of fun activity stations, which are led by faculty members and parent volunteers.