Lower School K – 3: In Depth

Fostering each child’s intellectual curiosity and a love of learning to feed that curiosity provides the start for a strong academic foundation in Lower School.  At Bethany, Lower School comprises grades K-1-2-3.  The day-to-day program is child-oriented and personalized because teachers know that each student enters with a different background and knowledge base.

Professional and caring teachers, along with current texts, teaching materials and technology, yield an academic and spiritual environment in which each student attains basic skills, emotional well-being, a sense of personal responsibility, and physical and social development.

A variety of hands on experiences and field trips helps our Lower School students foster their desire to discover and use their senses.  Their thinking is nurtured to move beyond discovery to critical thinking and the ability to explain their thinking to others.  Learning to read transitions into reading to learn.  Students begin moving away from learning everything from their teacher to becoming excited about their own abilities to develop their knowledge.  They become more independent in managing their homework and daily activities in preparation for their transition to Middle School.

Special area faculty bring a diversity of talents and interests to our Lower School students.

  • In Spanish, students are learning vocabulary through storytelling, movement, and song to help them fall in love with this language.  They use their senses to explore vocabulary through foods, colors, and sounds.
  • Problem Solving Lab is open ended investigation offered in a small group environment.  Students are challenged by problems with more than one answer, by critical thinking games, and by examining the labels “easy” and “hard”.  Surveys, graphs, leaf searches, rockets, measurements, animals, puzzles, contraptions, and games provide the starting point for the excitement.
  • Computer class builds basic computer and keyboarding skills. Programs like TechWorks, “Typin’s Cool”, “Ten Thumbs Typing Tutor”, and “Sponge Bob Teaches Typing” engage Lower School students.  Keyboarding begins in third grade and continues through 8th grade.
  • In Art, Grade 1 students focus on Modern Art and look at Artists such as Andy Warhol and Wassily Kandinsky.  They experience a variety of methods and materials in the art room, and  work on understanding concepts such as the color wheel, mixing paint, creating shapes, work on fine motor skill development, and explore 3-dimensional art.   Holidays are important and exciting, so they form the motivation for many of our art craft projects.   Grade 2 students experiment with mixing paints, the color wheel, and begin to discuss the elements and principles of design and how they can use them in their artwork.  They work  in 2-D and 3-D so they are able to experience making art in a variety of ways.  Grade 3 students look at a variety of different artists and begin discussing the timeline of Art History.  They study the Art of Cave Paintings, Aboriginal Art all the way to Georgia O’Keefe and Picasso.  They use the Principles and Elements of Design as well as use new ideas and tools to solve visual art problems.
  • Library provides the opportunity for Lower School students to develop and satisfy their love of listening to and reading stories within a yearly themed environment.  Visiting authors and illustrators bring their books to life and provide new ways to connect to the craft of storytelling.
  • In Physical Education, Lower School students develop their fine and gross motor skills as well as fitness skills through a variety of group and individual activities: Olympics, survivor week, putt-putt, relays, bowling, jumping rope, and marbles.
  • In Christian Education, students learn Biblical stories from both the Old and New Testaments.  The stories focus on God’s love and how God is present everywhere and in all things.  They learn how His stories teach us how we should live our lives.  Also woven throughout the year is instruction about the liturgical seasons, saints, and symbols important within the Christian faith.
  • In Music, students are exposed to the music fundamentals of matching pitch, singing in tune, and following a steady beat through song, movement, dance, and instruments.  Our winter (Lessons and Carols) and spring concerts allow Lower School students to share their exuberance, confidence, and love of music.
  • Character Education is the foundation of every activity and every day at Bethany School.  The six pillars of character are reflected in brightly colored t-shirts, assembly programs, collaborative group discussions, Christian Education classes, book discussions, visiting speakers, and video commercials.