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Lower School (1-5)

Lower School (1st Grade – 5th Grade)

At Westfield Friends, during grades 1 – 3, students continue to develop academic and social skills. During these years, they begin more formal and rigorous academic instruction with concentrated study of reading, writing, math, science, and social studies. Faculty continually reinforces critical thinking skills and independent learning. Query, exploration, discovery and hands-on learning continue to be a key part of the academic atmosphere. During grades 4 and 5, our students are encouraged to become more independent critical thinkers so that they are ready for the middle school years. Certain themes and focus areas are present in each year within the lower school.

During first grade, focus is placed on developing our children’s sense of confidence as they begin to express themselves more clearly both verbally and in written formats. Throughout the year, our children have multiple opportunities to present their creative written work to their classmates to increase their confidence in speaking publicly. Highlights of the year include our famous people reports, when each student shares his or her report with their classmates and Arthur Day, when each member of the class presents on his or her favorite “Arthur” book.

In second grade, we work on on developing our children’s sense of where they fit in the world. Our children sit in “continent groups”, and during the year our social studies curriculum covers all of the continents, immersing our children into each one with a rich variety of stimulus and work projects. Within each continent we learn about the geography, culture, people, habitats and animals that exist there and how they are similar or different to our lives.

During the third grade our children accept more responsibility. They establish greater independence in organizing and producing strong academic work. A third grader’s inquisitive nature coupled with heightened inquiry abilities make this year a perfect one for learning about their environment, and we emphasize an exciting science curriculum. They also become more aware of their role in contributing to and maintaining a positive, social learning community.

Fourth grade is a time of tremendous growth in the life of a child. Students enter this class emerging into independent thinkers. Our role is to encourage this thinking to develop, guide them towards making the right choices and enable them to take responsibility for their learning. We work across the year to give them the tools they need to be able to fully develop their critical thinking and express their opinions in a confident and coherent manner so that they are ready to be successful in the upper school.

In fifth grade our children are moving from the elementary stage of their education, to the middle school stage. Our goal is to increase their sense of purpose, and further develop their responsibility in self-organization and time management. Socially, we focus on further increasing their understanding of the people around them, increasing their sense of who they are in our community, and how they can play a positive and active role in the school community.