||Students unlock the mysteries of decoding through a strong foundation in phonics and in-coding as they learn the basic skills of handwriting and spelling. During and after learning to read, LS students are exposed to great stories in literature as teachers read aloud daily. As early as kindergarten, children’s moral imaginations grow as they explore heroic characters in Bible stories and age appropriate literature, learning to discern good from evil, right from wrong.
||Literature is one of the key ways that the soul is nourished on truth, goodness, and beauty. By reading such classics as Charlotte’s Web, Cricket in Times Square, and the Little House series, students learn to appreciate the experiences and challenges faced by people of another time and place, both fiction and non-fiction. Students imagine themselves in the same difficulties and begin to evaluate how they would make the same types of decisions.
||The literature of 4th-6th grade complements the study of history, so 4th graders read about Vikings, medieval knights, and King Arthur; 5th graders study Johnny Tremain, The Witch of Blackbird Pond, and Where the Red Fern Grows; 6th graders explore The Call of the Wild, Tom Sawyer, and The Hiding Place.
||Using the award-winning methods of Singapore Math, WA approaches math as a progression of understanding from concrete to pictorial to abstract. K–1st focus on counting, grouping, and regrouping in problem solving.
||Students begin to move from a concrete understanding of number to a pictorial one, using bar models to solve multi-step word problems. Students learn to retell math problems as stories, choose from an array of strategies to think about the problem, and articulate the procedures to solve. Automaticity with math facts and computation is emphasized as well.
||By the end of Lower School, students have dealt with the rudiments of algebra and geometry in both equations and word-problems. The focus is to move beyond rote use of formulas to conceptual understanding and application.
|| Students begin collecting the tools of writing: correct pencil grip, letter formation, spelling, and the elements of a complete sentence. Students copy the teacher’s model and begin to compose their own original sentences.
||As they learn cursive, students take care to create final drafts that are beautiful both to look at and to read. Students do much copywork and dictation in order to shape their writing by continual exposure to correct spelling and grammar. While retelling fables, stories, and historical episodes makes up the bulk of their writing, students also begin to explore expository paragraphs and informative essays.
||As their analytical and discussion skills develop in different disciplines, students begin to write short essays exploring historical figures, scientific discoveries, and character development. Students study what makes for effective, beautiful, and interesting sentences in both essays and creative writing.
|History & Bible
||Because we view history as the story of God’s work in the lives of individuals and nations, students study the actions of historical figures and determine the impact they made on the world around them. Throughout Lower School, students will study the entire progression of civilization from creation through modern day, a cycle which will repeat more in-depth in Upper School.
||In 2nd grade, the study of Old Testament and of ancient Egypt introduces students to the concepts of government, politics, the roles of religion and the state, and how the providence of God led His people from slavery into freedom. This study of providence enriches the 3rd grade study of the empire of Greece and Rome as students learn about how God prepared the world for the coming of the Savior.
||Fourth grade studies the fall of Rome through the Reformation, tracing the development of Christianity through a millennium. Fifth grade picks up the age of exploration and the founding of America. Sixth grade brings students up to date with 19th–20th century history. Bible in these grades focuses on the life of Christ and the spread of the early church.
|| At WA, we appreciate the rich position that music has held in both the classical and Christian traditions. Much of Lower School music is dedicated to training students’ ears and hearts to appreciate, to understand, and to love these things that are worth loving. Students learn the elements of musical theory, musical appreciation, and the history of music, eventually studying all of the major periods of music, the instruments of the orchestra and band, and learning to read music in both treble and bass clefs.
|| The art program at WA has a much broader goal than just trying to produce little Picassos or Mary Cassatts. Our creator God designed his world to be full of intricate beauty, detailed in delicate colors and intense textures and bold patterns. By training the eye and hand to reproduce that beauty through multiple media, we are training the soul both to recognize and appreciate true beauty.
|Specialty classes that begin in 2nd grade:
|| Students learn to see the world with awe and wonder in 2nd and 3rd grades, studying the planets, ecology, and the animal kingdom. Introduced to scientific concepts like classification, categorization, and the scientific method, students grow more curious and confident to explore the world.
|| Science becomes increasingly hands-on in 4th through 6th grades, with students experimenting with bacteria cultures, modeling atomic theory, and exploring body systems through dissections. Students enjoy small group collaboration in labs and classroom demonstrations, seeking answers to their many questions about the natural world.
|| Latin instruction begins in 2nd grade as students learn colors, numbers, animals, family members, and body parts. The study of Latin grammar in 3rd grade introduces students to number, gender, and case.
|| Students in grades 4th through 6th gain increasing confidence in Latin as they read it, compose it, speak it, sing it, memorize it, and act it out in short vignettes. Students investigate the culture and history of the Romans through building projects and presentations.