Lower School (K-5)
Nothing is more important to a young mind than the thoughtful guidance of experienced teachers and a mindfully constructed learning environment. We employ two full-time lead teachers in every lower school classroom to support every child individually. Our two-teacher model allows for learning and discovery in full-class, small-group, and individual configurations. This flexibility is crucial to our experiential learning philosophy. Through collaboration, conversation, and hands-on experiences within a challenging curriculum, GUS students become active learners who understand the meaning and purpose of what they are doing. They also grow to understand their individual learning styles—their strengths, their weaknesses, what they are passionate about, and where they have the potential and opportunity to lead.
At Glen Urquhart, children feel valued for their individual talents and skills. The lower school curriculum is designed with the developmental stages of children in mind. Concepts and skills are introduced to each child as his/her academic readiness allows. Two fully credentialed teachers in each classroom make specialization possible in specific curriculum areas so that the different developmental stages of children are better served.
Each grade focuses on a particular theme that builds on what has been learned before, expanding to more sophisticated ideas as the children are ready. Integrating these theme studies across art, music and writing is an important part of the curriculum. The Glen Urquhart Lower School is a wonderful place for children to be challenged, nurtured and valued.
Experiential Learning Trips
GUS students participate in an exciting array of field trips from the time they enter kindergarten to the time they graduate from eighth grade. Field trips are a part of the fabric of the school. We believe that students need to explore the world around them in order to experience the places and events that they first learn about in their classrooms. First graders, for example, travel to the Butterfly Place after they observe and record the life cycle of a Monarch butterfly. Third graders tour the North End in Boston and visit the State House as an extension of their study of cities and city governments. Sixth graders tour Dogtown Common in Gloucester to study Native American rituals and stone structures as part of their study of prehistoric people. Every year students go on two or three field trips. By the end of eighth grade they have had ample opportunity to experience the richness and diversity of New England, as well as to experience first-hand the topics of the classroom. The abstract is made real, and the memories of these trips last a lifetime.
In lower school, students in kindergarten through fifth grade experience day trips that integrate with the theme for the year. Students in fourth and fifth grades go on three day/two night trips in the spring, as well as participating in day trips throughout the year.
Lower school students begin each day with Circle Time or Morning Meeting, which is an important part of their daily routine. Students and their teachers share concerns about school life, current events, and personal interests and triumphs. Classroom rules arise out of and are reviewed during Circle Time throughout the school year. Assembly or holiday themes and special all-School projects might also be the focus of Circle Time activities. In addition, all lower school classes participate in the “Open Circle” program, which is a curriculum developed by Wellesley College to help students develop healthy social skills. Classrooms often end the day with a class meeting as well.