Academics

Lower School (Preschool - Grade 5)

In the Lower School, each child is known and valued by professional and caring adults who take time to connect with their students each and every day. Teachers and students together create a supportive, caring classroom environment where all students are celebrated and encouraged to take risks that are necessary for true learning. 

Daily morning meetings and activities throughout the day promote community through the Responsive Classroom Approach. Our program emphasizes developmentally appropriate challenges and a structure that allows for each child’s individual academic, artistic, and athletic growth. Using inquiry-driven, hands-on, project-based learning, children build foundational skills in reading, writing, mathematics, science, and social studies. 

Play is the work of childhood and is intentionally integrated into each child’s day in the Lower School. We celebrate curiosity, collaboration, and the joy of discovery. It is through play that children experiment, investigate, and negotiate, and is necessary for their social and emotional growth and well-being. The York Country Day Lower School curriculum is designed to ignite our students’ excitement and enthusiasm for learning.
 

List of 8 items.

  • Art

    Our Lower School art program is designed to encourage creative thinking, problem-solving, and the expression of one’s ideas and dreams through art. Each year, students build upon their technical skills of drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpting, and mixed media while showing respect for their own artwork and the work of others. Our students' art pieces are displayed throughout our school and the greater York community.
     
  • Digital Media

    Students in the Lower School are exposed to a variety of digital media disciplines such as digital design, video and audio and keyboarding skills. Personal and social responsibility, creative exploration, self-directed learning, and problem-solving skills are reinforced throughout the digital media curriculum. Students use technology in developmentally age-appropriate activities that augment and redefine student learning. 
     
  • Library

    Our Lower School library has a collection of more than 8,000 books, including fiction, nonfiction, and periodicals for the YCDS community. All classes from PreK to Grade 5 have a formal library class once a week when stories are shared. During class, students browse and check-out books as well as learn important research skills. The focus of the program is to assist students as they interpret and analyze literature and hone their critical reading skills while celebrating their natural curiosity to learn about the world around them. In addition to the student lending library, a parent resource library is available for all families seeking information about child development and parenting.
  • Literacy Support

    Our Literacy Support program supports students in Grades 1 through 5. A literacy specialist works with individuals and small groups, and is integrated into the classroom to support reading and writing fluency, reading comprehension, and spelling skills. The Literacy Support Specialist works closely with each classroom teacher throughout the year to ensure that each child is appropriately challenged and supported in reading and writing.
     
  • Music

    Lower School students share their musical talents, both vocal and instrumental, through concerts, community sharing, and school assemblies. In the younger grades, children experience music through gross motor movement in their expression of rhythm, meter, tempo, style, and song. The Lower School music program builds a solid understanding of musical notation, progressing from symbolic notation to standard notation by third grade. Beginning in Grade 3, students perform on recorders, hand chimes, or Orff instruments, and in Grade 4, students have the opportunity to begin lessons on band and orchestra instruments. 
     
  • Physical Education

    The Lower School Physical Education program covers coordination, movement, skill development, and health education, as well as sportsmanship, cooperation, and social skills. Classes consist of imaginary play, basic skills and organized games leading towards team sports while emphasizing wholesome play. Each year’s acquired skills are cumulative, and as students graduate to the next grade level, a higher level of performance is expected. Throughout the years, students learn the importance of physical activity and wellness, both physical and mental.
  • Robotics and Engineering

    Students in grades PreK through Grade 5 use our state of the art engineering and robotics laboratory where they engage in engineering challenges that are designed to promote understanding of spatial relationships, materials, structures and machines, robotics and coding by utilizing the engineering design process. Students apply what they know about science and math to identify and solve real-world problems, develop creativity, think critically and collaborate. In addition to time spent in the lab, students benefit from collaboration between the robotics teacher and the classroom teachers to infuse engineering and robotics across the curriculum.
     
  • Spanish

    The YCDS Lower School Spanish program is designed to foster a love of learning a new language and experiencing different cultures. All Lower School students are introduced to the key components of learning a language of speaking, listening, reading and writing.  Through songs, games, puppets, and storytelling, using Total Physical Response, students explore and use their Spanish skills in conversation and play. 

    Highlights and activities of the Spanish program include hands-on projects, such as studying and creating Mayan weavings, making and eating empanadas and tamales, and honoring Hispanic cultural celebrations such as Dia de los Muertos and las Posadas. The exploration of another language helps students discover the beauty of other cultures and their own place in the world.   
     
    • Head of Lower School kmille53@ycds.org
      Mrs. Kari Miller

      Head of Lower School kmille53@ycds.org

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