At Pierrepont School we believe that our youngest students are as eager to engage in their studies in a mindful way as their older schoolmates; therefore, they possess the same need for a rich and rigorous curriculum. To this end, our Lower School students participate fully in the life of the school. They are departmentalized to a high degree; art, dance, music, theater, science, and math are all part of a Lower School student’s day. Their teachers are the same accomplished professionals who teach the older students.
While the Lower School shares the philosophy and objectives of Pierrepont as a whole, there are some areas of particular focus for our young students. Since developing each child’s literacy abilities is an important objective, reading and writing are part of each class. Lower School students participate in English and grammar classes designed to foster reading fluency, comprehension, and engagement with language. The emphasis is on contextually-based, rather than skill-based learning. Skills are taught in relation to the literature being read; vocabulary words, spelling, grammar and writing assignments are garnered from the texts we study in class.
Each child in the Lower School participates in a reading group three times per week. Children are placed in small groups after careful consideration of their reading levels. Children who do not have a peer on their reading level read one on one with a teacher. Reading books are chosen not only based on reading level but on the enduring quality of the literature as well.
Lower School students also participate in a Curriculum class four times a week. In this class, Lower School teachers collaborate with faculty from other departments to present a comprehensive and context-based view of an ancient culture. Our objectives in this class are to explore the literature, mythology, language and achievements of ancient cultures. The greater purpose, however, is to teach our students to approach learning with enthusiasm and thoroughness. This approach will be developed throughout their time at Pierrepont.
At Pierrepont it is our aim to support and foster the academic growth of students as well as to attend to their developmental needs as individuals. Of course, we recognize the need and importance for young children to have time for play, rest, and individual exploration, and those times are built into each day. Our homeroom teachers provide our youngest students with consistency, love and support as they go through the day. In keeping with our integrated approach, there are many times when our youngest and older students are together. Homeroom, athletics, study and mealtimes are shared. These times, so easily overlooked, are wonderful opportunities to foster the sense of community, respect and joy among our students that distinguishes our school.