The Lower School curriculum is designed to provide students with a thorough and cohesive program of learning based on a Christian worldview. Teachers assist students in developing necessary skills and knowledge, while fueling the natural curiosity of young children. They work to help students establish a commitment to excellence. Through scheduled curriculum review and evaluation, teachers update and refine teaching material and instructional techniques in an effort to help students reach essential grade-level proficiency. The scope of learning in each subject area is designed to build on the previous year’s instruction and to prepare students for success in the next grade level. Through well-planned assignments increasing in complexity and essential independence, students leaving our lower school are well prepared to meet the middle school years with confidence.
One of the primary goals at the Lower School is teaching kids how to be students...of God's word, God's world, and each other. In order to get the best from their education, and from life, kids need to become "Diligent DISCIPLES:"
- Do your best – and learn from your mistakes.
- Integrity – do what is right, even when no one is looking.
- Stewardship – make good use of all God has given you.
- Courtesy – good manners show your respect for others.
- Ignore distractions – keep little things little.
- Plan your time, your goals, and make things happen.
- Learn all you can – be curious and ask good questions.
- Encourage one another – you’re part of a team.
- Share what you have, what you know, and who you are – you are unique.
By the end of their time at the Lower School, students should know the principles inside and out; considering them as they make choices in behavior and attitude, and putting them into practice not only at school, but everywhere they go.
- 1st Grade
- 2nd Grade
- 3rd Grade
- 4th Grade
- 5th Grade
- Physical Education for All Grades
- Music for All Grades
- Art for All Grades
- Library for All Grades
- Spanish for All Grades
First graders are eager to read and write. Students in 1st grade build on a foundation of letter sounds, sight words, and decoding abilities. A significant portion of the day is devoted to the development of these skills, taking students from a variety of starting points to ever increasing independence in the language arts. Handwriting skills are developed for consistency in size, slant, and legibility, and spelling lessons begin. Students have many opportunities to put their thoughts into writing.
Math lessons introduce new skills daily, and these concepts are reviewed and maintained throughout the year. First graders are expected to develop a mastery of addition facts.
Students begin to work independently to complete tasks. By the end of the year, students are excited about finding scripture verses and familiar stories in the Bible that they have studied throughout the year. They’re off and running!
Students in 2nd grade become more independent as they start to apply previously learned basic skills. They discover reading for enjoyment and develop writing skills as a form of communication. Instruction in phonics continues, while increasing the amount of time on reading comprehension and reading fluency.
Second graders become firmly anchored in addition and subtraction facts. This provides a strong basis for all other math functions. Children become more aware of the world around them through a study of the seven continents, and, along with hands-on-science units, this adds a lot of fun! The 2nd grade Bible curriculum focuses on the life of Christ and allows them to respond in faith to the Gospel message.
Throughout the year a study of Germany, special events, and special trips also feed the curiosity of these young learners.
Students in the 3rd grade are ready to develop more as independent readers. Students fine tune their reading comprehension skills and learn to analyze a text by summarizing, comparing, and contrasting characters and events. The reading program is novel-based, with plenty of non-fiction reading as well. Emphasis is placed on writing for different purposes, such as narrating, informing, describing, and researching. The development of skills in reading, research, and writing culminate in the presentation of a state report.
The 3rd grade child reviews addition and subtraction facts, and then works to master multiplication facts. More demanding math concepts, math vocabulary, and modeled lessons encourage students to think mathematically.
Hand's-on-study of science allows them to experience God’s hand in nature's cycles. Egyptian and Native American cultures are some of the ancient groups that form the basis of an engaging 3rd grade Social Studies program. In Bible, a survey of the early Old Testament help students discover God’s faithfulness in keeping his promises to his people. Through a variety of learning activities and experiences 3rd grade kids discover the joy of learning and develop intellectually, socially, and spiritually.
Fourth grade is the year when kids turn a corner and are expected to take greater personal responsibility for their work. Good organizational skills are emphasized across the curriculum. Children begin using the daily planner to record and check off daily assignments. Being responsible and keeping everything together is an challenge, and teachers work with students to develop ways to tackle this important new skill.
Reading instruction centers on a series of novels chosen to teach important comprehension skills transferable to other reading contexts. Students enjoy working in groups to share their “intellectual art” at the end of a novel. By now basic reading skills should be in place and children begin to apply these skills in the content areas, specifically in Science and Social Studies. Math instruction covers all four operations: addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Children work to master all math facts in order to be better prepared for the challenges of more difficult operations in the coming years. Thinking carefully about math concepts involves concepts of estimation, rounding, and plenty of word problems.
Bible instruction is largely from the Old Testament. Students have an opportunity to learn the stories of Joshua and David and to see how God’s faithful hand is always present, even in the toughest of circumstances. That’s a lesson on which to build!
The focus in our 5th grade classrooms is to develop competence in organizational and study skills as well as to provide the academic preparation students will need for success in Middle School. While presenting several research assignments, kids learn more effective written and spoken communication. Mastered reading empower students to acquire knowledge independently. Students ascertain truth about God’s world through discovery and investigation in science and math. They learn to see Jesus Christ throughout the Bible, beginning with pictures and prophecies in the Old Testament and through studying the life of Christ in the Gospels.
Social Studies picks up where 4th grade ended. Students get an introduction to American history from the beginning years of a new country through the present. The begin to recognize how events and people from these periods of history still influence our lives today.
Science looks at helping children do the work of scientists from the very beginning of the year. They study a “mysterious powder” to solve a mystery, and learn how to apply the scientific method to their research. Later in the year they do a science fair project and demonstrate these principles on their chosen topic.
Special days are planned throughout the year to inspire imagination and celebrate learning. Events like Pioneer/Native American Day, the Presidential Tea, Young Author’s Luncheon and Breakfast on the Beach give opportunities for parents and students to interact in exciting learning activities. Children leave 5th grade ready for both the academic and spiritual challenge of their Middle School years.
The AACS Lower School physical education curriculum seeks to build basic fundamental movement and manipulative skills as well as fitness awareness. Age-appropriate planning allows for growth and development, allowing for instruction in popular, active sports as children mature. Students learn that "offering our body as living sacrifices... is our spiritual worship." Our physical education program encourages personal fitness and a commitment to excellence. Students become aware of their physical gifts and potential through their participation in the program.
At AACS, we work to bring musical knowledge and skill to the service of Jesus Christ. Our lower school students learn the basic components of music including rhythm, pitch, and beat.
In class, our students listen and move to music, learn to read musical notation in order to play classroom instruments, and learn to sing melody and harmony. Our program incorporates a variety of styles, cultures, and historical periods. We strive for excellence in all these areas, whether in a classroom or performance setting, with a heartfelt devotion to the Lord of Creation. Fourth graders begin to play together on recorders, preparing them for the introduction of band instruments in 5th grade.
Art instruction is designed to bring out the inner artist in each child. We use of a variety of media and techniques in a sequential and age-appropriate format to help children produce and enjoy art. Lessons are taught with a variety of teaching methods to accommodate various learning abilities. Biblical themes and Scripture are used throughout the curriculum to reinforce Christian principles and truths. Each child’s art is regularly displayed in our halls to all to enjoy.
The lessons are taught with a variety of teaching methods to accommodate various learning abilities. Biblical themes and Scripture are used throughout the curriculum to reinforce Christian principles and truths. Every child is encouraged to experience success and satisfaction by creating works of art, each in their own way, in a non-judgmental atmosphere. All children participate in art exhibits throughout the year.
The Lower School library consists of approximately 10,000 volumes of fiction, non-fiction, reference materials and periodicals appropriate for children through 5th grade. Our library program allows students to access the lower school collection, listen to stories, and develop as readers. Our teacher manages the Accelerated Reader program and inspires young children to become avid readers. Students in grades 2-5 receive prizes and recognition for their reading accomplishments.
The Spanish program in the elementary years is designed to introduce young children to the study of another language through conversation, vocabulary development, games, music, and a variety of activities. Spanish is taught one day a week for students in grades 2-5. Our goal is to use instruction, music, and games to introduce children to Spanish vocabulary and conversation, as well as to enjoy the rich culture of the Hispanic community.