Inspiration and Exploration
Once a week, our youngest learners are escorted through a flowered archway into our Story Cottage by a costumed librarian whose outfit matches the day's reading. It's a much-anticipated literary and visual adventure for the children, and it's just one way in which joy and inspiration guide our interactions with young learners.
Children are natural explorers, and our Lower School supports their inquiry by establishing a safe environment for questions and mistakes. By encouraging and supporting children's voices, confidence and curiosity grow, along with wisdom and an appetite for learning.
Caring for Each Child
Whether the child is three-years-old or a rising middle-schooler, we make it our business to challenge students to greater and greater achievement while responding to each child individually. Each classroom, WOW to 4th grade, has a full-time teacher and a teaching assistant. By 5th grade, three assistants rotate among five classrooms.
Fun and Challenging Work
Our youngest students learn reading and writing-readiness skills, math, music, art, and physical education. By kindergarten, the curriculum is enriched with classes in French, Spanish, and keyboarding. The 4th and 5th grade curriculum expands to include Latin and Greek studies, and a band requirement. All grades participate in our Character Education Program.
Partnering with Columbia University’s Teacher’s College, The Benjamin School’s reading program gives our children the tools they need to succeed in becoming powerful and independent readers. The Carden Reading curriculum and Fundations, a Wilson-based program, also play a major role in our reading program, providing a solid foundation for reading through development of phonemic awareness and strong decoding strategies. Mrs. Quaid describes Benjamin's Lower School curriculum and introduces the Carden Presentation.
Benjamin Lower School Mathematics incorporates several highly effective math programs. Teachers weave carefully chosen strategies and techniques into a smooth and cohesive curriculum for our community of learners. At the core of our program is Excel Math. The objectives of Excel Math are to develop thinking skills, build proficiency, and produce confidence. Elements of Everyday Math help students think mathematically and increase mental math fluency. Students also receive strong basic fact practice and individualized mathematics instruction through a web-based program www.IXL.com allowing children to progress or review concepts at an individual pace. Model Drawing, derived from Singapore Math is utilized as a method of teaching students how to solve word problems pictorially beginning with a simple rectangular shape.
The Lower School science program is designed to foster students’ natural curiosity through guided learning and to encourage students to ask questions and discover the means of answering those questions. Students learn scientific literacy through a carefully crafted combination of non-fiction reading, experimentation and skill building exercises. Each grade level teaches three in-depth units: one earth science, one biological science and one physical science in alignment with the Next Generation Science Standards. Grades WOW through first incorporate lessons from AIMS, Carolina Biological and FOSS. Grades second through fifth utilize the National Geographic Science curriculum. All lessons are primarily hands-on and student driven and students are encouraged to work cooperatively using a variety of sources to gather information. In addition, students are also taught how to use an array of scientific tools for use in their investigations. By varying instruction and providing hands-on learning, the teachers are able to address the diverse interests and abilities of the students.
An After-Care Program and Enrichment Classes are offered to all students enrolled in WOW through 5th grade. As children progress through the Lower School, they enjoy an increasing array of after-school activities, from chess, to Jump Rope Club, to Art Club to drama and intramural sports.
Our rich, hands-on curriculum and our compassionate faculty succeed every day in exciting children's interests and desire to learn. When students leave our Lower School, they move into Middle School with the confidence to ask questions and the skills to find the answers.