Lower School Academics
Transitional Kindergarten through Fourth Grade is a time for children to expand their love of learning, their ability to get along with others, and their interest in reaching out to the world. The children are involved in a classroom that is a loving and nurturing environment while engaging in daily activities that help foster their development and growth in the areas of academic, social, emotional, and gross/fine motor skills. Conversations about and explorations of spirituality, religion, and ethics at Alverno Heights Academy are woven naturally into the fabric of school life. They occur in classrooms, among faculty and students in the hallways, and at our weekly prayer service with Deacon Manuel Valencia and monthly student-led masses.
Religion within the Lower School is a key component of the students’ day. Students in the Lower School receive regular instruction in Religion that focuses on the principles of Catholicism and the integration of these values into our daily lives. It focuses on exploring and deepening the student’s relationship with God and with each other. They are taught about the Church, worship together, and prepare for the sacraments. This teaching promotes active learning that translates into active faith. Students in Grade 2 participate in First Reconciliation and First Communion. Our Lower School students engage in a buddy program with our middle schoolers. Our buddy system helps students to feel valued and supported, teach important social skills and create a caring mindset in the school. We will continue on with these buddy classes through 8th grade so there is a strong bond between younger and older children for a period of 5 years.
English Language Arts incorporates a basic reading program, grammar, phonics, handwriting, and vocabulary with opportunities for growth in oral and written expression. Reading instruction is designed to produce life-long readers. Students engage in literature, which in turn enables skill-building in speaking, writing, and critical thinking.
Mathematics: in the lower school emphasizes instruction in computation as well as mathematical concepts. Students learn to communicate and reason logically, and they become independent problem solvers. The use of manipulatives across the program allows students to work with concrete problems, encouraging them to apply math skills in other curriculum areas and to recognize the value and use of these skills in their daily lives.
Science offers an experience for exploring the world. A hands-on approach engages students and allows for independent discovery and learning. Using the 13 acres of the campus allows the teacher and students to explore our ecosystem within their own community.
In the Social Studies curriculum, students explore the world in which they live geographically and historically. They make comparisons, explore causes and effects, study historical figures, and begin to realize the importance of involvement in their community.
Students in transitional kindergarten through fourth grade also receive weekly instruction in Art, PE, Coding, and Music. Spanish is introduced in kindergarten with stories, lessons in culture, and beginning vocabulary.