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Lower School

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The curriculum of the Lower School (Grades Kindergarten through Fourth) centers on the student’s understanding and development of the core subjects of language arts, reading, mathematics, science, and social studies.

In addition to these core areas, we engage our students in many co-curricular areas, including physical education, music, art, library skills, technology, Spanish, and Chinese. These courses are taught by specialists in each area.

Lower School students participate in physical education classes daily. Fitness, wellness, a sense of fair play, and a healthy attitude about competition are emphasized in a fun and rewarding atmosphere.

Students engage in Spanish classes four days per week and in Chinese classes one day per week. See more about these areas on the grade level curriculum descriptions.

In our fine arts, studio art and Kodaly/Orff approaches in music education are taught on a rotation basis. Instruction is sequentially planned so students may achieve maximum growth in musical and artistic skills, as well as the understanding, appreciation, and enjoyment of fine arts throughout life. Our classroom and grade level musicals, plays, and creative dramatics combine to enhance the fine arts and the core curriculum in each grade.

At Trinity Valley School, we believe that our contributions to the future have a beginning and a deep dependence on what we experience and learn in the earliest grades. By making science come alive for our students and relate to their daily lives, as well as sparking curiosity in the ideas of, “What else is there?” or “What comes next?,” our students excitedly strive to learn more about their surroundings. In our Lower School Exploratorium, we create and experiment, research and develop, and make meaningful connections with our world here and with the world beyond our walls.

Technology is an integral part of learning at TVS. With iPad carts for each grade level and a digital learning lab for this division, Lower School students use technology in meaningful ways to create, collaborate, and demonstrate understanding. From blogging to coding to productivity applications to producing with apps, children are challenged to stretch their thinking as they explore and create. Digital literacy and digital citizenship instruction begins early and is woven throughout the technology lessons.

Our library is an integral part of our Lower School education, through our students’ interest in our extensive collection of books and many engaging opportunities to read and to participate in projects, both individual and group. Library skills are taught in each grade level to enhance the core subjects and to foster the love of reading. Our summer reading program in all grade levels involves our entire school and is an important part of preparing to begin the next grade level each fall. In addition to the inspiration for the summer reading program, our library is central to bringing in guest authors, Seuss Week, and other events throughout the school year.

Trinity Valley School has an extensive program of outdoor education, beginning with TOE (Trojan Outdoor Experience) night in third grade, with activities including a climbing wall, group games, and storytelling. Fourth graders spend one night at a campsite, enjoying team projects and many outdoor experiences, including learning all about camping outdoors.

Extracurricular opportunities add to our well-rounded curriculum and school day with various after-school clubs, including Trojan Tunes Choir, Dance Classes, Chess Club, Chinese Club, Yoga Club, and Bricks4Kidz.

In keeping with the school’s mission to foster spiritual and moral development, teachers incorporate a character value of the month into daily lessons, as well as weekly social skills. The entire Lower School focuses on the same character value of the month and social skill of the week together. Every classroom engages in the Positive Action curriculum for character development. The Lower School participates with TCU in the LiiNK Project – “Let’s Inspire Innovation ‘N Kids.” This is a program based on research in the U.S. and other countries to incorporate more opportunities for students to play throughout the school day. This includes increasing the amount of physical activity daily, adding the character development curriculum, assessing students thoughtfully and more broadly, and restructuring the school day to allow for additional time for play and creativity. This is a highly successful program, in which we find that students are less competitive and more self-reliant because they know they have other opportunities to play during the day.

Trinity Valley Lower School offers a grounded curriculum, with intent to engage the whole child on many widely-varied levels and to infinite degrees. We believe this is the way to prepare our students for the next step and the ones beyond that.

Sandy McNutt
Head of Lower School