Our Lower School students fall in love with school from the start.
All grades in the Lower School - Kindergarten through 5th grade - have a consistent emphasis on the development of certain literacies, core knowledge, and skills. Core classroom faculty teach math, reading and writing, and social studies in the homeroom. All teachers are trained or in the process of being trained in two specific curricula and methods that are used throughout K-5:
Reading and Writing Workshop allows students to develop the foundational skills they will need to be successful readers and writers throughout their school years and beyond. Because students are encouraged to choose their own books to read and their own topics about which to write, they are more engaged in and have more energy to spend gaining the skills they will need to progress through the Lower School and into Middle School.
Singapore Math is uniquely designed to provide students with a model of learning math that progresses from the concrete to pictorial to the abstract. Deep understanding is valued over rote memorization. Students are taught problem-solving strategies beginning in kindergarten. Learning mental math strategies deepens a student’s number sense and relational value.
Referred to as Humanities at Cape Cod Academy, our Social Studies curriculum is based on a concentric circle model with the study of the self, the family, and our town beginning in kindergarten and weaves its way through historical and current day America. A primary goal of our humanities program is helping students to gain perspective on how we arrived at the place we are in today in order to prepare to be active participants in the betterment of our country, the world, and the future of humankind.
All students in K-5 leave their classroom for instruction by specialists in the following 6 subjects: Spanish, Science, Music, Visual Arts, PE & Health, and Library & Technology.
Spanish instruction in the Lower School begins in kindergarten. Throughout the early childhood grades of K, 1, and 2, the children are learning conversational vocabulary and working on their Spanish accents. Much of the learning is done through play and movement. In grades 3, 4, and 5, the play element remains but is supplemented by more reading and writing instruction and exploration. When students leave Lower School they have a solid base of vocabulary and communication tools to succeed in sixth grade Spanish class.
The Science curriculum in the Lower School at Cape Cod Academy is inquiry based and encourages students to ask questions and investigate various resources to find the answers. Life Science, Physical Science, and Earth Science are taught through impressionistic, hands-on lessons that engage and inspire future scientists. Fifth graders conduct independent research to experience the scientific investigation design process and present their process and their findings at their spring science fair.
Music is a vital part of our arts program and is comprised of the study of written music, pitch and singing, and improvisational song and musical play composition. The music curriculum in the early childhood grades builds on children’s natural inclination towards singing, movement and rhythmic activities by providing songs, dances and music games that build confidence in children’s intrinsic musical abilities. Students are introduced to the Kodaly hand signal system to learn to associate notation with sound. In the upper grades of Lower School, students further their knowledge of notation and sound by learning the recorder and the ukulele. World music is also studied in the upper grades. Music provides a conduit for cross-curricular studies when paired with the classroom humanities curriculum.
Band and Strings both are integral parts of the music curriculum for fourth and fifth graders. Students choose an instrument and meet as an ensemble to learn to play together and perform several times a year. Students take private lessons to help build their skills; often these lessons can be arranged to occur on campus and with CCA faculty.
In the early childhood grades of Lower School, young artists are introduced to the methods and materials of making art. Students learn cooperative skills and self control when using shared materials. As students mature as artists, they begin to learn about art history, develop visual literacy, and the ability to work in multidimensional forms with materials such as clay and other media.
The emphasis of the P.E. department is to create “physically educated” students by providing developmentally appropriate skills in which children acquire physical competence, self-esteem, and joy throughout their lives. Beginning in kindergarten, students are taught to be aware of their personal space as well as that of those around them. Learning about balance and counterbalance through creative movement and tumbling as well as developing skills for using hands and feet to throw, catch, kick and strike are the foundational skills upon which the more sophisticated physical skills are built. As students move into grades 3, 4, and 5 they are refining skills used in team and individual sports, learning strategies in sports, and practicing positive sportsmanship through cooperative games and use of communication.
Our well-rounded program includes curriculum choices that lend themselves to differentiated instruction. We recognize that no two learners are alike and the Lower School teachers pride themselves on knowing each child’s learning style, gifts, and challenges and having the ability to help each student strive to meet with success. Our perfectly sized environment allows teachers to address the learning needs of each individual, whether the student is in need of enrichment or support.
The Information Literacy curriculum in Lower School seeks to empower students with the ability to access, evaluate, and utilize information from a variety of print and digital sources.
The development of information literacy skills takes place both in the classroom and in the school library.
The school library focuses on fostering a life-long appreciation for reading and literature.
The Technology Literacy curriculum in Lower School focuses on developing students’ ability to use technology safely and ethically as a tool for learning, researching, communicating, problem solving, and productivity. Technology is evolving and changing rapidly; students need to be able to adapt to new tools and features.
Technology skills are not taught in isolation, but are integrated into the general curriculum, with the goal that technology is used to support and enhance learning.
CCA is a Common Sense Media Digital Citizenship Certified School, providing us tools as we support students’ ethical growth and training to be safe, considerate, and responsible in their interactions with others.
Each class (grade) visits the library for one formal Library Class each cycle.
During this library visit we do a variety of activities including:
storytime (or read-alouds or sharing a book)
discuss a story/character/illustrations
share information about authors and books
practice an “information literacy/library skill”
time to choose a book to borrow
Other projects and special classes within the Library & Technology Program:
Keyboarding (Grades 2-5)
Problem-Solving Activities- Literature based (Gr 3)
Students learn better in an environment in which they feel safe, both physically and emotionally. We take our students’ emotional health and happiness very seriously and are proactive in our approach to character education and social and emotional learning. Lower School teachers are trained in programs that are used both to shape the tone and tenor of the classroom and to offer intentional lessons that help students learn how to deal with stress, socially challenging situations as well as learn how to effectively solve problems. Teaching children to advocate for themselves is a skill that will serve them throughout their lives.
Lower School teachers employ Responsive Classroom techniques and Open Circle Lessons to their daily classroom management. We are preparing students to be successful both in and outside of school. Teaching and fostering social skills such as cooperation, assertiveness, responsibility, empathy, and self control—as well as set of academic competencies—academic mindset, perseverance, learning strategies, and academic behaviors provides the foundation upon which we grow the whole child.
Cape Cod Academy is one of the only independent, co-educational, college preparatory schools serving students from kindergarten to grade 12 on Cape Cod.