Lower Elementary

Lower Elementary – Ages 6 to 9 years
The Lower Elementary is based on the unique needs of children between the ages of six and nine. HPMS offers students the intellectual, social, and spiritual tools they need to flourish not just in school, but in life beyond school.
The curriculum is both broad and deep, fully integrating rigorous academic study with practical work in an atmosphere that fosters social, emotional and intellectual development.

Children entering the elementary years combine vigorous stamina and curiosity with the excitement that comes with mastering the basics of reading and writing, time management, independent work, and harmonious community life.

Children spend their days working both individually and collaboratively on a variety of highly engaging projects in the core subject areas of math, language, cultural studies (geography, history, sciences), and practical life.

Our highly skilled teachers customize research activity, field study, and art and music instruction based on a balance of student interest and the core goals of the curriculum.

Mathematics
• Increasingly capable of abstract thought, students become less dependent on materials as they broaden and deepen their working knowledge of hierarchies, numerical operations, and geometry
• Students extend and apply acquired skills, exploring preliminary concepts of algebra
• Students eagerly observe mathematical properties and functions in the world around them and apply new concepts to studies in other areas, such as science and culture
• Mathematics studies include: operations with whole, decimal and negative numbers; fractions, percentages, squaring, cubing and number bases

Language
• Effective written and verbal expression is emphasized as students learn to make themselves understood and get to know others
• Language studies include: Sentence analysis, novel study, spelling and grammar exercises, daily reading and writing workshops, experience with different writing genres, and public speaking requirements are all part of the curriculum.
• Additional curriculum highlights include a weekly newsletter published by sixth year students and a semester-long Independent Research Project (IRP) that teaches research, note-taking, expository writing, and presentation skills

Cultural Studies
• Through rigorous research, students refine their critical thinking capacities.
• Lower Elementary students trace the story of the evolution of humans
• Students compare and contrast world civilizations, and they begin thematic studies of American history.
• The interdisciplinary, research-based thrust of the curriculum culminates in the sixth year as students undertake a yearlong research project.
Children’s House
The Children’s House, is for children between the ages of three to six and includes the kindergarten year. These children are going through an intense period of cognitive, social, and physical change.

All of the lessons and materials are designed so that children learn by doing which is the best way. It is a special kind of doing, carefully directed within a beautifully “prepared environment” that calls to the child’s inherent desire to learn.

The concrete materials allow children to explore the world through all their senses, and to develop the capacities that set the stage for all future learning: concentration, coordination, order, and independence.

Children in their third year of Children’s House, or kindergarten year, have a special role. As the leaders in the class they help younger students, assume more responsibilities and assist the younger ones in the classroom.

They also receive an additional period of afternoon lessons that focus on academics while the younger students nap.
Carefully trained adults respond to the needs of the children with appropriate lessons to support each child’s growth and emerging capabilities. The curriculum in the Children’s House is made up of

Practical Life, mathematics, language, Sensorial and cultural studies.

Practical Life
• Children develop concentration, coordination, order, independence and self-help skills
• Children are introduced to sequenced activities that can then be freely chosen and repeated as needed or desired.
• Younger children participate in Practical Life activities because they love it. Older children focus on accomplishing a goal.
• By independently practicing tasks that have a clear beginning, middle, and ending, children internalize the concepts of sequenced learning in order to develop the ability to concentrate – preparation for school and life.

Mathematics
• Organized in six groups: Numbers to Ten, the Decimal System, Teens and Tens, Memory Work (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division), Passage to Abstraction, and Fractions.
• Beautiful concrete materials introduce the initial concept and then allow for continued experience and repetition with variety, so concepts can be mastered, expanded, applied, and revised.

Language
• The environment is rich with opportunities to associate sound, symbol, and meaning
• Children begin exploring language with sounds, which provides a basis in phonetics
• Children progress as they associate sound with touch and symbol, as they put sounds together to create words, and then “explode” into reading – all while using carefully crafted materials
• Writing activities range from learning one’s name to stories and reports for older students

Sensorial
• Materials isolate concepts such as size, form, weight, and volume, eventually internalizing the abstract concept each represents
• Beautifully constructed, meticulously presented, and carefully sequenced, the sensorial curriculum appeals to the child’s need to experience the world through all the senses
• Unlimited opportunities for deep concentration and the satisfaction that comes with mastery
• Direct preparation for the math curriculum

Cultural Studies
• Cultural studies encompass geography, history, world cultures, botany, and biology.
• Answers the “How?” and “Why?” questions that are at the forefront of young minds
• Takes advantage of a diverse family community, country studies are drawn from the traditions of families in the class
• Encourages respect for their own traditions and beliefs and those of others
• Provides opportunities in art, music, cooking, dancing, and much more

An in-depth study of a country/continent culminates with a Global Awareness Day Celebration.It’s a fun filled day of ethnic food, language, performances, games, and exhibition of children’s work.

Physical and Life Sciences
• Our science program brings students into direct contact with the central work of scientists: our students identify, question, explore, and conclude.

• Students take responsibility for cultivating a peaceful, cooperative community.
• Activities include: preparing lunch together, planting and maintaining an organic garden, organizing the library, staffing school events and participate in service projects such as fundraising for OBX SPCA and Outer Banks Food Pantry.

Additional curricula
• Special lessons in music, physical education, Spanish, health and art are offered.