Each grade in the Lower School engages in two or three thematic studies per year. The studies allow the students to embrace a theme and learn about that subject across all disciplines, from art to writing to math. Recent studies have included:
Me and My Family: Students look more deeply at the similarities and differences among the world’s people and communities. Animals: Students learn about animal homes and biomes in order to analyze the reasons why animals live in particular places, culminating in a research-based, nonfiction book written by each student. Trees: In this nature-based study, students investigate the different types of trees, different parts of trees, and the changes they go through every season.
- First Grade
Transportation: Students learn about infrastructure and modes of transportation and document their journeys on bridges, tunnels, boats, planes, and the subway. Bread: By studying how bread is made (and participating in several baking sessions), students learn about culinary science, different cultures, and commerce. Authors: Students focus on literary elements, writing techniques, and art projects that reflect their chosen author’s unique style.
- Second Grade
Central Park: With numerous field trips to Central Park, students learn about the history of the park, study the abundant animal and plant life, and contemplate how an urban park is designed and created. Community: Students study the difference between urban, suburban, and rural communities and their interdependence with each other. New Amsterdam: Students discover what daily life was like in New York City during the 1600s and how the city has changed.
- Third Grade
Eastern Woodland Native Americans: Students learn about the culture, history, and daily life of the Iroquois. Geography: Students learn about the features of different types of maps, landforms, and bodies of water that make up our planet. Arctic Animals: This study begins with the tundra that makes up the Arctic Circle, then focuses in on the fascinating animals that live there and how they adapted to survive.
- Fourth Grade
Pilgrims: This study teaches students about the beginnings of our nation; it culminates in an overnight trip to historical Plymouth Plantation. Immigration: Students learn about the great wave of immigration during the late 1800s and early 1900s, and learn how the people of the United States came together from many places.
- Fifth Grade
Inuits: This study is an investigation into the traditional and modern cultures of the indigenous people in the Arctic region. Lewis and Clark Expedition: In this historical study, students learn how our nation expanded westward; they explore the abundance of information Lewis and Clark and their team discovered on their journey.
Once a week, Lower School students participate in Enrichment Clusters, meeting in small groups to delve deeper into a topic of their choice. They may choose from a roster of clusters per semester, including art, languages, science, sports, and drama. At the end of the semester, each cluster hosts a celebration, sharing with parents and teachers what they’ve learned and created over the past months. Recent offerings have included:
- Kindergarten: Creative Artists; Petite Chefs; Super Sculptors; Sign Language; Yoga; Puppet-Making; Wacky Science; Origami; Art Explorers
- First and Second Grade: Word Games; Paper Magic; Mysterious Creatures; Wacky Watercolors; Jazzy Jewelry; Big Kids, Little Kids; Collage Club; Wee Deliver Postal Service
- Third, Fourth, and Fifth Grade: Comics, Cartoons, & Animation; For the Love of Poetry; NEST+m’s Inventors; A Passport to the Korean Language; Drama Mania; Glee!; Mystery Agents; Tactical Team Sports; Reduce, Reuse, Recycle; Making a Difference; Stop-Motion Mania; Rubik’s Loft