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In the Academy’s Lower School, young minds begin a lifelong quest for knowledge to lay a foundation of skills needed for future success, academically and emotionally.
The environment in the Lower School is dynamic, with a wealth of learning materials and opportunities, and supportive – where students are encouraged to ask questions, seek answers and take risks. They are urged to discover their own unique strengths and areas of interest, explore their creativity and expand their imagination, while mastering critical comprehension and computative skills.
During the Lower School years, communication, comprehension and literacy skills are introduced and expanded. Beginning in the earlier grades, students learn to express thoughts visually and orally, develop a vocabulary and phonetics repertoire and begin to construct sentences. These skills are built on in later grades, with continued emphasis on reading, writing and research.
What begins as attempted mastery of numbers and their patterns is embellished in the Lower School through the Everyday Mathematics (EM) program. Under the EM program, specific grade level skills are laid and built upon; games help students master and reinforce skills and concepts; technology is engaged and interwoven; and problem-solving in real life situations is fostered.
In the science areas of the classroom, Lower School students test scientific theories and experiment with components of the physical world using the Full Option Science System (FOSS). Through FOSS, students question, conducting inquiries and investigations; they find answers, developing analyses of what is and why it is. Beginning in kindergarten, students learn through observation. In later years, they learn to relate these observations to what is known, test their ideas in logical ways and generate explanations that add to their body of knowledge.
In social studies, Lower School students learn all about the past – their own, that of the Hawaiian Islands, the nation and the world. Starting in kindergarten, there is an emphasis on understanding and celebrating various cultures and peoples. Students also gain an introduction to politics and the realm of government.
Rooted in the Catholic traditions, religious tenants are interwoven throughout the curriculum and the school day. Lower School students are not only taught the history and dynamics of the Christian faith, but they are fostered to be compassionate and moral individuals and develop their own, personal faith. Not only are students taught the power of compassion with their classmates, but beginning in kindergarten, they engage in service-learning opportunities throughout the year which benefit others in the community.
In addition to academic and spiritual growth, young students at the Academy become dreamers, painters, musicians, dancers, sculptors and athletes during weekly art, music and physical education classes.
All students also take scheduled trips to the library.
Understanding that different methods and environments are optimal for learning at certain ages, classes for students in grades Senior Kindergarten-3 are self-contained. Classes in grades 4-6 are departmentalized, preparing students for life in junior high.
The learning does not end when the school day does, and those needing an extended day can enroll in the Academy’s After School Care (ASC) program.