Social Studies and Science in the Lower School are organized around chosen topics or themes. Students’ interests/questions are often the springboard into a particular area of study. These may arise through use of literature, current events, class trips or observations made in their indoor or outdoor environment.
In Social Studies in the early grades we focus on children’s immediate social environments (family, classroom, school, town). As students progress through Lower School they broaden their view by studying states, countries, and historical periods (for example, Medieval Times, Colonial Times, the Civil Rights Movement, immigration). We value understanding and respecting people in different settings and involve the children in many service projects that relate to both the school community and the local community. Also, students learn map skills and study geography.
In addition to having Science organized around themes in the classroom (for example, insects, water, the solar system, metamorphosis), students in grades Prekindergarten through fourth experience hands-on activities with a science teacher. During Science in both the classroom and in the lab, students are taught to hypothesize, observe, experiment, record data, and form conclusions. In the older grades students work with the science teacher to learn proper lab techniques and to perform experiments. Class discussions help focus what students have observed and relate it to information they have read in reference books.
For a few days each year (three days and two nights), school for Third and Fourth Grade students is held in an outdoor setting. The Third Grade visits Camp Bernie, a YMCA camp situated in the hills of Hunterdon County, at Port Murray, New Jersey. Fourth Grade visits Camp Ockanickon, also a YMCA camp, located in Medford, NJ. While in their “outdoor schools’, students learn first hand about life in the forest, animals and their habitats, orienteering and cooperative problem solving. Additionally, students develop their knowledge of early New Jersey history, natural resources, industries, government, and famous people.