Lower School Academics
Students at Chattanooga Christian School are challenged to love God and to love each other. The Lower School curriculum is standards-based, utilizing the best national and state standards, and built on the foundation of biblically integrated essential questions and enduring understandings. Each student-centered classroom strives to build positive relationships between teacher and student to enhance the learning process. Our missional goal is to create a nurturing relationship between the school, home, and church. In order to help each student grow and develop to their full potential, teachers differentiate instruction based on student learning styles and interest.
The Lower School is a comprehensive elementary school program, consisting of PreK through 5th Grade.
Students in the Lower School at CCS have the opportunity to interact with information using a variety of modes. Lower School classrooms are engaging, fostering a love of learning across subject areas. Teachers have a high level of training on how to individualize instruction to meet each student's needs. Dynamic instruction which incorporates integrated units, project-based learning, and a variety of ways to access information creates a climate for students to understand and apply the information they have learned. This framework allows teachers to move students from their point-of-need to their peak-of-potential. Through our curriculum, teachers challenge students to apply their knowledge, think critically about what they have learned and to further inquire invarious ways and across subject areas. We align our curriculum with our integrated Bible instruction and a Christian worldview, so that our students are able to understand how everything in creation points back to Christ.
Literacy & Writing
Good readers are good writers. CCS uses a balanced literacy framework which includes modeled, shared, guided and independent reading and writing. Reading and writing instruction are taught in small groups according to individual student needs. With a variety of available print materials and technology resources, from the earliest ages, students begin the process of writing and conferencing about their writing.
CCS teachers have the ability to differentiate math instruction by teaching math to students using small groups. Manipulatives, technology, and projects can be useful tools for helping students make math connections with practical applications. The Go Math curriculum supports the ability to teach students to think critically about math and to go beyond facts and drills.
Bible is more than a course offered daily at CCS. Bible instruction is fundamental to all other teaching at CCS. Bible instruction is at the core of how we see every other area of academics. Since we believe that everything in creation points back to Christ and we are His stewards in this world, we strive to become supportive and cooperative members of society who point others to Christ.
In order to help students gain an understanding of and appreciation for God’s created order, our science curriculum focuses on units of study that include such things as human growth and development, plants, animals, astronomy, ocean life, simple machines, and many other conceptual areas that point our students to see God’s sovereignty in all things. Science instruction is integrated into reading, writing, history, and math so that students are able to make connections and see how science connects to every other subject area.
At CCS, we feel it is important to help students see history through the lens of God's faithfulness. Each grade level has a year of integrated curricular units mapped around a conceptual lens. This approach to teaching helps students to see how historical events connect to their other areas of study. We also believe that it is our responsibility to help students see where they are called and gifted to seek the Kingdom of God in the home, church, society, and culture. We strive to teach students how the past continues to influence our lives using Biblical principles.
- Physical Education (PE): Students in the Lower School meet daily for PE. Our students receive a minimum of 150 minutes weekly in the PE program, and have a minimum 30-minute daily recess. Structured and unstructured times of movement are important throughout the day. These movement opportunities help keep students engaged and focused. Daily exercise helps children to be attentive and perform better academically. PE instruction includes body awareness, eye-hand coordination, and small and large motor skills appropriate for the age of the student. PE promotes healthy, active lifestyles, increases physical fitness, and teaches movement and behavioral skills.
- Music: Music classes meet once a week and explore music using Kodaly methodology which introduces foundational skills at developmentally appropriate ages. Percussion and rhythm are taught through a variety of games and instruction. Students practice reading and writing music, building a repertoire of songs through a spiraling curriculum, culminating in playing recorder in 4th grade and keyboard in 5th grade. The 24-seat keyboard lab has individual keyboards and headphones for each child to enable them to self-pace their learning.
- Art: In the Lower School, the goal is to cultivate an appreciation of the arts that will bear fruit through our students as future creators, artists, and image-bearers. Students meet with the art instructor weekly for group instruction and activity. In the art room, they are able to express their individuality through hands-on learning using multiple mediums and artistic processes.
Students have experiences using digital technology through classroom integration, project-based learning, and computer science opportunities provided by our STEM initiative (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). The STEM projects allow our students to learn how to work collaboratively to solve real world problems. CCS believes that digital instruction should begin early in order to teach students good digital citizenship skills and equip them to be thoughtful digital learners.
CCS provides a comprehensive Exceptional Education Program to facilitate tutorial, accommodation, and modification services in accordance with educational plans developed by our Guidance and Exceptional Education Program staff.
We believe that assessment is vital to determine student growth and mastery—not just student achievement. We use both formative assessments (e.g., classwork, reading response, and homework) and summative assessments (e.g., formal tests, final projects, and final writing pieces) to evaluate a student’s mastery level of learning.
In addition to classroom assessments, Lower School students are given the NWEA standardized test twice a year. This intuitive assessment communicates a student’s point-of-need and peak-of-potential so that teachers can monitor a student’s progress through his or her learning of math and reading.
Chattanooga Christian School is accredited by AdvancED and the Southern Association of Independent Schools (SAIS). CCS is approved by the Tennessee Department of Education and is a member of Christian Schools International (CSI).
Our teachers, paraprofessional staff, and ancillary staff allow us to individualize instruction within the classroom with a low student-teacher ratio. Each PreK, Kindergarten, 1st Grade, and 2nd Grade class has both a teacher and a full-time paraprofessional.