Lower School


K-5th Grade

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  • Lower School

The Lower School is a comprehensive elementary school program with a standards-based curriculum built on the foundation of biblically-integrated essential questions and enduring understandings.

Cultivating Curiosity

First Grade teacher Schuyler Franks shares how integrating God's truth in her teaching increases curiosity and leads to greater wonder.

"Teaching truth in the Lower School looks like opening up God's Word and helping students apply its truths to all of their academic, spiritual, emotional, and physical lives. To teach truth, we can't leave God out of anything. He is the creator, sustainer, and redeemer of it all."

Schuyler Franks, Lower School Teacher

Increasing Wonder

Our teachers use engaging teaching methods and focus on individualized instruction and dynamic teaching practices. Lower School students receive explicit, direct phonics instruction in the early years and later focus on rich vocabulary, comprehension, and critical thinking as they learn to read. Math instruction focuses on reasoning and skill building using project-based learning and math manipulatives to encourage understanding. Both math and reading are taught in small group settings, which allows teachers to build trust, encourage participation, and assess learning.

Movement Matters

Moving promotes learning. To keep students focused and engaged, we dedicate 60 minutes every day to structured and unstructured physical activity. In addition, classrooms are outfitted with specially-designed furniture that frees children to wiggle and work together while they learn.

WATCH: Movement Matters at CCS
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Engaging Minds

Each classroom strives to build positive relationships between teachers and students to enhance learning. 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 fullest potential, teachers differentiate instruction based on student learning styles and interests. This framework allows teachers to move students from their point-of-need to their peak potential.

  • Integrated Learning Units
  • Individualized Instruction
  • Student-Centered Classrooms
  • Freedom to Move

Our Curriculum

Through our curriculum, teachers challenge students to apply their knowledge and think critically about what they have learned. 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.

List of 6 items.

  • Literacy

    Reading and writing instruction are taught through both large and small group instruction according to individual student needs. In the early grades, teachers focus on explicit phonics instruction while also encouraging young readers to read a variety of texts at their instructional level. Our approach to literacy fosters a love of reading through explicit teaching, focused practice that is individualized, dynamic read alouds in the classroom, independent reading, and exposure to a rich variety of available texts. From the earliest ages, students begin the process of writing and conferencing about their writing. Within each grade level, reading and writing instruction is directly connected to the grade-level integrated units so that reading and writing connections are made to other areas of study in science and social studies.
  • Math

    CCS teachers have the ability to differentiate math instruction by teaching math to students using small groups. Manipulatives, technology, and projects are useful tools for helping students make math connections with practical applications. The Into Math curriculum supports the ability to teach students to think critically about math and to go beyond facts and drills. Students achieve high levels of math reasoning and are able to grow at an individualized pace.
  • Bible

    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 members of society who point others to Christ. The Lower School uses the CSI Bible curriculum, and students grow in their Bible knowledge through focused study that builds year-by-year.
  • Science

    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, social studies, and Bible so that students are able to make connections and see how science connects to every other subject area.
  • Social Studies

    We believe 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.
  • Related Arts

    • Physical Education (P.E.): Students in the Lower School meet daily for P.E. Our students receive a minimum of 150 minutes weekly in the P.E. program, and have a minimum 30-minute daily recess. Structured and unstructured times of movement are important throughout the day. Daily exercise helps children to be attentive and perform better academically. P.E. instruction includes body awareness, eye-hand coordination, and the development of gross motor skills appropriate for the age of the student. P.E. 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 image-bearing future creators and artists. 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.
    • STEM: The state-of-the-art STEM room provides a space for students where coding and building occur in collaborative groups. A variety of robots, 3D printing devices, blocks, and materials are available and used to help students develop a strong foundation in STEM content areas.
    • Library: Students visit the library weekly to check out books, participate in activities, and hear read alouds. With thousands of books in our collection, students look forward to weekly opportunities to select new and exciting reading materials for home and school.
    • Keyboarding: Students in grades 4 and 5 are taught keyboarding each week. When students finish 5th grade, our goal is to have each student typing at a proficient level of words-per-minute.

Our Approach

List of 4 items.

  • Assessment

    Formative and summative assessments are used throughout the year and are an important part of measuring student growth and the effectiveness of teaching. We use assessments to monitor progress, but they are also used to determine if instructional practices are working, and if students are learning what is being taught. Tests, quizzes, projects, and writing pieces help teachers to evaluate student learning across content areas. In addition to classroom assessments, Lower School students in grades 2-5 are given the NWEA standardized test twice a year to measure growth in Math and Reading. This intuitive, computer-based, standardized test communicates a student’s starting point to an individual growth target, and a breakdown is given in four subsections of each subject area. This allows parents and teachers to measure yearly growth and for teachers to plan targeted instruction for greater individualized achievement.
  • Class Size

    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.
  • Exceptional Education

    CCS provides comprehensive Exceptional Education services to facilitate student growth through necessary evaluation, intervention, accommodations, and modifications. Exceptional Education professionals work with faculty and staff in order for teachers to be able to meet a variety of student needs across ability levels. Alternate reading and math curricula are used as needed for students who require a different means of instruction.
  • Technology Integration

    Students have multiple and varied experiences using digital technology through classroom integration, project-based learning, and computer science opportunities. Classroom STEM projects allow our students to learn how to work collaboratively in order to solve real-world problems. We believe that digital instruction should begin early in order to teach students good digital citizenship skills and to equip them to be thoughtful digital learners.