Elementary Program (Kindergarten Through Fourth Grade)

The Lower School is the beginning of our students’ formal academic journey. It is also a time of individual growth – a time to discover new ideas, be inspired, and nurture growing interests. We believe that a balanced program focusing on essential skills and spiritual development helps produce future leaders.

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We seek to achieve this goal by:

  • Following an innovative and sequential learning program that is consistent with standardized assessments, common core state standards (CCSS) and next generation science standards (NGSS)
  • Having a diverse and experienced faculty who support the mission and vision of the school and is dedicated to ensuring that all students excel and thrive academically and socially.
  • Placing emphasis on active learning through exploration, experimentation and discovery, which enhances the skills of design thinking, independent thinking, critical thinking, and problem solving.
  • Meeting the learning needs of all students using varied teaching methods, technology tools, learning centers, and flexible grouping.
  • Promoting a love for reading and building of literacy skills through extensive classroom libraries, bi-weekly library visits, author visits, mystery readers, and an annual Read Across America Day Celebration.
  • Imagining, designing, creating, and building in the school’s Makerspace
  • Scheduling stimulating field trips that enrich the curriculum and extend the joy of learning beyond the classroom walls
  • Exposing students to the arts: fine art, music and drama
  • Living and learning Islam on a daily basis in a real-world setting
  • Garden-based learning in the Peace Garden as well as other spaces around the school that support a deep understanding of the environment and sustainability
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Math in Focus

Math in Focus (MIF) is especially strong in developing conceptual understanding. It differs from the original Singapore series in that it is also aligned with the NCTM (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics) standards… the math standards that prevail in the U.S. However, unlike most programs aligned with the NCTM standards, it does not try to teach every concept every year.

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Instead, it focuses on fewer topics but teaches them thoroughly so they need not be retaught continually. A major focus is upon preparing students for success in algebra. Consequently, algebraic thinking and expressions are introduced early and used frequently throughout the series.

Throughout the series, concepts are taught moving through a sequence of concrete to pictorial to abstract. Concrete learning happens through hands-on activities with manipulatives such as counters, coins, number lines, or Base Ten Blocks™. Pictorial learning uses pictures in student books, drawings, or other forms that illustrate the concept with something more than abstract numbers. The abstract stage is the more familiar way most math problems are taught and practiced with numbers and symbols. Manipulatives are used throughout all levels, but they are used much more frequently in younger levels than older. But even at fifth grade level, manipulatives are still used occasionally, while pictorial illustrations are prevalent in all the lessons—far more than in other upper elementary programs.

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