Dr. Emma Whitman
Director of Lower School
(504) 891-5509

Lower School

In lower school, we build an academic foundation by igniting our students' natural curiosity through a hands-on approach to learning. We believe that small class sizes are the key to success. Our 5:1 student-to-teacher ratio allows us to focus on the individual child and fosters the development of critical thinking and self-confidence.

 

Lower School at a Glance

  • Average Number of Students: 150
  • More than 40 dedicated teachers and specialists
  • Pre-k and kindergarten classes integrate standards and objectives using the Project Approach, which emphasizes hands-on exploration of topics based on the students' interests through small and large group activities and discussions.
  • Grades 1-4 have vertically aligned curriculums in each subject area to ensure strong continuity and reinforcement of skills across grades.
  • Language arts and math classes are divided into small groups based on ability and learning style in each grade level.


LANGUAGE ARTS:
Using various materials, multi-sensory techniques and technology, we focus on laying the groundwork of strong phonological awareness and then building on the fundamentals of reading, writing, listening and speaking. Students work in small reading groups so that teachers can meet their individual needs. Our program includes reading strategies and literature, phonics, vocabulary, handwriting (cursive is taught in third grade), grammar, spelling, writing workshop, and listening and speaking skills.


MATHEMATICS:
 Beginning in pre-k, our program utilizes hands-on experiences to teach number recognition and early number sense. In kindergarten through fourth grade, students develop a deeper understanding of mathematical concepts and high-level problem-solving skills through daily problem-based interactive learning.


SCIENCE:
In pre-k and kindergarten, science standards and objectives are integrated into the classroom curriculum. Students explore topics of interest by conducting research, reading books, participating in field trips and listening to outside experts speak to the class. In grades 1-4, science is taught by subject specialists and is organized by topic:

  • 1st Grade: Living Things; Health; Magnets; The Earth
  • 2nd Grade: Living vs. Non-Living Things; Germs and Viruses; Properties of Matter and Light; Fossils and Dinosaurs
  • 3rd Grade: Biomes and Living Things (focus on the Wetlands); Nutrition and the Digestive System; The Solar System
  • 4th Grade: Earth's Resources; Bats; Deserts

SOCIAL STUDIES: In pre-k and kindergarten, social studies is integrated into the classroom curriculum, focusing on topics such as the community, neighborhoods, Louisiana and holidays. In grades 1-4, students explore the world around them through the following topics.

  • 1st Grade: Holidays; New Orleans Geography and Cultural History; Famous Americans
  • 2nd Grade: Native American Cultures; Ancient Egypt; National Symbols; Map Skills
  • 3rd Grade: Colonization of the Americas; World Explorers; Louisiana Geography
  • 4th Grade: Causes of the American Revolution; Founding of the United States; Medieval Times; U.S. Geography

FOREIGN LANGUAGE: Every child is exposed to the French language in lower school, beginning in pre-k. In kindergarten, through fourth grade, we build basic listening, speaking, reading and writing skills. Our program emphasizes only French being spoken in the classroom and incorporates the use of stories, plays, songs, games, puppets and gestures to present and reinforce vocabulary. Students also explore French culture and geography.


TECHNOLOGY:
Technology is integrated throughout the lower school classroom curriculum using various age-appropriate software and online resources. Our classrooms are outfitted with interactive SMART Boards and desktop computers. Additionally, students in pre-k through first grade utilize iPads for various group and individual activities, and students in grades 1-4 take computer classes that provide direct digital literacy and technical skill.


VISUAL ARTS:
In lower school, we aim to nurture self-expression and the art-making process so that students gain an understanding and appreciation of art. Our program progresses through increasingly complex activities of drawing, painting, collage, printmaking, sculpture and ceramics.


MUSIC: Beginning in pre-k, our program utilizes the Orff-Schulwerk method and includes singing, movement, music theory, instrumental instruction and music history. Students in kindergarten through fourth grade sing and/or play instruments at all St. George's services held throughout the year. Additionally, beginner band is offered to students in fourth grade.


PHYSICAL EDUCATION:
Our lower school program instills an early love of fitness and physical activity. In pre-k through first grade, we create a positive and enthusiastic environment that emphasizes individual expression through movement, personal body and spatial awareness and basic skills. Students in grades 2-4 are introduced to sports and team play and develop their proficiency according to ability level.


LIFE SKILLS:
 Facilitated by the school counselor, these ongoing classes for grades 1-8 focus on the development of character, providing opportunities for students to learn respect for self and others, responsibility, positive decision-making skills and the importance of being honest and trustworthy. Students are better prepared to navigate peer situations, build positive peer relationships and resist negative peer relationships.


CHAPEL:
All students in preschool through eighth grade attend chapel weekly, which crosses ethnic, religious and cultural backgrounds. We focus on instituting a love of learning, a love of self and a love of neighbor as well as our core values or integrity, perseverance, compassion and respect.