Academics at Wyoming Seminary Lower School
PRIMARY DIVISION Early Childhood (Preschool, Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten): The early childhood programs are tailored to meet the developmental needs of children aged three, four, five and six. The class sizes are small, and the learning environments are modified appropriately for these ages. The curricula are coordinated with the entire Wyoming Seminary program and are integral to the early childhood program. Specials (i.e. chorus, library skills, creative movement and physical education) are introduced in Pre-K. Art and music are added in kindergarten, as well as foreign language once a week.
Elementary (grades 1 – 4): To accommodate the children’s tremendous growth in grades 1 – 4, each grade has a team of teachers who work together to nurture individual needs. In grades 1 – 4, children are assigned to a homeroom teacher who is responsible for most of their learning, especially in language literacy and mathematics. For given units of study, the grade-level team of teachers may meet with all the children, depending on their needs. Introductory foreign language classes (French and Spanish) begin in kindergarten, meeting once a week in grades K and 1, and twice a week in grade 2. Third and fourth grades meet for foreign language every other day. Specials (i.e., art, chorus, library skills, music and physical education) continue through the elementary grades.
MIDDLE SCHOOL DIVISION (grades 5-8): Upon entering the Middle School, students are grouped in two or more sections depending upon overall class size. They may be placed in these sections according to their instructional needs. Sectioning in some classes is determined by performance in school during the previous year, by standardized test scores and by teacher recommendations.
Aside from sectioning for developmental reasons, we also try to create different groupings in other subjects so that a child may spend some time with other students at his or her grade level. These different groupings help to promote social as well as academic growth.
Each middle school student takes the four major academic subjects (English, mathematics, science and social studies). In our middle school transitional grade 5, instruction occurs in a combination of self-contained and departmentalized classes; the students move from classroom to classroom. Most fifth graders and sixth graders take French or Spanish five days a week or studyskills. Seventh and eighth graders take French or Spanish and/or Latin. Critical reading, enrichment reading and study skill classes are offered in the seventh and eighth grades. Depending on students’ particular needs, these special courses may be taken in lieu of a foreign language with guidance gained from a psychoeducational report.
Middle school students also take concomitant courses in art, computer (grades 5-6 only), health, music and physical education. Physical education schedules are different for each grade. There is also a daily activities period that is used for assemblies, band/chorus rehearsals, occasional study halls and various other activities.
Every middle school student is assigned a faculty advisor during the fall term. He or she then meets with this teacher periodically throughout the school year to discuss his or her academic progress and other topics of mutual concern. Ideally the advisor and advisee will establish a close relationship that will ensure the student’s having an informed faculty advocate and adult friend at the Lower School.