Laying the Foundation for Curiosity & Learning
Guided by the school mission, the Lower School employs a multifaceted approach to teaching, providing academic challenges that encourage problem solving, collaboration and deep thinking.
Students engage in core subjects within a workshop model, allowing teachers to meet students where they are and push them to the next level.
Exploring the World & Learning
Opportunities for learning are not limited to the Lower School classrooms. From pre-kindergarten to fourth grade, students enjoy regular off-campus field trips to engage with and benefit from the richness of our broader Houston community.
Importantly, community service is integrated into all areas of school life from the classroom to the playground. Through activities such as singing with senior citizens, packing care packages for our troops, and sharing books with students from a local early childhood center, students gain awareness of others that goes beyond the campus walls.
A commitment to balance is evidenced by providing ample time in special subjects such as science, art, music, Spanish, technology and daily physical education.
Additionally, the explicit and embedded teaching of Kinkaid’s four core values nurtures well-rounded, independent and thoughtful learners within a broader community.
The Lower School art curriculum is centered on providing authentic, choice-based artistic experiences for students of all ages. The emphasis is on creative problem solving, media exploration, and personal expression.
Elementary art instruction is geared toward providing a cohesive studio foundation as well as developing the student’s artistic interests. Lower School students of all ages are encouraged to explore different types of expression through art, and they have several opportunities to work with visiting artists or to participate in master classes to develop new skills.
Music classes in pre-kindergarten through fourth grade encompass a wide range of activities designed to develop music literacy as well as singing and instrumental skills. Elements of music are learned through rhymes, movement, songs, games, and creative play, all part of training to cultivate musical aesthetics as a performer and a listener.
As students expand on their experiences and learning in Lower School, they are encouraged to use what they have learned as a jumping-off point for their own musical exploration and creations. In addition to class activities, students have several opportunities throughout the year to perform for parents and peers.
The Lower School physical education program has been carefully designed to be fun and engaging, while helping students develop the knowledge, behaviors, skills, and confidence to be physically active the rest of their lives.
In the early grades, coaches begin with basic movement and embellish gross and fine motor skills as students progress. Throughout the year, students visit and revisit these foundational concepts while adding and developing more advanced skills to provide further depth and understanding. Each year brings age-appropriate challenges that give students opportunities for success and failure – knowing that growth occurs through both. By the time students are ready to enter Middle School, they have learned the necessary skills to transition into a more sports-oriented curriculum.
Lower School science develops the process skills that are critical to success throughout the elementary years and in Middle School. Our approach utilizes student-centered, independent thinking as well as small group collaboration. An inquiry-based model for learning that includes hands-on activities is employed to foster the students’ sense of wonder and curiosity.
Science inquiry includes identifying questions that can be answered through scientific investigations; designing and conducting those investigations; using appropriate tools and techniques to gather, analyze, and interpret data; thinking critically to make relationships between evidence and explanations; communicating scientific procedures and explanations; and using mathematics in all aspects of scientific inquiry. Additionally, students explore scientific concepts through the integration of technology in our science labs: laptop computers, iPads, LEGO robotics, and other interactive tools.
The pre-kindergarten through fourth grade Spanish curriculum focuses on communication as a foundation to second-language acquisition. Students communicate through partner conversations, using a wide variety of sentence structures, vocabulary, authentic language, and everyday expressions. Activities such as games, hands-on projects, creative play, and songs are also part of the curriculum, making Spanish acquisition a fun, positive, and rich experience.
Through educational videos, classroom discussions, children’s literature, music, art, and projects, students are able to contrast their own culture with other cultures, providing them with a better appreciation of other people and traditions.