Our Lower School includes students from Kindergarten through Fourth Grade. All of our classes embrace the Tesseract philosophy of small class sizes with a low student-to-educator ratio, where students engage in an integrated thematic curriculum that promotes understanding over rote memorization. The learning environment in the Lower School is student-centered, experiential and collaborative. Students’ motivation and eagerness to learn come from an intrinsic interest in their world—trying new things, making mistakes and exploring new ideas. We believe how our students learn is equally as important as what they learn. We encourage our students to be out-of-the-box thinkers, problem solvers, collaborators, innovators, explorers, and creators.
We believe in educating the whole child by focusing on important core academic skills—reading, writing, science, social studies, and mathematics—while enriching the curriculum with foreign language, performing and visual arts, library, technology, physical education, service learning, field trips and guest speakers in a safe and supportive environment. Starting with our youngest students, curricular concepts and skills are introduced at age-appropriate levels, becoming more complex as students’ abilities progress throughout the Lower School program. In order to educate the whole child, it is essential to balance a strong academic foundation with a strong social curriculum that nurtures each individual and provides a sense of community.
Every morning, in every Lower School classroom, Tesseract students start out their day with the Responsive Classroom morning meeting, which includes greeting each other by name, participating in a group activity, sharing important information and planning the day. The Responsive Classroom approach continues throughout the day as students make academic choices, follow agreed upon rules and solve problems in appropriate ways. By fostering cognitive growth through social interactions, Tesseract students learn to be respectful, cooperative, assertive, responsible and empathetic, preparing them for successful interactions throughout their academic, social and professional lives. Public speaking, presentations, and listening skills are developed through school morning meetings. This is a time for our learning community to come together and share not only what they are learning, but information that is special to them—such as birthdays and other news—with the Lower School students and educators providing a supportive environment.
The Lower School students explore the cognitive neuroscience of the brain, discovering how the brain functions and the role it plays in the learning process. Building an awareness of the brain helps our students self-regulate, focus and have a stronger sense of self-awareness – all of which are a part of metacognition, or “thinking about thinking”. Our students learn how to approach learning with a growth mindset and to be mindful of their thoughts and actions.