From acorns to mighty oaks, Lexington School children grow. Grades one through five in Lower School assures the strongest academic and social/emotional foundation. The developmental philosophy continues as children work at their own appropriate paces finding challenges where they need to stretch and resource help when they need shoring up. Language arts, mathematics, and social studies are the core. In grades one through three, children move to additional "Specials" classes in science, art, music, Spanish, and physical education. These classes work to complement the active and exciting classroom curriculum.
In grades four and five, a gentle transition occurs. Individual student lockers facilitate the changing of classes from Language Arts and Social Studies, Mathematics, Science every single day. Their teachers are experts in their specific content area, and they work as a team with other departmental colleagues to develop an interdisciplinary experience all year long. Students belong to an advisory group, keep up with their own assignments, and also receive letter grades in some subjects.
While developing skills in writing, reading, research, problem-solving, and critical thinking, classes also emphasize character traits such as inclusiveness, respect for differences, self-sufficiency, cooperation, and leadership. As part of their growth, all fourth and fifth graders participate in Pin Oak Junior Student Council and Leadership. These "Mission Skills" are what students need to prepare for the rest of their lives, and their future successes will be proof of that.
Can your six year old do mental math? Build a house out of sugar cubes, and it can happen. Want to comprehend base tens, then obsess over the 100th day of school, enumerating everything in your path for a couple of weeks, and it happens without your even knowing it. First grade is chock full of clever teaching tricks, and first grade teachers will tell anyone that they live for the light bulb. That inevitable day when the light bulb turns on in its individual way is magical! First grade is something special at The Lexington School. Four sections of 12-14 students, first grade curriculum is horizontally-aligned, which means for each teacher, you get four teacher brains. Teachers meet regularly to plan and brainstorm, to differentiate curriculum and an individualized approach for each student. Increasingly academic, the focus is on teaching skills in creative, student-centered, hands-on ways, providing plenty of movement and stimulation for these young, curious, and active minds. Risk taking is part of the first grade philosophy, and it comes in a variety of forms depending on the child. From reading aloud to the class, or writing the first page for a Writer’s Guild book; from performing on Grandparents Day to jumping to the next, more challenging math concept, first graders take bold steps each day. They know it is okay to try new things because they know their teachers love care about them, and if at first they don’t succeed, they have their teachers right there to pick them up, brush them off, give them a big pat on the back, and help them try again. It is through this careful, individualized approach that first graders develop the appropriate skills and confidence they need for the next step in their Lexington School journey…on to second grade!
You know why it doesn’t matter which teacher you get in second grade? At The Lexington School, you get them all. Through a teamwork methodology that you don’t find successful in many schools, all second grade students experience the nurturing, fastidious, and hilarious personalities of all three teachers through a horizontally aligned curriculum that takes place in a self-contained classroom, but which often takes the form of a rotation through each classroom, sometimes even mixing up the classmates! Active learning takes many different forms at The Lexington School. Something of great value in an independent school is the flexibility with schedule and curriculum our teachers and students enjoy. Our second graders enjoy movement, action, and creativity on a daily basis. Meanwhile, the teachers continue to differentiate in classes of 16 so each child gets to stretch his/her mind as far as it will go.
Third grade children experience the most meaningful changes to their social and emotional development in their lives up to this point. Between second and fourth grade comes a milestone of development for children as they learn about themselves and about the world around them. Third grade students at The Lexington School become ready to see themselves as part of a community, work with abstract concepts like fractions of a whole, and develop responsibility and independence at home and in the classroom. The third grade teachers at The Lexington School believe that children need the right blend of support and challenges to bolster their spelling and vocabulary skills, develop fluency in reading, and gain a passion for writing. In third grade math, many of the units of instruction introduced during winter and early spring focus on fractions and decimals in all sorts of different ways. At this point in the year, third grade students will begin to understand what their parents already knew. Being one student in a classroom of 16 (instead of 24 or even 30) means that each student will share more often, will be called on more frequently, and will have more one-on-one time with the teacher. It means that teachers will know their students and understand each learner's style and individual needs. It means that each student will have a greater responsibility in the classroom community, and each student will have a bigger share of everything great that happens in third grade. At The Lexington School, one way we keep student achievement high is by keeping class sizes low.
What do P.E., art, music, computer science, science, language arts and social studies at The Lexington School all have in common? Kentucky Heritage Days! In fact, for six weeks in the middle of fourth grade, all of these subjects come together in a giant, interdisciplinary effort to explore Kentucky history and heritage. From folk dancing, visiting and writing journals on life in old Boonesboro, singing folk songs, exploring the trees and leaves of native Kentucky, to creating PowerPoint presentations with hand-drawn artwork, fourth grade students connect all of the Kentucky heritage dots. The culmination of this journey back in time is a two-hour dramatic and artistic performance in which every student plays a role. Interdisciplinary education happens at The Lexington School, and fourth grade Kentucky Heritage Festival is just one of many 4th grade examples.
At The Lexington School it is not enough to read about how electricity works. Instead, fifth grade science students, soldering irons in hand, build circuits that make light and sound. Velocity, torque, momentum? Imagine a room full of roller coasters made of foam plumbing tubes that twist and curve and hang from the ceiling, and to add some additional problem solving, throw in a Rube Goldberg invention at the bottom where something must occur like an oil spill, a fried egg, or even the pouring of a Coke. This is fifth grade science, and it is just one example of a horizontally-aligned curriculum that takes them to the next level. With class sizes of 12, all of this can and does happen at The Lexington School, and each student is challenged in a way that maximizes his/her potential. The expectation moving into Middle School is high, and our students want to rise to it. With a curriculum that builds on the interdisciplinary approach of fourth grade, Lexington School 5th graders continue to reach great heights. Regularly scoring well on nationally-normed exams, over 80% of a typical Lexington School fifth grade will qualify for the Duke University Talent Identification Program. But more important than their test scores is the courage our fifth graders learn as they grow towards the next step, Middle School. Through critical thinking curriculum in science and math, rigorous standards in reading and writing, and confidence building experiences in the arts which includes a full-scale fifth grade musical in which each child has a role, Lexington School fifth graders are on their way, building towards becoming young people who know how to make wise choices and to overcome obstacles.