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Active learning has a distinct energy in DCD's Lower School

You can hear it in the sounds of children working on group projects, participating in class discussions, conducting experiments, and speaking during assemblies.  Faculty teams in each grade plan and teach the curriculum cooperatively, joining their academic expertise and knowledge of children’s developmental needs to foster the strengths of each child. Our understanding and respect for the many different ways by which children learn inform a solid curriculum thoughtfully designed with diverse learning styles in mind.

Themes provide a backdrop for cross-curricular learning

Immersion in a particular period of time or culture provides an enriching and colorful context for children to learn grade-critical skills and develop reasoning and problem solving capabilities.
Fourth Graders’ study of Medieval Times involves digesting theme related books in reading classes, making and designing hand-crafted shields with identifying crests in woodworking class, doing research projects in social studies, and writing persuasive letters to “the King” asking for a land grant to create a new fief.  All of this culminates in the Medieval Feast where students present their work to an audience of parents.
Second Graders enhance many of their skills in a year-long study of Native Americans. As the children “move” from east to west, they identify regional tribes, study their cultures through a variety of reading materials, and learn geography as they locate states and capitals on the map as they continue their journey. Using technology, their own artwork, and public speaking skills, students share the story of the Pilgrims and Wampanoags during DCD’s Annual Thanksgiving Assembly.

Lower School: Did You Know...

  • Learning to read for Grades 1 and 2 takes place in small, phonetic-based reading groups using a leveled library of popular fiction and nonfiction age-appropriate books
  • Reading to learn in Grades 3-5 is with book selections that are connected to topics in the social studies curriculum.
  • Math skills are acquired and reinforced with manipulatives, special hands-on projects, educational games, and technology
  • Students become writers by generating topics, planning a story, writing rough drafts, self, peer, and teacher editing and finally publishing work
  • 4th and 5th Graders take Spanish
  • Special capstone events occur throughout the year in each grade -- Insect Museum (1st), Storytelling at the Thanksgiving Assembly (2nd), Worlds Fair (3rd), Medieval Feast (4th ), Odyssey Story-telling and Greek Feast (5th)
  • Weekly Lower School Assemblies for community building, experience sharing, and practicing public speaking.
  • Open Circle time to support citizenship, acceptance and problem solving
  • After school Math Club and the Affinity Culture Club for Students of Color
  • Off campus learning opportunities with field trips throughout the year for all lower school children. 5th graders have a 3-night stay at The Stone Environmental School of New England
  • Serving communities with individual class projects and as a whole school in DCD’s annual Martin Luther King Jr Service Day

Lower School Team

List of 12 members.

  • Photo of Carla Haith

    Carla Haith 

    Head of Lower School
  • Photo of Joanna Bemis

    Joanna Bemis 

    Grade 5 Teacher
  • Photo of Stephanie Chiari

    Stephanie Chiari 

    Grade 5 Teacher
  • Photo of Christine Holden

    Mrs. Christine Holden 

    Grade 2 Teacher
  • Photo of Colleen Hultgren

    Mrs. Colleen Hultgren 

    Grade 3 Teacher
  • Photo of Kelly Kennedy

    Mrs. Kelly Kennedy 

    Grade 4 Teacher
  • Photo of Lynne Mayard

    Lynne Mayard 

    Grade 3 Teacher
  • Photo of Pamela Senese

    Pamela Senese 

    Grade 1 Teacher
  • Photo of Alyssa Sinclair

    Alyssa Sinclair 

    Grade 2 Teacher
  • Photo of Kimberly Wilson

    Kimberly Wilson 

    Grade 1 Teacher
  • Photo of Michelle Tarkulich

    Michelle Tarkulich 

    Grade 4 Teacher
  • Photo of Autumn Andrade-de León

    Sra. Autumn Andrade-de León 

    Grades 4-8 Spanish Teacher

Science Corner

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