Lower School (Grades 1-5)
Venture into the hallways of NSU University School's Lower School and you will witness children who are joyfully engaged in learning, whether in the classrooms, the hallways, or the outdoors. In addition to emphasizing proficiency in reading, writing, and math, our Lower School curriculum focuses on world languages, social studies, science and innovation, physical education, and character development. Music and visual arts are also an integral component of our curriculum as they help to develop creativity, open-ended thinking, and cooperation.
We know that children are naturally curious, and our Lower School educational team cultivates each child’s curiosity and imagination, inspiring a love of learning. The Lower School curriculum is research-based, meeting children at their academic level of readiness. We guide our students to take risks, stretch themselves, and become critical thinkers, preparing them to meet and surmount high academic standards.
We also know that children learn best when they are given hands-on activities, which can take many forms. In the Innovation Lab, students build working robots out of technology scraps. To learn about supply and demand and sales and profits, fourth grade students sell gently used toys to raise money for a non-profit organization. Our youngest students are often the source of the biggest ideas at USchool. Our goal is to ignite learners’ minds in limitless ways.
- Personalized Instruction in the Classroom
- THRIVE (4th and 5th Grade)
- Electives (Grades 3-5)
- Innovation and Science Labs
- After school activities
- Special events
- Student leadership
Lower School finds the best in all of our students by providing them with multifaceted classrooms and an instructional methodology that differs from traditional models. Our faculty members approach the teaching and learning process by identifying differences in children and finding their best learning styles. Teachers act as facilitators and enable students to be the center of the decision-making process. Classroom learning is considered to be active and engaging.
- Student learning profiles control instruction (readiness, interest, etc.).
- Assessment is diagnostic and ongoing.
- Multiple options and choices are common.
- Academics receive an interdisciplinary approach, curricular integration, and a thematic approach.
- Varied instructional arrangements are used on a regular basis.
- Integrated use of technologies enhance individual student learning.
Our fourth and fifth grade students have the opportunity to participate in a unique program called THRIVE, which focuses on teaching organizational skills, study skills, goal making, time management, prioritization, how our brains control our body, and the exploration of fixed versus growth mindset.
Over the course of eight weeks through a series of discussions, students are able to learn how to effectively plan for the week, both academically and socially, and learn to approach life with the idea that they can accomplish anything through hard work.
In grades three through five, students have the opportunity to explore their interests and choose an elective. This elective is offered one day during their "specials" rotation and runs throughout the school year.
Students can choose to explore:
DRAMA (GRADE 5 ONLY)
Lower School Drama is an introduction to theatre. Students will practice movement, vocal exercises, improvisation, script writing, and will read scripted material to increase knowledge of theatre and comfort in speaking publicly. Most of all, students will have fun and learn about theatre arts while creating a character, play, or working on a game.
MUSICAL THEATRE (GRADES 3 & 4 ONLY)
Musical Theatre is a class where students learn the fundamentals of movement theatre, including vocals, choreography, acting, and stage elements. Throughout the year, students will have the opportunity to learn and explore an assortment of musicals and prepare a short musical presentation for the Lower School in the Spring.
DIGITAL ARTS - VIDEO PRODUCTION & DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY
The Digital Arts class is designed to introduce students to a variety of digital skills while encompassing creative and critical thinking. Students will sharpen these skills through participation in video production and digital photography. Students will explore each component of digital arts for one semester.
COMPUTER CODING & ROBOTICS
The Computer Coding and Robotics class introduces and builds concepts in basic computer coding and VEX Robotics. Students will apply their critical thinking to create original coding programs. In Robotics, students work together in small groups to problem solve and build a working robot. Students will complete one semester of computer coding and one semester of robotics.
DANCE (GRADE 5 ONLY)
The Dance elective is a developmentally appropriate movement and dance activities class. It is a choreography based co-ed class that explores ballet, jazz, hip-hop, and modern dance styles. Students will have the opportunity to participate in the annual dance concert, however, participation is optional. In order to participate in the dance concert, students must be available for both performances and the dress rehearsal. Performance dates will be announced at the beginning of the school year.
The Strings class is designed to introduce students to the violin. Students will learn to read notes in first position and play familiar melodies. Technique and proper form will be stressed. Students will have the opportunity perform at the end of the year in the Spring Concert with the Middle and Upper School students. A limited number of violins can be rented from the instructor or can be rented from local music stores.
BAND (GRADE 5 ONLY)
This class provides students in fifth grade with an opportunity for beginning instruction on a traditional wind band instrument (flute, clarinet, trumpet, trombone, etc.) Using a standard band method book, students on different instruments can progress in both individual skills and group ensemble. The class will prepare them for advancement to Middle School Band.
WORLD LANGUAGE - SPANISH OR FRENCH
World Language in the Lower School is part of the specials’ wheel rotation. Students may choose to study Spanish or French. During this class, students will be introduced to learning basic conversation in French or Spanish, as well as an introduction to the culture.
Children are naturally curious; this quickly becomes evident as one observes them interact with the world around them. Our Lower School students learn about science by doing science. Hands-on activities, carefully crafted experiments, and regular visits to our Science Lab expose students to the scientific process of hypothesizing, classifying, comparing, making predictions, observing, and drawing conclusions.
Many of these concepts carry over into the Innovation Lab where students explore concepts of engineering, programming, robotics, and STEM skills through hands-on activities and experiential methods. Technology is naturally embedded into many activities in the Science and Innovation labs, as well as in their classrooms every day. Both labs lend themselves to guided and authentic discover, building each student's interest in the evolving world in which we live.
The After School Activity Program provides opportunities for students to pursue interests and talents beyond the regular school curriculum. This program supplements the daily experiences of NSU University School students by providing specialized instruction in a variety of areas weekday afternoons, between the hours of 3:30 and 5:00 p.m., on a fee basis.
Some classes include, but are not limited to:
- Art for Beginners
- Yoga and Mindfulness
- VEX Robotics
- Lego League Robotics Jr.
- Cooking Classes
- Gymnastics and Tumbling
- Hip Hop
- Musical Theatre
After care is also available from 3:15-5:45pm at an extra charge. Early morning supervision is provided daily from 7:30-8:05am at no charge.
- Afternoon of Art
- Book Clubs
- Book Fairs
- Career Day
- Cultural Unity Week and Fair
- Engineering Week
- Fairytale Festival
- Field Day
- Grandparent's and Special Friend's Day
- Hour of Code
- International Feast
- JA BizTown
- Junior Author Celebration
- Key Club Carnival
- Leadership Breakfast and Retreat
- Make-a-Wish Market
- Math Olympiads
- Mind Lab Tournaments
- Mother's Day Tea
- Noetic Math Competition
- Penny Harvest
- People Fair
- Shark Tank Jr.
- Souper Bowl of Caring
- Spelling Bee
- Thanksgiving Feast
- Theatrical Performances
- Word Master Challenge
- 50th Day of School Celebration and Sock Hop
- 100th Day of School Celebration