The Lower School Program
The Lower School Program at St. Anne’s School of Annapolis draws its inspiration from the “Project Approach,” a fundamental approach to teaching and learning which is thoughtful, complex and organized.
Developed by educators Lilian Katz and Sylvia Chard and recognized by leading educators, the Project Approach is centered on an in-depth study of a topic or theme. Individual children, groups of children, or an entire class may carry out their study and present their findings in a variety of ways. The teacher guides the exploration, inviting students to discuss their previous experiences with a topic and to share their questions and interests on the subject.
We maintain an ideal learning environment for our Lower School’s Kindergarten through Fourth Grade students by keeping our class size small and our student-to-teacher ratio low. Our academically challenging program draws from a combination of traditional and innovative methods. Children are taught in a caring environment that inspires their curiosity, creativity and quest for knowledge. Lower school classes begin at 8:15 a.m. and end at 3:10 p.m.
In developing the Lower School curricula, our educators focus on:
- Children's existing knowledge and skills
- Building on prior knowledge and expanding current skills through supporting self-initiated and guided research
- Relationships and connections among areas of development and learning
- Children's unique learning profiles and patterns of development
- Application of skills to real-life situations
- How children learn independently and in a collaborative setting
- Designing experiences for children that provide opportunities for depth and understanding in their explorations
- The innate passion that children have for exploring their world
- Scope of knowledge and skills
- Sequence of knowledge and skills
- Relationships among areas of learning
- Application of skills to life situations
- Process of learning
The St. Anne’s School Difference
From the very beginning, our goal at St. Anne’s School is to educate the whole student – not only the student’s intellect, but also his or her social, emotional, physical and spiritual needs. We want each child to feel known and included, to know that his or her presence contributes fundamentally to our school community. We intentionally implement a comprehensive social curriculum throughout the Lower School Program that is a hallmark of our school. The social curriculum serves as the fabric into which all the critical, challenging academic tasks are woven every day. When students feel safe, cared for, and valued, they can take healthy risks required to tackle those tasks that strengthen their cognitive abilities as well as their social and physical abilities.
Education in the Lower School Program is centered on each child – not each child in isolation, but rather each child seen in relation with other children, with the family, with the teachers, with the environment of the school, with the community and with the wider society. Parents are important partners in their children's education and, therefore, in our program. Parents are an active part of their children's learning experience and, at the same time, become actively involved in the welfare and betterment of all children at St. Anne’s School.