Lower School at McClelland is grades kindergarten through 4th. These classrooms are characterized by hands-on, exploratory learning with thematic units being used through second grade. Parents and students can expect a variety of field trips, special speakers and projects to help students become engaged in the learning process and become lifelong learners.
Social studies and science are taught using thematic units in kindergarten through 2nd grade. Beginning in 3rd grade and continuing through 8th we use TCI’s History Alive! history curriculum. Based on proven teaching strategies and practices, TCI’s programs bring learning to life and achieve consistent, positive classroom results. TCI’s curriculum has been specially curated to meet state standards, create engagements in lessons and help students better understand the content through hands-on and experiential exercises. At McClelland science is taught using Discovery Education. Our science teachers bring real-world, engaging educational content from partners like MythBusters, Cheddar, NBA, Shark Week, MLB and Street Science into the classroom with Discovery Education. This ever-growing collection offers a variety of resources that mirror the unique interests of students, helping them make relevant and lasting connections between science and their everyday lives.
Students are taught grade-level appropriate math instruction using national standards. We use Mountain Math to keep our math spiral tight and to ensure our students have grasped the concepts they need. We believe in a hands-on approach to math education using manipulatives and real-life application to bring math to life for our students.
READING & WRITING
Reading and writing are taught at McClelland in grades kindergarten through 8th using Lucy Calkin’s Units of Study. Reading and writing workshops are deliberately designed to offer a simple and predictable environment so that the teacher can focus on the complex work of observing students' progress and teaching into their needs. Students are assessed throughout the year with Lucy Calkins and are benchmarked in grades K-3 three times annually to track their reading progression using DIBELS. Students in grades 2nd through 8th grade also take the Terra Nova annually.
At McClelland, lower school teachers use Handwriting Without Tears to develop penmanship and handwriting skills. We introduce cursive using this same curriculum in second grade and continue to develop it through fourth grade. Studies show that visual-motor skills, such as eye-hand coordination, are associated with academic achievement. Scientists have found that developing fine motor skills in early childhood can predict not only writing success but better performance in reading and math in elementary school.
At McClelland, we wait to introduce technology to the classroom until third grade. At this time, students will be assigned a Chromebook that stays in the third and fourth-grade classrooms. Students will use their Chromebooks for intentional typing instruction with the Keyboarding Without Tears curriculum. They also begin to use their Chromebooks for research projects and learning to create reports on Google Slides, Google Docs, and Google Sheets.
At The McClelland School, all our students receive Spanish, music, art, and P.E. from specialists teachers that are experts in their field. In the Lower School, these teachers collaborate with our classroom teachers to develop lessons that are age-appropriate and reflect the other learning in the classroom. For example, if students are learning about Native American history, they may study about Native American art and create a Kachina doll in art class and may learn about Native American music in music class.
Through our social-emotional learning curriculum, Sanford Harmony, our students begin learning skills such as sharing, communication, and empathy. Using age-appropriate materials, teachers facilitate lessons and activities that enhance students’ communication and relationship-building skills. The five themes of Sanford Harmony are Diversity and Inclusion, Empathy and Critical Thinking, Communication, Problem-Solving, and Peer Relationships. Each of the Harmony themes addresses an important need in schools to create positive and proactive environments that support student success.