In the Lower School, children begin to build the skills and knowledge for participation as informed citizens living in a democracy. They are engaged as active participants in a wide range of in-depth, integrated topics that encourage both cooperative learning and independent inquiry.
Building on their own existing knowledge, students begin by studying themselves and move outward to family, school, and communities. Key tenets of civics, history, geography, and economics come to life through the use of open questions, observation, reading, writing, discussion, and debate. Teachers strive to incorporate the local community resources into classroom studies and welcome opportunities for exposure to varied backgrounds and cultures. A yearly highlight is Global Focus Week, which involves the entire Lower School in a shared study of one country or region. The following are major goals of the Lower School social studies program, divided by grade level.