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Academics & Arts

Primary School (K-Grade 5)

In Laurel’s Primary School (Kindergarten-Grade 5), innovative teachers design curriculum that dare each girl to step up, to challenge herself, to reach beyond what she already knows. We partner with parents to celebrate each girl as we propel her through the remarkable transformation from curious Kindergartener to confident Fifth Grader.

The Primary years at Laurel are strategically divided into two experiences.

The foundational years of Kindergarten-Second Grade are best served in our more traditional environment of the Lyman Campus, while by the time Laurel girls are in Third Grade, they are ready for more independence and new and innovative ways to hone their budding leadership skills and intellectual curiosity at our Butler Campus.

Initiatives and Leadership in Primary School

List of 5 items.

  • Interdisciplinary Learning and Immersive Experiences

    Students learn best when instruction is relationship-based, and they retain information when learning is engaging and relevant, and feedback is offered in real time. In Grades K-2, learning is hands-on and grade-level themes extend to specials so students can explore themes through multiple disciplines, bringing the content to life. Kindergarteners engage with the world around them through their study of homes and habitats; First Graders think about their place in the world as they study families—now, long ago, near and far; and Second Graders focus on natural resources and how they impact how people live.

    Place-based, experiential learning takes center stage in Grades 3-5. The Butler Campus offers unparalleled facilities and resources to execute interdisciplinary units at each grade level including National Parks and Play & Playgrounds in Third Grade; Power & Purpose, Interdependence in Colonial America, and The Suffrage Movement in Fourth Grade; and Renewable Energy, Interactions with Ecosystems, and Human Impact in Fifth Grade.
  • enVision® Mathematics

    The Primary School uses enVision® Mathematics as it combines problem-based learning and visual learning to deepen students’ conceptual understanding, math fluency, and the ability to transfer that knowledge and skill to new applications. The enVision® Mathematics curriculum focuses on student understanding with Problem-Based Learning and Visual Learning; and provides formative and summative assessments that allow instruction to be specifically tailored for each girl from support to enrichment. The enVision® Mathematics program is based on the national academic standards in mathematics endorsed by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM). These measures include both content and mathematical practices that outline the areas in which each girl should be able to show proficiency by the end of her current grade level.
  • Community Building

    While the days are mostly spent at Lyman Campus for K-Grade 2 and at Butler Campus for Grades 3-5, days are planned throughout the year for each group to spend time at both campuses. Kindergarten-Second Grade students head to the Butler Campus at least once each month for LAB (Learning at Butler) Days to enjoy interdisciplinary activities that tie into classroom work. They are challenged to tackle problems and create solutions while engaging in animal tracking, understanding the physics of why snowshoes work, testing water quality during pond study all while spending time with their Butler Buddies engaging in nature, art or reading. Buddies get to spend even more time together when Third-Fifth Grade students make periodic visits to the Lyman Campus for all-school assemblies and celebrations and to work in the Collaboratory, Laurel’s makerspace. While our Primary School takes shape across two campuses, our community thrives as both younger and older girls spend purposeful time together.
  • Biking Program

    Learning to ride a bike is a cornerstone of the Kindergarten-Second Grade physical education curriculum. Biking is a great way to build skills, confidence, and resilience. During P.E. class, students work on biking skills and every Kindergarten-Second Grader can ride a 2-wheeler before leaving the Lyman Campus! When girls arrive at the Butler Campus in Third Grade, they are poised to take their bike, from our school-provided Bike Fleet, and use it as her main mode of transportation to get around the 150-acre campus. In addition to riding the bikes to further develop gross motor skills and learn proper biking traffic signals, Third-Fifth Graders learn bicycle maintenance and the engineering principles behind how bikes work.
  • Leadership

    Leadership is a thread that runs Kindergarten through Fifth Grade–from daily or weekly classroom jobs or stewardship roles to being role models for younger Buddies. Primary students are called to make their classroom, campus and school a better place by upholding important community norms and standards for behavior and contributing to the culture of our school in meaningful and productive ways. Second and Fifth Graders have particular roles that they fulfill as leaders—from class announcements to additional community expectations. Primary School student leaders are empowered to not only fulfill their roles but to look for opportunities to improve or enhance the culture and community.

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