At the Lower Division, students continue to form a solid basis in the fundamentals of learning, while practicing the good citizenship and Christian values they gained in Primary.
Emphasis is placed on the true mastery of reading in Form III (1st grade), since the student who learns to read in her early school years will read to learn in the years to come. Form III students also practice addition and subtraction math facts, utilizing fun computer programs as well as good old-fashioned paper-and-pencil practice to assure that they are ready for more complicated math concepts in Form IV (2nd grade). Writing skills become more advanced in Lower Division, growing from simple storytelling in Form III to more sophisticated essay writing in Form VI (4th grade). Spelling is emphasized from the beginning of Form III, with tests and activities that reinforce the learning and correct spelling of words which become more advanced as the years progress.
We believe that technology is a natural complement to the traditional classical education that St. John’s offers. At the Lower Division, the School's iPad 3s are put to work in the classroom, one to each student, for special activities and projects, especially in subjects like science and history, and interface with our other existing technology to augment the students’ knowledge. We also utilize ELMOs, SMART Boards, and touch screen and traditional computers in the classroom to reinforce concepts and make learning fun. During the summer months, all faculty on each campus attended an intensive training workshop to learn how best to utilize their iPads for the benefit of their students at every age.
When students move to the Lower Division campus, they get the benefit of being able to worship daily in historic St. John's Church on Orleans Avenue.
When students move to the Lower Division campus, they get the benefit of being able to worship daily in historic St. John's Church on Orleans Avenue. On Wednesdays, students, faculty, staff, and parents celebrate a full Eucharist led by one of the School chaplains. On remaining days of the week, the chaplains and Headmaster lead a shorter chapel service with hymns, bible readings, and a child-centric, accessible sermon.
There are plenty of extras at the Lower Division. Students enjoy field trips, including two annually during the fall and spring to a theme park like Legoland or a museum like MOSI. There is at least one author visit a year by a children's writer whose work is used as a jumping-off point for discussion and learning. The whole Division assembles often for educational and fun seminars and entertainers who have included Harvard's singing group Bakers' Dozen, live animal visits from Busch Gardens, and workshops on healthy habits from More Health.