Academics
Lower Schools
Lower School for Girls

Division Head Welcome

Welcome to Lower School for Girls

Dear Lower School Families,

Welcome!

The Lower School for Girls is a supportive and vibrant community. We have a dedicated and experienced faculty who make it a priority to know each girl’s strengths, challenges, and interests. Our girls feel comfortable and safe here in our cozy setting so they embrace the opportunities to take risks in their thinking and their work.

In the Lower School for Girls, we value our students’ learning process as much as their finished products. Girls learn to explain their thinking clearly and to appreciate the effort that goes into making decisions and producing quality products.  

Collaboration is an element of girls’ education that we value highly. Here at SCH, girls in the Lower School have regular opportunities to work together in their classes. From partner reading, to solving math problems in teams, to constructing a project in social studies, our girls thrive when learning and communicating with one another.

We also offer the girls many opportunities for leadership in their time in Lower School. Our Community Council and Eco Club provide girls with the chance to make policy decisions that meaningfully affect the school. Our fourth graders kick off the year with our traditional Leadership Day, which excites them for their many responsibilities within the division throughout their final year in Lower School.

Warmly,
Head of Lower School for Girls

Program Highlights

List of 9 items.

  • “Boots-On” Approach to Environmental Education

    Beginning in Pre-K, students engage in outdoor study every year of Lower School, using the neighboring Wissahickon as their outdoor laboratory. During their study of owls in science, 2nd graders go on a nighttime Owl Prowl, and in their study of streams, 3rd graders trace a stream from its origin to its convergence with the Wissahickon Creek. Third grade raises trout eggs starting in the fall and releases the fish into the creek in the spring.
  • Learning Physics and Engineering by Doing

    In the Lower School Maker Spot and Physics and Engineering Lab, girls build, create, experiment, and explore the basic principles of design, physics, and engineering through exploratory play. The Physics Lab is also home to the Lower School for Girls’ Junior FIRST LEGO League teams. The Maker Spot is space designated for more long-term projects, filled with opportunities of inquiry and critical thinking, such as 4th grade creating a cardboard arcade for our Community Night as part of the international “Cardboard Challenge.” Authentic learning at its best.
  • Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership

    Discovering the power of empathy and problem solving by thinking collectively, creating, and responding to real-world needs. Project-based CEL learning experiences engage girls with the larger, global community, hone their entrepreneurial mindset, and build a sense of “can do.” Kindergartners use their critical thinking skills to design a new home for their growing classroom bunnies. While studying monarch butterflies, 1st graders determined they could collect and package milkweed seeds to help promote plant growth to feed all the butterflies as they migrate.
  • Access to the Latest Learning Technologies

    A VidCast Studio with a green screen, 18 Apple workstations, SMART Boards, video and photography equipment, editing and gaming software, and training in coding (starting in 2nd grade) are all part of a Lower School girl’s learning toolbox. Using these technologies, as well as iPads (1:1 in grades 1-4) in the classroom, students become adept researchers, content creators, and presenters during their time in Lower School.
  • Learning as a Community

    Annual weeklong, division-wide cross-curricular focus on one topic, including literature study where students read the same book and then participate in mixed-age creative group activities to explore themes of the book.
  • A Comprehensive Outdoor Program

    A variety of trips and outdoor adventures offered in grades 2 through 4 introduce Lower School girls to the outdoors. Through these experiences they learn outdoor skills, build confidence and independence, and develop a greater appreciation of the intrinsic value of nature. Trips are focused in four areas: Developing Outdoor Skills; Exploring the Wissahickon Valley Watershed; Broadening Horizons: Curriculum-Based Destination Trips; and Parent/ Child Bonding: Building Skills Together. Third grade also includes an overnight camping trip with a parent to Daniel Boone Homestead to start their journey into exploring American history in depth in fourth grade.
  • Research-Based Social-Emotional Learning

    Through programs such as Responsive Classroom, Second Steps, and Steps to Respect, girls build their social competencies, practicing cooperation, collaboration, assertion, and empathy. The interactive curriculum provides girls with explicit instruction on applicable problem-solving strategies to understand the importance of doing the right thing. Proactive teaching promotes the ability to identify emotions and further stretch each girl’s emotional intelligence.
  • Abundant Opportunities to Learn Leadership Skills

    From the Eco Club spearheading a new no-waste initiative in the cafeterias, to producing a weekly Lower School newscast, to participating in 4th grade Leadership Day, Lower School girls enjoy many opportunities to learn, model, and exercise leadership. A Community Council is formed each year with 3rd and 4th grade students working hand in hand with the faculty and Head of Lower School for Girls to further strengthen their perseverance and to teach the importance of service learning.
  • Field Trips

    Lower School students extend their learning experience with field trips off campus. 

    PRE-KINDERGARTEN

    • Train Trip into Philadelphia to Tour City Hall: The Pre-K girls have a wonderful opportunity to visit City Hall in March, travel to the top of the tower, look down on the city, and see William Penn above. This trip is a culminating activity for the unit on Ezra Jack Keats and city living. We talk about what a city is, transportation, history, buildings, and city government. When the girls return to the classroom, they build tall buildings and roads as they create their own city. City Hall Train Trip Video
    • Walking Trip in the Wissahickon for a Ladybug Picnic”: The Pre-K girls also go on a “ladybug picnic” where they release hundreds of ladybugs and march down to Valley Green to have lunch. Ladybug Picnic Video
    KINDERGARTEN
    • Apple Mountain: The Kindergarten girls’ fall adventure is to hike to the top of Apple Mountain (really a large hill in the Wissahickon). In preparation for the trip, we taste and graph out our favorite kind of apple. Then, with apples packed, we follow our science teacher through our woods, leading up to Apple Mountain. Our hike lends itself to science exploration along the way, as the girls discover how fall affects the woods. Once we have reached the top of the mountain, everyone finds a spot to enjoy their apple. Before we head down the mountain, the girls gather and throw their cores over the mountaintop, thrilled to leave a treat for the animals to find later. Then we head back down to school to write and share about our fun-filled trip.
    1ST GRADE
    • African Safari in the Wissahickon: The African safari is an imaginative trip to Kenya. The girls board a plane, which is on the field next to the Wissahickon. We use our classroom-made passports and luggage to board the picnic table plane. We then land and take out our journal to write about all the animals and things we see. We try to write the names of the animals in Swahili because all of the girls have researched their favorite one.
    2ND GRADE
    • Colonial Plantation in Newtown Square: The oldest working farm in Pennsylvania. During our social studies unit, we focus on life in Pennsylvania during the Colonial times. This annual field trip provides hands-on experiences related to 18th century farm life. During our 3.5 hour program, students try candle making, farm chores, crafts, weaving, spinning, and Colonial toys and games.
    3RD GRADE
    • University of Pennsylvania Museum – Ancient Egypt Exhibit: Students visit the splendor of Merenptah Palace and see enormous columns and gateways. They are immersed in hieroglyphs and see artifacts of daily life in Ancient Egypt.
    • Camping Trip: The 3rd grade trip to the Daniel Boone Homestead in Birdsboro, PA allows our girls to experience the joys of spending time outdoors, sleeping in a tent, going fishing, playing games, and practicing being members of the Revolutionary militia. Each girl is accompanied by a parent and one of the highlights is the parent-daughter kickball game!
    4TH GRADE
    • Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty: As a culmination to their Gilded Age history unit, the 4th grade girls and their families travel to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty where they learn about and experience immigrant life. A great trip to end their Lower School years.
    OVERNIGHT TRIP
    • 3rd grade to Daniel Boone Homestead

Did you know...

…our Lower School designed and created a Maker Spot as an extension of our Lower School Physics Lab. Here students apply physical concepts and engineering principles to design, build, tinker, and collaborate to solve problems.
 
…Kindergarten girls used electronic Little Bytes to create a large 3D mural as part of their Insect Study.
 
…1st grade girls studying honeybees created an informational fair to educate the community about the decline in the honeybee population.
 
...3rd grade students designed stormwater management models using only recycled materials.
 
…4th grade girls proposed, designed, and built products that use motors to generate electricity and power lights.
 
...4th grade girls take turns writing, editing, producing, and serving as “on-air personalities” for a weekly news broadcast about Lower School.