Lower Schools
Lower School for Boys

Division Head Welcome

Welcome to Lower School for Boys

Dear Lower School Families,
Welcome to SCH and the Lower School for Boys.
I have never met anyone who could not tell me about a great teacher he or she had in school—a teacher who has influenced the course of his or her life in important ways. 
At SCH we have educators who make long-lasting memories for our students by creating a positive, intentional, achievement-oriented culture in their classroom rooted in an ethos of fairness and nurtured by the belief that every student can succeed.
The boys bound out of cars and buses every morning, greeted by faculty and staff, and eager to begin the day. In our Lower School, the classrooms hum with excitement and are alive with conversation and the magic of learning as the boys develop their critical- and creative-thinking skills. We celebrate each boy’s energy and curiosity, and we design each day to be a new adventure, full of discovery. Whether it is reading a “just right” book, writing a personal narrative, or exploring the Wissahickon, the boys have opportunity to develop their academic skills and learn how they learn, to reach their full potential. 
Head of Lower School for Boys

Program Highlights

List of 7 items.

  • Becoming Strong Readers and Writers

    Each boy reads his own “just right” books on topics that interest him and develops his own voice through writing exercises (e.g., persuasive essays, personal narratives, expository texts), becoming comfortable both as an author and presenter through opportunities to share his work publicly during Author Days.
  • Home to the Imagineering Lab

    In this special creative space just for Lower School, boys design and build with LEGOs and other materials, learning math, physics, and problem solving along the way. If they choose to participate in one of the Lower School’s Junior FIRST LEGO League teams, the Imagineering Lab is where they do their construction.

    Our project-based approach to teaching enables even our youngest students to take a role in their education by allowing them to choose their learning path and draw on their growing portfolio of knowledge and skills to express what they’ve learned in ways that are meaningful to them.
  • A Comprehensive Outdoor Program

    More than 25 trips and outdoor adventures are offered to boys in grades 3 through 5, through which they develop outdoor skills, build confidence and independence in the world around them, and gain a greater appreciation of the intrinsic value of nature. Trips are focused in four areas: Developing Outdoor Skills, Exploring the Wissahickon Watershed, Broadening Horizons: Curriculum-Based Destination Trips, and Parent/Child Bonding: Building New Skills Together.
  • The Learning Power of Projects

    Project-based CEL learning experiences are integrated throughout the Lower School curriculum, helping to forge core 21st century skills such as effective communication, project management, critical thinking, problem solving, research, and data analysis. Projects present open-ended challenges, requiring students to use their creativity and collective knowledge in devising a solution. They encourage independent thinking and initiative as well as good teamwork.
  • Using Technology to Enhance Learning and Communication

    Lower School boys are introduced to a wide range of technologies, including iPads and laptops in the classroom, as well as a diversity of design and presentation software. Using these technologies, boys Skype with experts and students around the world, write international blogs, design multimedia public service announcements, and create presentations with QR codes.
  • A Strong Character Education Program

    Through research-based programs such as Responsive Classrooms and Second Steps, complemented by an exploration and reflection on the meaning of their Jersey Stripes (standing for courage, honesty, integrity, loyalty, and sportsmanship), Lower School boys learn the importance of character, citizenship, compassion, and other central values. Each year, the boys study one of the SCH Jersey Stripes in depth. Their study culminates in a program, led entirely by the 5th grade and to which each class contributes, that explores the meaning and celebrates the values of that stripe.
  • Field Trips

    • Silver Lake Nature Center: What happens to animals that live nearby? Do they sleep, migrate, or freeze? Let’s crawl through a tunnel into the Hibernation Hut, where our (puppet) animal friends will talk about their winter lives and their winter strategies.
    • Train Ride into Center City: Our Pre-K students walk to the station at St. Martins, purchase tickets and ride the train into 30th Street Station. We are greeted by a SEPTA employee who talks about the train, tracks, and signals, while also answering many questions from the 4-year-olds.
    • Adventure Aquarium: This trip supports the Pre-K ocean unit. Our youngest boys tour the exhibits and look specifically for the ocean animal they have picked to learn more about.
    • Visit to Hayne Farm: Our boys learn all about a working farm. These students have the opportunity to see goats being milked and collect fresh eggs from a chicken coop.
    • Art Museum: This trip supports our study of medieval castles. Our Kindergarten boys have the chance to tour the museum’s collection of armor. 
    • Chandler Bats: This trip supports our study of baseball. The factory shuts down production for two hours while the boys take a tour. They observe the process of making wooden bats and get to sand a bat as it spins on a lathe. 
    • Kohler Farms: This trip supports our study of the season of autumn. During the month of October, our boys enjoy a 20-minute hayride around the farm, which has been decorated for Halloween. Our ride ends at a pumpkin patch where each child picks a small pumpkin to take home.
    • Peace Valley: This trip supports our unit on Native Americans and particularly the Lenape Native Americans. Our trained teacher-naturalists help our students obtain a greater sense of relationship with and responsibility for their natural surroundings through “hands-on” experiences. 
    • University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology: The boys tour the Lower Egyptian Gallery houses, which is one of the finest collections of Egyptian architecture on display in the United States. A monumental granite sphinx dominates the gallery. Surrounding it are the gateway, columns, doorways, and windows from the best preserved royal palace ever excavated in Egypt. The palace was built for the New Kingdom pharaoh Merenptah (r. 1213-1204 BCE) at the city of Memphis in Lower Egypt. The Penn Museum is the only museum in the world to exhibit such a significant portion of an Egyptian royal palace.
    • Philadelphia City Hall: The boys visit City Hall and sit in a courtroom where they participate in a mock trial.
    • Woodmere Art Museum: Woodmere tells the story of Philadelphia’s art and artists through a broad range of exhibitions, musical events, classes, lectures, and programs.
    • The Constitutional Guided Walking Tour: Supporting the boys’ study of famous Philadelphians, the Constitutional Walking Tour of Philadelphia is an outdoor walking journey that provides a primary overview of the Independence National Historical Park area and visits the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, Franklin Court, Betsy Ross House, and the National Constitution Center, as well as the African American Museum.
    4th and 5th grade boys have many outdoor trips that support their studies of water and the environment.

Did you know...

…1st grade boys traveled to the Peace Valley Nature Center to learn about how the Lenape lived in the 1600s. There is much to be learned from the Native Americans. The boys searched for medicinal plants, played games, followed trail signs, visited a replica of a wigwam, and experienced some of the skills used by the Lenape. They also had quiet time in the woods in which to observe the nature that surrounds us.
…2nd grade boys manage the collection and delivery of hundreds of canned goods to the Germantown Crisis Ministry each year.
…3rd grade boys, under the guidance of our dedicated new media specialist, connected with a 3rd grade class from the island of Tenerife and exchanged videos of their schools and communities.
…4th grade boys researched items to make, market, and sell at their annual Market Day. The event was attended by students from both campuses, parents, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia staff, and faculty members. They raised $689.21 to donate to CHOP.
...5th grade boys collaborated with other classes to plan, prepare, and emcee our “Jersey Stripe Day Celebration.” The 5th graders wrote the intros for each class act and designed and produced the T-shirts worn by the entire Lower School for the production.

...5th grade boys raised trout that were released into the Wissahickon under the guidance of the Science Department as part of the “Trout In the Classroom” program.