Students’ love of learning stems from their innate curiosity about the world around them. By nurturing and encouraging their passion for learning in an atmosphere that is highly individualized and interactive, teachers help students grow into confident, happy, well-adjusted individuals. Our intimate environment and small class sizes allow teachers to truly understand a child's needs. Public speaking and confidence are at the center of a child's WCDS experience. Students are regularly encouraged and given the opportunity to perform and articulate their ideas to their classmates, the school, and the community at large.
The lower school curriculum is as diverse as our students' many passions. Students begin with the building blocks of the English language and find their voices through writing and reading. Language arts skills are interwoven into all areas of study as they apply to speaking and writing skills to math, science, and history. Students enjoy a rich and varied curriculum that includes classes in Science, Spanish, History and Geography, Outdoor Education, Art, Music, and P.E. At this developmental stage, students are invited to gain ownership of rich and varied knowledge across subject areas to provide a foundation for future analytical tasks
At this developmental stage, students are invited to gain ownership of rich and varied knowledge across subject areas to provide a foundation for future analytical tasks and to unleash their passions, curiosity, and creativity. A WCDS education is not just about developing academic skills but also about instilling skills that last a lifetime. Through our lower school character education program, teachers and older students help lower schoolers to be courteous, ethical, and engaged citizens. Each month, the lower school focuses on virtue and finds innovative ways to integrate the virtue of the month into the classroom.
Lower School Traditions:
The typical lower school day is filled with a variety of traditions that touch nearly every class and span the year. Whether it's through the study of weekly Words of the Day (WOD) or the Great 100 list of important figures who have shaped world history, the reading buddy program, or the annual Lower School drama production, students are presented with a rich array of opportunities to find out more about themselves, their peers, and the wider world. Each year, excited students take their grades' pews in the auditorium (or outside, due to COVID) and gather for the weekly school assembly each Wednesday. Many assemblies involve traditional class showcases which bring different grades to the stage to perform in recitations, songs, or dramatic presentations. Students can look forward to and reflect on these milestone performances as they witness them each year. Other traditions build a sense of community for the entire school such as the 12 Days of Christmas celebration, the Talent Show, the Medieval Banquet, Science Nights, Gym Skates, and Field Day. Lower school students can also look forward to yearly travel both near and far on a variety of field trips which expose them to historical sites such as Mount Vernon, Monticello, and Williamsburg, to live performing arts, and to hands-on scientific learning.