Our teachers work to instill a feeling of self-worth and self-confidence in each student knowing that each child brings a variety of gifts to a classroom.
– Roanne Ornelles
Roanne has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Hawaii and a master’s degree in education from Boston University. Before coming to Canterbury in 2014 as a learning resource teacher, she had worked as lower and middle school director at Summit School in Winston-Salem.
In classrooms across campus, Canterbury's lower school curriculum comes alive in the hands of experienced teachers who use both innovative and traditional methods to foster creative and critical thinking, as well as a life-long joy of learning. Canterbury's curriculum is designed to develop the whole child academically, physically, spiritually, and socially.
Lower school art classes empower students to be art-makers by developing specific skills in drawing and a variety of other media. Students learn the elements and principles of design and are exposed to the work of artists throughout history. Each student develops a portfolio that is shared with parents in a student-led conference at the end of the year.
Students in grades PreK-4 learn Spanish through concrete, everyday experiences that develop listening comprehension, as well as speaking, reading, and writing skills. Classes are conducted primarily in Spanish. The study of Spanish-speaking culture and its similarities to American culture is an essential component of the program.
PreK and lower school students use Everyday Math, a hands-on, inquiry-based approach to learning math. Lessons focus on developing understanding and skills by emphasizing the use of concrete, real-life examples that are meaningful and memorable. With frequent practice through games and verbal exercises, students learn key math concepts, build computation skills, and practice quick recall of facts. Teachers employ multiple methods and problem-solving strategies to achieve mastery and accommodate different learning styles.
Students in kindergarten through 2nd grade develop their musical abilities through singing, playing instruments, creating, moving, guided listening, and other experiential involvement. They learn about melody, rhythm, harmony, texture, tempo, dynamics, timbre, and form. In 3rd and 4th grades, playing instruments, singing, composing, improvising, and listening are supported by discussion and reflection to enhance musical understanding.
PE and Health
Canterbury's lower school physical education and health programs are designed to help students acquire a life-long commitment to health and fitness. Classes focus on developing specific motor skills, decision-making skills, communication skills, interpersonal skills, physical fitness, and knowledge of the determinants of health. Good sportsmanship and fair play are priorities.
Reading and Language Arts
The reading program is designed to give students a strong foundation in phonics and decoding, effective comprehension strategies, and a life-long love of reading. Teachers use Recipe for Reading and Reading A-Z – both developmentally appropriate, research-based phonics programs – and a variety of novels throughout the lower school years to develop students’ abilities to read independently and think critically about texts. Writing instruction occurs throughout the school day. Students use grammar, spelling, vocabulary, and writing skills in every subject throughout the school day.
Students are actively involved in asking questions about the world around them and designing meaningful and engaging experiments and investigations. Lessons focus on life and physical science in grades K-3, and motion and environmental studies in 4th grade. Each grade has fun with engineering and robotics.
The social studies curriculum prepares students to become responsible citizens. Students develop knowledge and skills in history, geography, economics, government, and culture. Content moves from the familiar of self, family, school, and home in the early grades, to the community, state, and country in later grades. Students expand their global awareness by studying other cultures throughout their lower school years.
Art, music, physical education, health, and outdoor education classes round out the Canterbury student's lower school experience. Art classes develop specific skills in drawing and a variety of other media. The music program engages students in movement, improvisation, playing, singing, and listening activities. Lessons in art and music are grounded in art and music history. The physical education, health, and outdoor education classes develop decision-making skills, interpersonal skills, physical fitness, and knowledge of what contributes to good health.
Spiritual development classes support the students’ faith development begun with their families and in their faith communities. Students learn the basic stories of scripture and are encouraged to engage in discussions and in written and artistic activities that will help them understand God's presence in history and their own lives.
Technology is fully integrated into the learning experience and used in activities that require students to think, analyze, and create. Beginning in kindergarten, students use iPads in learning stations for reading, math, and problem solving. A one-to-one iPad initiative begins in 2nd grade and continues through the lower school. Students enjoy using iPods to improve oral reading skills. Teachers employ interactive SMART boards throughout the day. Keyboarding is taught beginning in second grade.