Lower school life at Canterbury offers students the structure they need with the opportunity to question and seek answers about the world around them. In addition to highly-qualified elementary educators, Canterbury has a team of faculty to help guide lower school students, including a learning specialist, a lower school counselor, and our chaplain. Each kindergarten and 1st grade classroom has a dedicated assistant teacher to provide more individual attention for all students.
Canterbury’s veteran teachers have the freedom to use their exceptional creativity in the classroom, but always with a curricular tie underpinning their activities. Each grade incorporates signature projects, experiences, and service learning each year. Highlights of each grade include:
- Field trip to Whitaker Farms, where they learn about the farm and the animals on the farm, go on a hayride, pick a pumpkin to bring home, and visit the greenhouse.
- A highlight of year is the students’ green screen movie. Students write the script, act in the movie, create the backdrops, and compose the score.
- Students celebrate the 101st day of school by dressing up like the 101 Dalmatians and celebrating the day in “101" different ways.
- Twice a year, 1st graders help feed homeless neighbors through Holy Trinity’s Prayers In The Park. The children budget and raise money for groceries, put together meals at school, and help give out the food in downtown Greensboro.
- Each week, 1st graders have a dedicated time to explore the school’s extensive natural environment through Forest Fridays.
- Students begin learning how to do independent research with a project on animals, then follow it with a field trip to the N.C. Zoo.
- In December, students study economics through Santa’s Workshop, a unit that has them producing and selling Christmas ornaments to other students.
- A highlight of 2nd grade is the vegetable derby, in which students create vehicles using only vegetables, fruits, and sticks for axles. The derby is held on Grandparents’ Day each spring.
- Students visit senior friends each month at Carriage House and Dolan Manor. Mrs. McIlwain’s class raises money for their service learning project through an annual used book sale.
- Students in Miss Sacco’s class enjoy a weekly chess lesson and time to play chess with their classmates.
- Each 3rd grader has a significant speaking role in their annual stage production of Snew White. Students learn performance skills; visit with the playwright; and learn increased self-confidence, cooperation, and communication skills.
- 3rd grade students begin developing expert projects, student-directed semester-long projects that give them the opportunity to identify and dig into a research interest, prepare a presentation, and present what they’ve learned to parents, teachers, and other students.
- 3rd grade’s final project is an autobiographical book or electronic presentation that helps them strengthen their writing skills, learn about their families, and practice completing a long-term project.
- The 3rd grade’s major field trip is to Raleigh, where they visit the State Capitol building, Governor’s Mansion, N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences and N.C. Museum of History.
- Students make monthly visits to play and work with preschool children at First Presbyterian Church and St. Francis Episcopal Church.
- As the leaders in the lower school, 4th graders take on a variety of responsibilities, including raising and lowering the flag, managing the school’s plastic bag recycling program, acolyting and leading prayers in lower school chapel services, planting the school garden, and running the biannual Canterbury Farmers’ Market.
- 4th graders learn to identify all of the world’s countries while studying world geography and culture in social studies. Their inquiry culminates in Enrichment Week, which includes exploring other parts of the world through virtual reality; visiting an international grocery store to find ingredients for recipes of their choosing; playing international games they’ve learned throughout the year in PE; and hearing from speakers from around the world.
- Extending two major areas of study, 4th grade field trips include visits to the International Festival in Raleigh, the Winston-Salem Greek Festival, and the Greensboro waste transfer station and landfill.
- Students continue to refine their research and presentation skills with more advanced expert projects.