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Jack Hall '14, University of Virginia '18

Developing relationships with teachers was one of the most important parts of my SSSAS experience.

A Dynamic Education

Once upon a time, elementary education was like being on a tour bus. You watched as subjects passed by and you tried to remember what you saw. Times have changed, though—nowhere more than at SSSAS, where the Lower School experience is interactive, interdisciplinary, and invigorating. Children are agents of their own learning, making choices, asking questions, exploring deeply, and reflecting on their experiences.

Curricula in each subject, like Singapore Math and Reading and Writing Workshop, are carefully chosen to engage students and maximize essential skill development. But learning, like life, doesn’t always fit neatly into boxes, so lessons routinely cross disciplinary boundaries to provide the real-world context that makes learning meaningful. Faculty members differentiate instruction through a variety of materials and strategies. It’s all part of optimizing students’ intellectual, social, emotional, physical, artistic, and spiritual development.

We pride ourselves on being nimble, adapting and embracing new ideas in the best interests of students. Much of this is made possible by the schedule and our innovative X Days—days set aside for X-ploration, X-perimentation, and yes, X-citement. Lower schoolers take off-campus trips and work together, with projects ranging from an archaeological dig to the Rolling Rhombus. On the latter, a retrofitted bus that brings third–fifth graders to local preschools, students are not tourists but active participants, playing math games, practicing Spanish, and getting to know their community firsthand.

No wonder that our lower schoolers are well prepared to learn happily ever after.

Further Enrichment

Opportunities for enrichment don’t stop at the end of the school day or the door to the classroom. Our robust Extended Day program is available on a drop-in or annual basis. While youngsters enjoy karaoke, crafts, or playground time, their older counterparts choose what they do and where—perhaps homework in the lounge or Legos in the cafeteria. There’s something for everyone, made more fun by doing it with friends.

In addition, each season brings a new crop of enrichment clubs to sign up for. Led by teachers, they run an hour a week for seven weeks. Kindergarteners can build their own rockets and invite their parents to the launch. Older students may learn about science or cooking (or about science by cooking).

Leadership options like safety patrol and the Student Lunch Committee (yes, we give students voice and choice by discussing their food preferences with us) add to the many ways lower schoolers are enriched at SSSAS.

Elements of the Curriculum

Language arts
Math
Social studies/history
Science
Technology
Modern languages
  • Spanish JK–5
  • French 4–5
Performing arts
Visual arts
Physical education
Library
Religion
Chapel
Health (3 & 5)

The Arcade

After reading the book Crenshaw—about a family fallen on hard times—fourth graders work with a local partner focused on food insecurity. They use design thinking and their knowledge of simple machines to create games for an arcade, which they open to the school community. Cans of food serve as entry tickets.
 
The whole experience is a lot of fun and a lot of learning—about literature, science, and civics. Like so much in Lower School, it’s an experience greater than the sum of its parts.
Age 3-Grade 12 coed Episcopal day school in Alexandria, Virginia

Campuses

List of 3 items.

  • Lower School

    Age 3-Grade 5
    400 Fontaine Street
    Alexandria, Virginia 22302
  • Middle School

    Grades: 6-8
    4401 West Braddock Road
    Alexandria, Virginia 22304
  • Upper School

    Grades: 9-12
    1000 St. Stephen's Road
    Alexandria, Virginia 22304