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Lower school students are encouraged to nurture their natural curiosity by asking meaningful questions and discovering answers. The lower school academic program is distinguished by several multidisciplinary learning opportunities, including the Kindergarten Cafe, third grade Astronomy Overnight, and fifth grade Colonial America Experience. In addition to their core academic classes, students participate in co-curricular classes, including Visual Arts, Music & Performing Arts, Physical Education, and World Languages. MVS offers instruction in Mandarin and Spanish beginning in the early childhood school, with French added as an option in the middle and upper schools.
In addition to everyday immersive learning, the lower school academic calendar includes a two-week Immersion Term, during which students in grades K-5 dive into topics of interest, studying in multi-age groups with dedicated teachers. Past lower school Immersions include “Dinosaurs and Fossils,” “What’s the Code?” and “Finding the Beat.”
Students come to kindergarten from the Early Childhood School eager and excited. Our kindergarten curriculum is thematically driven and enhanced with special enrichment programs in world languages, reading, science, and math.
Because we know routine is important for our young learners, we spend the first part of the school year building a safe environment, introducing classroom management, becoming familiar with one another and setting expectations for the year.
Kindergarten instruction is guided by the KWL approach: What do you Know? What Would you like to know? And what did you Learn?This methodology gives students ownership over their learning‚ they’re more invested and excited when they have the opportunity to guide instruction with their curiosity. Perhaps the students are curious about space, nutrition, France…collectively and in a collaborative way, our young learners pick the topic of study and our trained kindergarten teachers create lessons that dive deep‚ and wide‚ in that topic and incorporate all subject matters. Students may learn about space through singing songs, making rockets and cooking astronaut food.
Experiential learning is woven into the kindergarten curriculum in many ways but heavily through “Center Time.” Center Time is an afternoon block where students have the opportunity to directly apply what they’re learning at that time. They become more exposed to a concept or topic and learn it from all subject matters. Center Time can be individual or group led; more structured or unstructured and it’s always fun!
In the lower school, immersive learning isn’t confined to the two weeks of Immersion Term. At each grade level, students participate in a variety of hands-on experiences both at MVS and in the larger Dayton community. Highlights of these immersive lower school experiences include the Kindergarten Cafe, where students create and run their very own restaurant for friends, family, and faculty; third grade Astronomy Sleepover, which includes a campout and stargazing at school as well as trips to the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery; fourth grade Glen Helen Overnight, an extended outdoor education experience in Yellow Springs, Ohio; and fifth grade trip to Colonial Williamsburg and Jamestown, which serves as a capstone to their study of multiple perspectives in the American colonies. During the academic year, you’ll find MVS lower school students visiting local farms, gardens, restaurants, museums, parks, and historical sites, taking their learning outside of the traditional classroom and into the real world.
I am “All-In” on The Miami Valley School and the value it brings to my daughter’s education, mental growth, and character building. The school has gained my trust that she has entered a family that cares about her, challenges her, and offers her endless opportunities."
John Bommer, MVS Parent
MVS offers Extended Day (also referred to as Kids Club), an after-school enrichment program. The program is intended to keep your child engaged and active after dismissal in a safe, supervised, and fun environment. Our program follows best practices for expanded school day learning. Children will engage in unstructured play, academic skill-building, organized recreational play, crafts, games and puzzles and homework help, if necessary. Extended Day intends to enrich lives and develop strong, positive character traits.
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