Educating students for Life

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 second grade Coral Reef Deep Dive, 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 1-5 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.”


First Grade Curriculum

In first grade, students build on the knowledge and skills they’ve acquired in kindergarten. Their learning deepens and becomes more applicable across all subject matters. Through concrete modeling and collaborative learning experiences, the basic foundation of reading, writing, and mathematics are integrated into daily life in first grade.

At MVS, we believe creating a safe and healthy environment allows students to fully engage, take risks and get the most out of their learning and relationships. For the first six weeks, students are re-acquainted with the responsive classroom model used in the early childhood school. Through this model, they build relationships, develop a caring classroom community, collectively set classroom expectations, and set the tone for a healthy social emotional learning environment.

On day one, our students are asked what they want to learn in first grade, because having ownership over their learning is crucial to academic investment. Literacy is expanded upon in first grade and much of what our teachers engage in with the students is making literacy connections: verbal, written, reading and problem solving. Deepening their literacy skill set is how our first graders become more in-depth thinkers and close readers, able to better articulate their thoughts and digest information.

First grade culminates in an individual authorship project, an experience that prepares them for the more refined and integrated learning projects that come in second grade.

Subjects Taught

  • Language Arts
  • Mathematics
  • Performing Arts
  • Physical Education
  • Science
  • Social Studies
  • Visual Arts
  • World Languages (Spanish & Mandarin)
  • Environmental Sustainability
  • Friends & Caring

Immersive Classroom Experiences

Hands-on learning well beyond Immersion Term

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 second grade Coral Reef Deep Dive, a weeks-long study of the ocean which culminates in a massive hallway display and a trip to Newport Aquarium, 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.

Lower School Faculty & Staff

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

Extended Day

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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