Westminster exposes its lower school students to a variety of age appropriate literature from a very early age through guided reading, independent reading, shared reading, and word study. Lower school faculty use the Accelerated Reader (“AR”) program as well as STAR testing to ensure that students are reading and progressing at appropriate levels.
First through third grade students receive instruction using Saxon Phonics, a curriculum that teaches phonics, phonemic awareness, spelling, and reading, and also helps students to develop the vital skills of decoding, reading, comprehension, and fluency.
Third through fifth grade students study and learn literary concepts through Westminster’s novel based curriculum.
At Westminster, lower school mathematics begins with foundational, concrete skills that gradually progress toward more abstract concepts by the end of lower school. Instruction in the elementary grades begins with the use of manipulatives which build critical thinking and logic based skills. Because memorization of basic math facts is a crucial skill for children to become strong math students in the future, Westminster makes memorization a major component of the lower school mathematics curriculum.
Westminster uses the Saxon mathematics program to teach lower school students new concepts through a cyclical progression to ensure that students obtain mastery of foundational skills through the use of a variety of manipulatives in whole group and small group settings.
Westminster offers Honors Math as an enrichment program for students in forth and fifth grades who excel in mathematics. Honors Math focuses on problem solving concepts and skills allowing students to develop a deeper level of understanding of the math curriculum through weekly challenges and real-life based projects.
Shurley English is a classical approach to grammar instruction. The Shurley Method uses various formats to teach students basic grammar skills. Students systematically classify sentences and learn concepts through creative memorization techniques.
Westminster students learn to write well by imitating the classical literature being studied in their classes. The “Imitations in Writing” curriculum used at Westminster develops reading comprehension and summarizing skills in students, while also honing basic paragraph writing and outlining.
Using “The Story of the World” curriculum, Westminster students learn history in a unique and exciting way. Westminster students are taught to understand and appreciate American and World History through a Christian worldview giving them an accurate perspective on why and how historical events occurred.
Westminster instructors teach lower school science using a thematic approach with the belief that depth of knowledge is best obtained through investigation and exploration. Science class consists of hands-on experiences and interactive note-booking.
Westminster teaches Bible classes using “The Gospel Project” curriculum in first grade and “Veritas” in second through fifth grades which allow students to read, study and learn how stories in the Bible point to Jesus. Each week, lower school students attend chapel where they learn more about God through music and chapel speakers. Prayer and scripture memorization are integral parts of this curriculum.
Third through fifth grade students take Latin weekly. We believe that studying Latin allows students to develop a deeper understanding of the English language, as well as begin a basic study of word morphology and etymology.
Lower school students participate in music class each week. In this class, students learn to read music, sing on pitch, and perform on stage. Students participate in the Christmas, chapel, and spring musical performances, as well as Grandparents Day.
Westminster students participate in an art program that encourages them to explore and create through a variety of mediums. Lower school students study periods of art history and the famous works and artists that comprised those eras. Lessons are aligned to complement and enhance the time periods students study in history.
Lower School classrooms use iPads periodically to enhance learning in the classrooms. Also, third through fifth grade students take Technology class as an elective where they learn basic typing, coding, and computer skills.
The lower school physical education program focuses on introducing children to a variety of physical activities including basic level sports and fitness. Students participate in this program once a week and also have daily recess.
Westminster’s library serves a Pre-K-12th grade population and contains more than 8,000 books for a wide range of interests. Our primary goal is to instill in our students a lifelong love of reading and learning. All lower school students come weekly to the library. This time is used to teach library skills and research techniques as well as to check out books and listen to books being read by parent volunteers.
Students attend chapel weekly, and parents are always welcome to attend. Chapel time is an opportunity for lower school students to engage in worship and pray together.
Field trips enhance classroom learning by providing real life experiences outside the walls of the school. Lower school students at Westminster participate in field trips to places such as the William Harris Homestead, the Botanical Gardens, the Oconee Civic Center, Sandy Creek Nature Center, Fernbank, Wahsega, i-Fly, and Jekyll Island 4-H Center.