Our goal for our students is that they would leave Dunham at graduation with wisdom and eloquence, and that journey begins in Lower School. Our role in your child’s education is to provide the right balance of nurturing with appropriate challenge, so that he or she feels loved and safe and secure; and with that sense of security comes an interesting by-product which is the ability and willingness to take risks in order to learn and grow in all areas….intellectually, socially, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. We are and always have been about educating the whole child.
Our Lower School curriculum is a developmentally appropriate one that encourages problem-solving, risk-taking, and creativity; and we encourage our students to explore all the different ways of finding an answer to a question. We appreciate the fact that children have different learning styles and that their minds work in diverse ways; so our goal is to scaffold students and to provide them with the right tools and opportunities to help them reach their goals. Through our classroom instruction, as well as through our Advanced Learning/Gifted Program and the McKay Academic Center, we’re able to provide countless resources to challenge our students to reach the highest level possible.
One of the greatest resources is our students’ instant access to state of the art technology. As an Apple Distinguished School, our students enjoy the latest technology tools for learning, such as Macbooks, iPads, interactive smart boards, etc. Apple says, “Kids don’t just want to consume media; they want to produce it!” We understand that kids today want to research, create, present, and communicate like never before in the history of the world. This generation is a transformational generation, and we are committed to meeting their needs and empowering them to succeed with all of the gifts and talents that God has given them.
Technology is integrated throughout all subjects in our curriculum, and is balanced with our equally strong commitment to hands-on learning. Our students learn math by counting, adding, subtracting, and measuring real objects and math manipulatives. Our inquiry-based approach to science involves student experiments and observations of the environment over time. Literacy is taught through a multitude of experiences as students interact with authentic literature. Our social studies curriculum is also hands-on through project-based learning. And in addition to our core subjects, we offer special enrichment classes that promote experiential learning in the areas of Art, Music, Spanish, P.E. and Library/Media.
Another resource for the benefit of our students is our new, expansive, Lower School facility with large classrooms, an art studio with kiln room for ceramics, a music studio with grand piano and Orff instruments, and two spacious playgrounds with brand new equipment. But beautiful facilities and technology tools are not what make a school; and even a rigorous academic curriculum is not what makes a school, in my opinion. What makes a school like ours special is that we care about our students not only academically, but spiritually. It’s about caring for kids in a way that is more than basic, because this is more than just a job to us….it is a higher calling…to invest ourselves in our children’s lives not only for the present but for their future…for eternity. And that is quite a special privilege we enjoy.
The Christian faith is taught through Bible study every day at every grade level. We have daily prayer and discussions about our faith and how we should live that out on a daily basis. Chapel is once a week, and the students prepare skits and musical presentations so that they themselves actually lead worship. In addition, our students participate in numerous service opportunities through our affiliations with The Haven, the American Heart Association, St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, Our Lady of the Lake Hospital, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, the Food Bank, and many more. Through these experiences, our goal is to instill Christian values and morals in our students and pass down a legacy of faith, duty, and honor. Those words are on our school crest, and we strive to live them out on a daily basis with our students through quiet conversations one-on-one, bold group discussions, and every way we know how to impress upon a young child’s heart what it means to be all that God is calling him or her to be. We would welcome the opportunity to have your child be a part of that kind of experience here at The Dunham School.
Lower School Head