Lower School

Our Philosophy

Our faculty understands that it is critical to intervene as early as possible when children have reading, writing, and math challenges. It is critical to identify the individual needs of each student and provide diagnostic and prescriptive lessons that ensure success.  Providing proper instruction when a child is young reshapes learning pathways during a period of powerful brain “neuroplasticity,” when significant changes in brain structure are much easier to attain.  Providing a strong foundation of learning necessary is critical when we are building a path for academic success in middle and high school. Dyslexia is a language-based learning disorder that is characterized by a difficulty learning both written and oral language. This will certainly affect a child’s progress in reading and written expression, but it may also affect learning in other content areas. Often, students who have dyslexia have difficulties with executive functioning, ADHD and have other challenges such as dyscalculia or dysgraphia. They may experience problems with auditory processing, working memory and general processing speed. These challenges can affect all aspects of a child’s school experience. The Laurel School of Princeton offers an integrative, engaging curriculum that enables our students to develop the confidence to learn and excel.

Lower School Curriculum

Reading Class is provided in homogeneous groups of no more than five students for one hour daily. Instruction is data-driven and assessment is frequent to ensure that students can achieve progress as quickly as they are able. Students are instructed in building decoding, reading fluency, vocabulary, reading comprehension, spelling, and proofreading skills. Multisensory structured language instruction is provided by certified teachers using programs including Wilson Reading System®, Orton Gillingham, Reading Success (David Kilpatrick), and a variety of other materials designed to support reading success. 

Language Arts Class is provided daily and students are grouped by homeroom class to investigate and build knowledge that increases reading comprehension, vocabulary, and written expression. Students begin learning the structure of text, specifically narrative and expository text structures. Through close reading and other reading comprehension activities, students explore advanced literature that builds skill in identifying key information, elements of fiction and nonfiction. Teachers provide direct instruction using literature that is advanced and age-appropriate despite the fact that some students may not be able to independently decode the text. Students develop an understanding of advanced sentence structure, knowledge of advanced vocabulary, and learn to use text evidence in class discussions and written compositions about their reading. 

Students build foundational skills in written expression during  Language Arts class. Learning begins with an understanding of sentence structure. Students are taught basic grammar in a multisensory way. They progress to more complex paragraph structure and longer writing pieces, learning to use text evidence and more detail as they advance. Teachers instruct classes using programs including Project Read® Story Form® and Report Form®, Project Read Literature Connection®, Lindamood-Bell® Visualizing, and Verbalizing®, Developing Metacognitive Skills®, and other well-respected programs.

Math in Focus (Singapore Math), Reflex Math, i-Ready

STEM aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards  (This approach focuses on crosscutting concepts, science and engineering practices, and disciplinary core ideas) 

Music, Theater, Visual Arts, Health, Physical Education, Technology

Social Studies/Skills Class