Lower School Specialists

Art

The ultimate goal of the Open Window School Visual Art Program is to provide a supportive and non-competitive environment where students build confidence in their ability to create. Students explore classical art techniques, learn art history, as well as discover and follow their own unique creative interests. By studying the works of modern designers and makers, students gain insight into the design thinking that inspires innovative art and design.
 
In our new Art Studio setting, students are artists with access to an array of tools and medium, with everything from paints to clay to laser printers. This STEAM space is conducive to inspiration, collaboration and creativity. As K-4 students build confidence and skills in the studio, they also expand their capacity for self-expression in the arts.

Music

Lower school students have weekly music classes. The music program at Open Window is implemented using the Orff approach (from composer Carl Orff), which incorporates language and movement and features wood and metal mallet instruments. The most basic and important of our activities are moving to the beat and singing. Besides singing, moving, playing instruments and listening, we also create (composing and improvising). Soprano recorder is optional for third graders, and alto recorder for fourth. Choir is a popular option among our after-school offerings.  Our repertoire is based in American folk and some patriotic songs, with time also devoted to Western art/classical music and to music of diverse cultures.

Spanish

The lower school exploratory Spanish program follows the natural sequence of language learning: understanding > speaking > reading > writing.  Understanding and speaking are the primary focus.  The program is designed to provide both an introduction to another language and an appreciation of another culture prior to the more academic middle school Spanish curriculum. Consistent with how a child learns his or her first language, the Spanish curriculum encourages a learning environment in which the language directly relates to the students and their surroundings, reflecting their needs, interests, and everyday life.  Students are exposed to Spanish-speaking cultures through stories, songs and a study of customs. An appreciation of other societies and cultures is fostered through the study of the Spanish language.

Library Learning Commons

 
The major goals of the Open Window Library Learning Commons (LLC) program are that students cultivate a lifelong love of reading and that they become effective and ethical seekers and users of information. The LLC supports foundational information literacy skills in kindergarten all the way through advanced research techniques in the upper grades.

The learning commons model fosters an environment in which the LLC staff and resources are available to the community at all times, with ongoing collaboration with teachers that encourages the integration of literature appreciation and research skills in meaningful ways.
In addition to our database subscriptions, we have a print and e-book collection targeted to meet the needs of gifted readers for materials that are sufficiently challenging while still age appropriate and engaging. We also offer extra-curricular activities such as book clubs for students and parents.

Drama

Drama is an essential part of a well-rounded education. There are three main goals of the drama program at Open Window School: Creativity, Collaboration and Confidence Building.  Additionally, in drama classes, students further develop their critical thinking skills. Students make connections between theatrical knowledge and prior knowledge, building on their innate curiosity and purposefulness. Cooperative learning and problem solving are central elements of the drama curriculum. Mastering these skills help students in all other academic and social areas. The study of drama also provides a structure for the development of creative thinking and a place to showcase the creative ideas of the students.  Each grade level does a yearly performance, which is integrated with the curriculum.

Physical Education

Physical education at Open Window School is a body-centered rather than activity-centered approach. We use activities, games, sports, tumbling, yoga, martial arts and dance to learn about the human body, human health and human movement potential. The activities are mere lenses we use to focus on ourselves to better understand the functions of the human form. In kindergarten through fourth grade, physical education emphasizes fitness, coordination, agility, communication, cooperation, creativity and fun.

Technology

At Open Window School, students experience technology as both a tool and a creative springboard to innovation.  The Lower School innovation and technology curriculum is dynamic and agile, continuously evolving to keep up with the latest developments.  Our Lower School Innovation & Technology Lab is a unique environment where students come together to create, invent, tinker, explore, and discover. 
 
Currently, students learn robotics with innovative technology tools like BeeBots, Cubelets, Dash and Dot, Lego WeDo, MakeBlocks, Sphero, Ozobots, and Lego Mindstorms EV3.  They also experience engineering through building complex circuits using our full library of LittleBits electronics.  Students learn computer programming skills using software tools such as Scratch, Hopscotch, Tynker, and Code Studio.  Our fully outfitted fabrication studio allows students to create 3D designs in modeling programs like TinkerCad for printing on our 3D printers, and 2D files in Adobe Illustrator for cutting on our laser cutter.  Media production skills are practiced using digital production tools like Wixie and GoAnimate in our green screen studio.  Students become responsible digital citizens through Common Sense Media’s Digital Passport program, and keyboarding skills are developed with the web-based typing program Type to Learn.
 
In addition to scheduled technology classes, the Lower School Innovation & Technology Lab is also home to collaborative interdisciplinary projects in cooperation with homeroom teachers.  Whether coding a travel website or learning about soundwaves by building their own working instruments, design thinking and innovation are a daily part of the Lower School technology experience at Open Window School!

Science

Devoted strictly to kindergarten through fourth grade learners, the Open Window Lower School Science Lab offers inquiry based, hands-on experiences for young students. Capitalizing on the natural curiosity and zeal for learning of gifted students, the lower school science curriculum develops not only a solid foundation of science skills but a passion for all things scientific. Scientific investigations cover four domains over the course of kindergarten through fourth grade: the physical sciences; the life sciences; the earth and space sciences; and engineering, technology and applications of science.