Lower School Curriculum
Ridgefield Academy’s Service Learning program combines community service opportunities with classroom lessons and advisory programs in order to teach civic responsibility, strengthen our school and neighboring communities, and enrich the academic experience. Through guest speaker events, field trips, organizational partnerships, and discussion groups, our Service Learning curriculum addresses broader citizenship matters ranging from hunger, poverty, and homelessness to developmental differences and environmental awareness. These programs encourage and empower students to become thoughtful, reflective citizens who are inspired to serve as active change agents in their community.
In the Lower School, students are given the opportunity to participate in Service Learning activities and events at an age appropriate level:
- Campus clean-up
- Garden activities
- Meals on Wheels
- Food bank
- Care packages for troops
Lower School Physical Education allows students to tackle developmentally appropriate exercises in the gym and outdoor playground. The curriculum is designed to explore spatial orientation, refine motor skills, develop hand-eye coordination, and discover body awareness, balance, and rhythm. In addition to skill development, our Lower School PE program teaches students the importance of sharing, taking turns, responsibility, respect, cooperation, kindness, honesty, and winning and losing with grace.
Kindergarten/Grade 8 Buddy Program
Ridgefield Academy unites students across the Lower School and Upper School by partnering each Grade 8 student with a Kindergartner “buddy” for the school year. This special program brings a sense of community to our school, gives younger students a role model, and offers our oldest students the opportunity to experience responsibility and inspired leadership. Grade 8 students are introduced to their buddies in September and meet biweekly to share in the joy of reading, work on projects, play, and enjoy one another’s company. In June, our Kindergarten buddies escort their Grade 8 buddies to the Graduation Stage.
Public Speaking Program
An important part of becoming a confident learner is mastering the tools to effectively communicate ideas to others. Ridgefield Academy’s public speaking program teaches communication skills beginning with our youngest grades. Lower School children engage in our formal public speaking curriculum and are given ample opportunity to practice these skills throughout our curriculum. Every one of our graduates completes his or her educational journey at Ridgefield Academy with a personal graduation speech that highlights the success of our public speaking program.
Lower School Campout
Children in Grades 1 – 3 along with their parents are invited to spend a night under the stars on our scenic 42-acre campus. All campers enjoy a BBQ dinner, campfire, marshmallow roast, and a not-so-scary story before heading home or back to their family tent for the night. In the morning all are treated to a “Survivor’s Breakfast” before packing up. This is a hallmark and much anticipated event for our Lower School students and allows our families to engage in an old-fashioned family-friendly event that takes advantaged of our spectacular property.
Feel Good Fridays
On the last Friday of each month our Lower School students enjoy a way to come together as a community to build relationships with each other, connect with teachers, and celebrate a month of hard work. Each Feel Good Friday takes on a different theme, such as animal mania, STEM and innovation, dress up day, hot chocolate and holiday reads, sports and fitness, and more. Themed activities allow our children to enjoy a break from the usual school schedule and explore learning about a variety of topics through fun, hands-on activities with our Lower School community.
Preschool/Lower School Monthly Assembly
Each month Lower School students gather in Turner Hall for an assembly that is led by our Grade 3 students. During this time, exciting units of learning and activities that the students have experienced that month are featured, along with student performances, announcements, and more. This assembly not only allows our leaders of the Lower School to practice their public speaking skills, but it builds community, generates excitement, and highlights the great learning happening in our Lower School program.
Food Service Program
Ridgefield Academy’s farm-to-cafeteria food program is a point of distinction. Chef Paul Desiano and his staff are dedicated to providing nutritious, locally grown lunches for our students, and work each day to source available food for preparation on-site. In fact, over 90% of every meal is made from scratch at Ridgefield Academy. We believe learning how our food is grown and the way in which it nourishes our bodies is an important part of every child’s education. We encourage all children to try new foods and embrace new tastes in an effort to broaden a child’s knowledge and appreciation of food and help him or her become better prepared to make healthy choices in the future. Every Monday the school participates in the nationwide “Meatless Monday” movement, and every Wednesday international cuisine is served. Children with food allergies are treated with care and kindness.