Lower School (First-Fourth Grades)
The first phase of classical education, the grammar stage, builds a strong foundation upon which Veritas students begin their academic journey. During the elementary years, students learn the grammar of each subject, the basic facts of language skills, reading, writing, science, art and history. At Veritas, the curriculum is designed for students to build a database of knowledge in each subject. Lower School is not about complete mastery but about developing a familiarity and interest in each subject. Equally as important as cognitive development, is Veritas’ focus on productive social growth. A child’s intellectual growth is supported by a balanced emphasis on spiritual, social, emotional and physical maturation. Along with our core curriculum, students in Lower School will participate in the following classes:
- Physical Education
- 1st and 2nd grade: Choir
- 3rd grade: Recorders
- 4th grade: Chimes
- Foreign Language Exposure
- 1st grade: French
- 2nd-4th grades: Latin
Veritas Lower School also participates and excels in several ACSI (Association of Christian Schools International) competitions throughout the year. Competitions offered are:
- Speech Meet: 1st-4th grades
- Choir: 2nd-4th grades
- Math Olympics: 3rd-4th grades
- Spelling Bee: 3rd-4th grades
- Art Festival: 3rd-4th grades
- Creative Writing: 4th grade
The Lower School day at Veritas begins with Bible classes which are taught four days a week. Students will attend a Lower School Chapel one day a week with other 1st-4th grade students.
- First Grade students become familiar with Bible truths that emphasize God's relationship to people. The students will memorize Isaiah 55:1-13 in the first semester and Matthew 5:1-16 in the second semester.
- Second Grade students study character traits of various people in the Bible with application to the students' life. Throughout the year students will memorize Psalm 27 and Exodus 20.
- Third Grade students concentrate on studies in the life of Christ, the Early Church, and Missions from the time of Paul to current history. The students will memorize Luke 2:1-24 during the first semester and Luke 2:25-52 in the second semester.
- Fourth Grade students study the basic doctrines of the Church. Students in fourth grade will memorize Ephesians 6 the first semester and Philippians 2:1-18 in the second semester.
The Language Arts program in Lower School consists of Reading, Phonics (1st and 2nd grades), Grammar, and Spelling.
- First and Second grades use the BJU Press curriculum to build a foundation of reading with phonics skills, comprehension skills, and vocabulary development. Students are introduced to the literary world through selections of fiction, non-fiction, biographies, poetry, and information articles. The student will link phonics knowledge and skills to the decoding and encoding of words with comprehension of the written context. Each student will develop the ability to answer literal, critical thinking, interpretive, and appreciative questions pertaining to the selection read.
- Third and Fourth grades use Mosdos Press as their reading program. Students will be introduced to reading materials that will encourage them to have a love for reading and a desire to read thoughtfully and fluently. They will become confident, eager readers who, hopefully, will want to read all their lives. Students will obtain enjoyment and understanding from a variety of selections, such as family stories, adventure stories, Christian realism, historical fiction, Bible accounts retold, biographies, information articles, folktales, poems, and plays.
The formal teaching of Grammar at Veritas begins in first grade. The Shurley English curriculum is used throughout 1st-4th grade and incorporates the use of rhythm, repetition, and student/teacher interaction. Students actively participate which then prepares them for new challenges at each subsequent grade level. The students will memorize jingles, the question and answer flow, and begin to learn how to construct sentences which leads to paragraph writing. Creative, journal, and research writing as well as vocabulary development are done at all levels.
Students use Purposeful Design Spelling curriculum to strengthen their reading and writing ability. Spelling strategies such as word sorting by phonetic pattern, developing vocabulary through word study, and using the writing process to compose original stories are found throughout the grade levels.
Math is a subject that builds on itself. Our goal is to have students understand math so that they can become problem solvers as well as develop a biblical worldview. Each year in Lower School students will develop a deeper understanding of the operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Students will be able to apply these skills to fractions, decimals, integers, and other math concepts as they are introduced. The students will also master concepts of measurement, collecting date, and money.
Learning history chronologically has been proven to be invaluable in the lives of many children. Having students memorize names, dates, places, and events gives them a valuable tool for understanding how God is working today and what He has done durinrg many past events. 2nd grade students begin a three-year study using the Veritas Press curriculum. Students will begin with creation and work their way to the fall of Ancient Egypt (2nd grade), the Minoan Culture to the end of the Western Roman Empire (3rd grade), and the conversion of Saint Augustine to Christianity through learning about John Knox, the Scottish reformer (4th grade).
Knowledge of science helps students to understand the world they live in and why things happen as they do. The relationships that exist in our world were established by God at the time of creation. The laws of science are human descriptions of these relationships. They are as accurate as our understanding of nature is at the moment, but they are never absolute. We read in the Bible that God is the only absolute in our world who never changes. These laws are continuously refined, expanded, and sometimes abandoned as we discover new information. Science points students to the evidence in creation of God's love, wisdom, power, and majesty. Connections made between concepts of science and the Word of God will help students to respond with love, gratitude, awe, and reverence toward their Creator. The main concepts that will be stressed throughout the Lower School science experience will be life science of humans and animals, earth and space, and physical science.