Hands-on, placed-based, experiential learning opportunities in sustainability and outdoor appreciation abound—read on to learn about Big Blue Summer's offerings.
From Kindergarten through Grade 5, Lower School students lay the important foundation of their educational future. Here, in an academic framework focused on STEAM principles and cross-disciplinary study, children learn and discuss principles of honorable behavior, celebrate diversity, practice teamwork, and find their independence.
Lower School: Where we lay the groundwork for a successful education. And so, our curriculum, which emphasizes cross-disciplinary connections whenever possible, is guided by a desire to impart lifelong curiosity and a love of learning, foster personal growth, and instill the spirit of Pingry's Honor Code at an early age. From Kindergarten onward, whether in the science lab, drama studio, playground, or playfield fields, we teach our students to embrace the principles of honorable behavior, celebrate diversity, and collaborate.. We complement these academic and life lessons with community service activities that begin in Kindergarten, exposing children to the value of helping others through a variety of age-appropriate, hands-on activities.
As students mature, we encourage them to take increasing responsibility for their education and promote initiative, self-reliance, and independence through study skills, organization, and attention to process.
Because we also realize the importance of parental involvement in a child's overall educational experience, we not only offer formal bi-annual parent/teacher conferences, but also encourage faculty and administrators to build informed, productive relationships with parents.
Lifelong curiosity is nurtured by making learning an engaging process, and for our Lower School students, that’s precisely our goal.
We offer traditional coursework in language arts, mathematics, science, Spanish, and social studies, supplemented by activities—both inside and outside the classroom—that emphasize experiential learning. Every minute of the day is looked upon as an opportunity for new understanding and growth. Art, music, and drama classes provide outlets for student creativity and self-expression. Technology and library classes impart foundations in research and literary skills. And newly modernized STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) classrooms offer valuable opportunities for interdisciplinary study, furthering creativity, critical thinking, and problem solving among students.
Daily physical education classes and plenty of outdoor time on our recently redesigned playground give students the chance to play, interact, and learn valuable lessons in teamwork, sportsmanship, and leadership.
Year after year, our Lower School students experience a seamless transition to the Middle School on the Basking Ridge Campus. Why? Our fourth- and fifth-grade departmentalized curriculum meticulously readies students for the class schedules and intellectual and organizational challenges that await them in the Middle School. Additionally, two cornerstone courses, “Decisions" and "Study Skills," expose them to the problem-solving, note taking, and learning strategies they’ll need for Middle School level coursework. Filled with happy memories, our fifth-graders depart for the Middle School furnished with the building blocks they need to be successful in their new learning environment, in a nurturing community they know well.
- Reading, Writing, and Language Arts
- Social Studies
- World Language
- Visual Arts
- Physical Education
Science is the exploration of the universe for the purpose of seeking orderly, testable explanations of objects and events. The Pingry School elementary science program offers a balance of hands-on experiences and science content. Each year, students study topics in three major areas: life science, earth science, and physical science. The processes of observation, investigation, collection of relevant data, discussion and confirmation of findings, and experimentation are emphasized throughout the program.
Students in the Lower School are provided with opportunities to explore, experience, and understand various forms of technology as a tool to develop critical thinking skills. With every child having access to either an iPad or Chromebook, technology is an integral part of their everyday academic experience.
The ability to communicate in more than one language has long been recognized as a tool for enhancing student achievement. Beginning in the early school years, it is critical for today’s children to develop communicative and linguistic proficiency in English and other languages in order to understand and appreciate the cultural diversity of our rapidly developing global community. Spanish is the base foreign language at the Short Hills Campus.
The Lower School art program is designed for young students to discover, explore, and expand their artistic identities. Art lessons are child-centered and have multiple entry points for students with varying ranges of experience and skill. The program focuses on skill development, synthesizes process and product, and encourages risk-taking and self-expression. Art allows students to make connections with their studies, notice patterns, blend content, and create ways to solve problems. The program aims to broaden and deepen students’ artistic knowledge and ability while they experience the joy and meaning found in the process of being a creative, artistic individual.
The Physical Education program follows a carefully defined curriculum that encourages greater understanding of the importance of promoting wholesome physical development. The program is designed to meet the needs of the individual child and to create positive experiences that will enhance the child’s ability to develop his or her body to the fullest. At the same time, it provides the child with the tools necessary to make healthy decisions about exercise and future athletic and recreational activities. All students receive equal opportunities to reach their potential and are encouraged to progress at individual rates. Our primary goal is to provide maximum opportunity for children to enjoy physical activity and thus realize that it is a desirable and worthwhile endeavor, one they will want to continue throughout their lives.