The Lower Division welcomes approximately 460 children, ages five through eleven, in kindergarten through grade five. The school creates a dynamic and supportive environment where students stretch themselves and take healthy risks as they explore the world around them. The program incorporates elements of traditional and structure with innovation and enrichment that make learning come to life within a supportive community.
The Lower Division has two sections of kindergarten and four sections of grades one through five. In the fourth and fifth grade, the program is departmentalized, and homeroom groups move from classroom to classroom for different subjects with different teachers. At every grade level, the classroom teachers work as a team to discuss curriculum and program. The grade teams also work closely with the teachers who specialize in different areas and work with the children across grade levels.
The Horace Mann Lower Division provides a strong academic foundation of intellectual and creative pursuits with a focus on ongoing skill development. The language arts curriculum stresses basic skills as well as appreciation of fine literature. Reading, writing, grammar, spelling, penmanship, critical thinking, speaking, and listening are all important pieces of the program. Social studies provides a stimulating introduction to history, geography, culture, and current events. The mathematics program emphasizes mastery of basic skills, the development of curiosity, creativity, logical thinking, problem solving, and the ability to make connections between mathematics and other subject areas. Science gives children the opportunity to explore the everyday world. Children work with hands-on activities and experimentation as they learn about the scientific method. The Science Center extends the science classroom work in a laboratory setting. The study of French and Spanish begins in the first grade when students are introduced to each language for one half of the year. In the second grade, children choose to pursue either French or Spanish for the rest of their time at the Lower Division. The language program capitalizes on the children’s innate curiosity and affinity for new sounds to focus on content learning and native language ability. Culturally authentic materials, songs, and games link French and Spanish cultures to the spoken and written word.
The Lower Division provides an unusually rich web of cross-subject study and interdisciplinary connection. The Library, Technology and Arts Programs provide a bridge among disciplines and serve as a focal point for a variety of learning activities, providing opportunities for special projects and the mechanisms to make learning more personal, meaningful, and long-lasting. The visual and performing arts are a vital part of life in the Lower Division. Art classes allow students to express themselves while they learn about the language and structure of art. Through the Art Enrichment program, art teachers work with classroom teachers on curriculum-based projects. Children enjoy music classes beginning in kindergarten. The program focuses on the study of music concepts, listening skills, and personal music growth through practical involvement. In third grade, students can join the instrumental or choral music program, and more choices become available in following years. The dramatic arts program works hand-in-hand with the music program, giving students the opportunity to explore both structured and improvisational activities.
Horace Mann School has a commitment to developing both mind and body. The physical education department offers developmental activities designed to accommodate a wide range of student abilities and interests. The program takes advantage of campus resources, including the gymnasium, outdoor field and playgrounds, and the campus fields and pool. Activities like gymnastics and swimming, individual and team sports, as well as a physical fitness program encourage responsible decision-making, confidence-building, and teamwork.
Parents are an integral part of the Lower Division community. Parent involvement is encouraged and welcomed. Many volunteer opportunities are provided for parents to accompany their children on class trips, serve as class parents, and take part in the wider opportunities available through the Horace Mann Parents Association.