The Lower School offers two capstone projects each year: our Early Childhood production of The Nutcracker and a Biome Museum for all Lower School grades. These projects bring together work from across subject areas and grade levels, with students taking on greater leadership each year.
All of our Early Childhood students appear in The Nutcracker
each winter. Kindergarteners lead the project, writing and illustrating the story that will unfold on the stage and narrating the actual production. As part of their preparation, the kindergarteners read and hear different versions of The Nutcracker
in class, learn the music and travel to see the ballet. After seeing different interpretations of the tale, the students create a book of their own, which stands nearly two feet high and is used during the performance. A rite of passage for our Kindergarten students, each year the class brings its unique personality and flair to the time-honored tradition.
Biome MuseumThe annual Biome Museum
marks the culmination of weeks of cross-curricular activities focused on a specific ecological environment, such as ocean, desert, and grassland. By bringing together their work in art, computers, library, music, research, science and world languages, students are challenged to think creatively about how to best present information through displays, drawings, maps, writing, voice and video. In addition, students learn to link and cross-reference information, creating iPad-guided tours of the museum and interspersing QR codes that link to resources for further learning throughout the exhibits.
Every child in the Lower School is involved; the older students tackle research and create large-scale interactive exhibits, and the younger students contribute specific project elements. When parents tour the museum, fourth-graders serve as docents, explaining the wealth of information included in the eye-catching displays.