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Lower School

Grades K - 6

Our Kindergarten uses a phonics/reading program that helps form the first steps of learning to read. To ensure reading success, we provide abundant reading practice that coincides with spelling lessons and use a variety of phonetic activities to progress the child quickly to beginner books. Our literature study includes classic chapter books for read-aloud and short stories that will motivate first-time readers. In mathematics, we build a foundation using hands-on learning tools to introduce many concepts that will challenge and prepare the student for success in the upper grades. Our afternoons are spent enjoying music, art, and PE classes.

In 1st & 2nd grades, our students begin soaring as the teacher provides a lot of practice in reading, writing, mathematics, and units of study and inquiry in science, history, and geography to enhance lessons. Key elements center on developing habits of mind and spirit, such as attentiveness, respect, and responsibility. Students participate in art, poetry, and nature studies, music, physical education and enjoy creative play and interaction with one another. In addition, teachers spend time reading aloud to help students begin their love of great literature.

Third grade is a study of the world at large. Students begin with local geography (Arizona) and then begin an exploration of the continents, oceans, landforms, climates, peoples, and cultures of the world. The year will be an overview of the emphasis on history in later grades. By this time, the student has gained some proficiency and independence in the core subjects of reading, language arts, writing, and mathematics. At this point, students enjoy literature that
integrates with geography studies (e.g., Heidi, Swiss Family Robinson). Students are introduced to basic research techniques and complete copybooks, revealing their growing understanding and assimilation of the world around them. Map-reading and map-making, weather and climate, and more bring science into the 3rd-grade curriculum. Art, music, poetry, nature studies, recitations, and Shakespeare studies continue.

Students in 4th grade begin a chronological study of history, starting with Creation and culminating in the ancient civilizations of Egypt, Greece, and Rome. They also cover United States history during the 1700s. Students continue to keep copybooks in which they chronicle their discoveries category by category and begin understanding the flow of history. Students hone the art of oral and written narration and become more familiar with the writing process of searching and gathering resources, drafting, editing, proofing, and writing the final copy. Integrating Bible, science, literature, art, and music appreciation and recitations with history units make learning a rich banquet of ideas and enable students to make important connections.

The chronological study of history continues in 5th grade with the Middle Ages and an overview of the 1800s in the United States. An increased emphasis on research provides students with tools for “finding out” in an organized manner. In conjunction with living books and hands-on learning, the use of additional research methods in preparation for a final research report¬†makes history come alive. Art, nature, poetry, music studies, and recitations follow along with the period covered.

Middle School serves as the transition from childhood to young adulthood. Fanning the heart, soul, mind, and body of a child is the heart of the middle school years. There should be no separation between the intellectual and spiritual development of a child so we teach for the purpose of soul formation, understanding that all things, including mathematics, science, art, literature, history, and physical education come under the Lordship of Christ. Soul formation requires discipline and training in virtue – the daily work of honing our affections away from the things of the world toward, by the transformative power of the Holy Spirit. Christ-likeness in all aspects of our lives.

The gateway between childhood and adulthood requires fostering a desire to live a Christ-honoring life while developing the ability to think critically about the world around us. Teachers believe that all truth is God’s truth and salvation is found only through His Son, Jesus Christ. This is not to suggest that all Truth is known or has been revealed to man and, as such, we enter into our vocation with humility and love utilizing the tools and framework of classical Christian education. Teachers provide experiences for students to wrestle with big ideas while teaching them logic and reasoning. Training students how to think, not what to think, best equips our children to reflect the love of Christ in all they do and endeavor to do.

We recognize that all people are created in the image of God and as such, each child carries an inherent dignity and is worthy of respect. However, with this reality is the truth of our broken, foolish, and sinful nature (Gen. 1:26-27; Genesis 3:1-7, 22-24; Psalm 14:1-3; Psalm 51:5; Ephesians 2:1-3).

Middle School provides the unique opportunity to challenge and hold high expectations for our students while the parent-school covenant partnership comes alongside to encourage and guide them into maturity. Students, as children of God, should learn to properly express dominion over their lives and learning. It is our ambition for our students to become independent thinkers who are enthusiastic, disciplined life-long learners.

Ultimately, we desire our students to develop a love for Christ that leads them to love those around them, each day becoming more like Christ. Virtue formation in Love, Hope, Faith, Justice, Courage, Temperance, and Wisdom provides a practical framework for students to orient all thoughts, words, actions, and ideas toward God’s design.

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White Mountain Christian Academy is here to impact the world for Jesus Christ.