This spring, our three first grade classes took part in a "learning journey" of Germantown, hitting the streets to explore local businesses and public services.
At GFS, the elementary years are truly wondrous, and we provide our students in grades K-5 with every opportunity to make the most of them. We offer an academic program that is developmentally appropriate, highly ambitious, well balanced—and joyful.
We think of them as young learners, but they’re also authors and illustrators. And mathematical acrobats, agile and inventive. Even scientists—experts on the fossil record, ornithology and the migration of Pacific salmon. Students in our Lower School are world explorers and time travelers, transporting themselves to African countries, Early America, the Ancient Islamic Empire or Medieval Europe.
Our curriculum is defined by its richness and depth. When our students explore ancient Greece, it is a yearlong experience of immersion. They study politics, commerce and dramatic arts, make Trojan horses in woodshop, sew chitons for the annual Greek games and travel to New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art to behold its Hellenistic treasures. The result is a web of meaningful connections—and a sense of mastery.
It is this same mastery children find in art, as they study Mondrian or Picasso; in math, as they learn not only to solve a problem through a prescribed set of steps, but to see it from every angle and inside-out; and in language arts, as they become active and critical readers, equipped with strategies to engage evermore challenging works. Co-curricular options offer even more opportunities: To study Mandarin after school, to play an instrument in the orchestra or jazz ensemble, to participate in our Environmental Action Club or join our Social Justice Task Force.
Beyond deep exploration of the curriculum, students are also making friendships and partnerships. They are nurturing emotional intelligence through Feedback, a program pioneered at GFS to provide a safe structure for sharing feelings. They are forming special connections through our Partners program, which pairs older students with younger ones. They are members and active participants in warm, welcoming classroom communities—and an integral part of the larger school community as well.