Elementary Education (Grades 1 – 5)
The years your child is in elementary school are important ones when a solid academic foundation can be introduced in a systematic way. A Wheeler Lower School education matters. This is the time when your child will learn to love learning, begin to understand how to face challenges, grow eager to become a collaborator with others from many different backgrounds and be instinctively positioned to acquire the skills needed for academic success.
Faculty and Curriculum
Wheeler Lower School faculty are experts in one subject matter: your child. Teachers plan our curriculum creatively and deliver it enthusiastically. It is meaningful in impact and personalization. We understand that Elementary division students are game for the challenges of academics. A teacher takes a class to our Hirsch/Alperin Design – Innovate – Build Lab and brings STEM to life through the student’s own hands. Building an electronic circuit illuminates maps of ancient whaling routes or the night sky. Another teacher collaborates with the Lower School librarian and visits our Digital Production Studio to create a green screen saga from a pirate’s biography or a history podcast (maybe in Spanish!)
The Aerie Approach
The signature Wheeler Aerie Approach comes into play as students weave above and beyond the curriculum with special teachers in math or modern language. In addition, thanks to the rich network Aerie has with Brown University and local professionals, students enjoy weekly electives in topics such as filmmaking, chess, robotics, poetry or game theory. Every step of the way, your child discovers that learning is fun. In short, Wheeler provides opportunities that build a passion to know more (and more!)
Curricular and Co-Curricular Opportunities
Every student experiences firsthand the visual and performing arts — hallmarks of a Wheeler education. All of our coursework builds around inclusion and equity encouraging new ways for your child to understand the world. Mindfulness and awareness of feelings and emotions for oneself and others are part of daily Lower School life. Math is a key focus of our program. Every teaching team from Grades 1-5 has an extra math teacher so that instructional groups are small and geared to your child’s needs. Physical Education and recess are integral, not add-ons, with beginner athletics programs for Grade 5 in all three sports seasons. Technology is woven into every subject on our wireless campus. Basics in software use, computer literacy, and critical thinking are introduced and developed.
Facilities and Community
Two campuses—the Providence and Seekonk Farm—are rich with facilities to engage and support the learning process. Lower School students have colorful, lively classrooms, a Lower School library, and their own visual and performing arts studios. All grades share the amazing materials and equipment in the DIB Lab, Digital Production Studio and Dance Studio. Outdoor play spaces and imaginative structures surround the campus for recess. A cafeteria with indoor and outdoor seating makes a snack and lunchtime restorative. Our Health Center has two full-time nurses, a counselor and an EMT/athletic trainer. At the Farm, your child enjoys an extensive rural counterpoint to discover Nature, build a stronger body and spirit, and experience some of the School’s oldest traditions.
A defining aspect of Lower School is our strong sense of community. Weekly we celebrate at an assembly for Nursery – Gr. 5. Community Meeting is where all grade levels perform, exhibit work, listen and learn from each other. Our grade-wise buddy system ensures your child can be both a “big kid” or a “little kid” at different times during the school year — reading to a Nursery student in English or Spanish, visiting a science lab in our Upper School or taking math measurements for the long jump of a varsity track athlete. Through this buddy system, students first see other students as role models and then become the role models themselves.
Lower School Administration
Dr. Felicia Vinces
Head of Lower School