Junior kindergarten and kindergarten at North Hills Christian School is an exciting time for students. For many, it’s their first time in school or in a structured environment. Our teachers work diligently to create an atmosphere that fosters a love for learning. Our curriculum is Christ-centered with a strong focus on phonics-based reading, mathematics, writing, and classical literature. Providing an all-day program also allows students to experience art, music, library, and physical education. Educational experiences such as theme days, craft activities, and field trips enhance what is being learned in the classroom. Students at this age are naturally eager to learn about God’s world around them. Our goal is to work with parents to help students grow spiritually, academically, and emotionally as they prepare for success in the years to come.
In lower school, we begin to emphasize the first steps of our Christ-centered classical education. It’s during lower school, classically known as the grammar phase, that the foundation is built for all future learning. Children begin to learn the basics for all of the core subjects. Learning is constantly reinforced through a number of techniques that include repetition and the learning of chants and songs. The teaching and learning in the elementary school provides the knowledge and skills that will help our students be life-long learners. Our lower school program is led by a gifted Lower School principal, Mrs. Kristen Sabia, and a wonderful staff of highly qualified teachers. They work together as a team to provide an exceptional program for our students. We utilize a tiered reading and math program that enables us to teach each student at their own individual level. We continually evaluate our programs and test scores to make improvements to strengthen our academics in all areas. Our reading program features age-appropriate classical novels that are historically aligned with each grade’s specific time period. Singapore Math is introduced in 1st grade and is continually expanded as students move to higher grades. Handwriting is a vital part of our curriculum with an introduction to cursive writing in second grade. Students experience art, music, library, and physical education classes weekly. Beginning in the second grade, we offer a strong Latin program that continues through high school. We use interactive whiteboards and iPads as tools to enrich the educational experience.
Experiential learning is very effective (and fun) for many students, especially at this age. Our lower school teachers work hard to bring learning to life through different experiences. Examples include participation in Greek Olympics, mummifying chickens, reader’s theater, and living wax museums. Key field trips also allow our students to have many different educational experiences. Past field trips have included the North Carolina Zoo, Lazy 5 Ranch, Camp Hanes, Old Salem, Latta Plantation, the Air and Space Museum, and the Biltmore Estate. Lower school students also have the opportunity to participate in the yearly spelling and geography bees. Fourth and fifth grade students who score at or above the 95th percentile on the TerraNova tests are eligible to participate in the Talent Identification Program through Duke University.
In lower school, we begin the spiritual education of our children as we endeavor to engage their hearts in spiritual matters. We do this through integration of God’s Word into all subjects, age-appropriate chapel programs, Bible stories and the many “teachable moments” children present to their teachers on a daily basis. During lower school, we pair each student with an older student to introduce them to a regular prayer life through our prayer buddy program. We also begin to “equip the heart” by introducing our children to the concept of serving others through the participation in community service projects. We take very seriously the calling of our mission statement, to “equip hearts and minds of students to impact the world for Christ.” We partner with families to help students succeed as they grow spiritually, academically, and emotionally.