Elgin Academy

Preschool through grade 12 on the hill in downtown Elgin.

Lower School

Equipping for a lifetime of prodigious learning

Kindergarten through grade four signal a shift in our students’ abilities and consciousness—which we match with a shift in our curriculum and teaching and learning goals.

Play still occupies a formative role—especially in Kindergarten—though it’s gradually supplanted by carefully designed active-learning projects that students execute increasingly on their own.

Kindergarteners excitedly present their “All About Me” projects to their parents while first graders study chick embryology as part of their life cycle unit and write and perform their own classroom play. Second graders conduct individual research on businesses in the Elgin community and give oral presentations on their findings; third graders assemble personal writing portfolios that showcase their versatility across narrative, descriptive, and persuasive forms at Young Authors Afternoon; and fourth graders create their own audio-visual productions of National Parks and display their creative problem solving at the annual Invention Convention.

Lower School also introduces the Learning Plan into students’ lives, which further personalizes education for each student and motivates them to take charge of their goals and achievements. We hold parent- attended Learning Plan conferences twice per year, in spring and fall, and beginning in third grade, students play an active part in planning them.

By the time they finish grade four, EA students have acquainted themselves with the foundations of the academic process from library and online research to field experiments to peer review, group projects, and a wide variety of writing and visual presentations. They enter middle school equipped with the self- confidence, curiosity, and know-how to take on increasingly sophisticated work.


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