The art program in the JA Lower School is an essential part of the academic curriculum. Every lower school student attends weekly art classes allowing them exposure to artwork by many different artists as well as a variety of types and styles of art from many different cultures and historical periods.
Students study the basic elements and principles of art. The art program allows them to gain new skills and focus on practicing and improving those skills resulting in increased confidence in handling tools, materials and media.
The philosophy of the lower school art program is that artistic expression facilitates discovery and allows students to communicate their individual thoughts and ideas. The objective is for the experiences to increase the students’ sense of worth and nurture their talent and artistic sensibilities so that they develop a lifelong appreciation and love for art.
During the lower school years, students are introduced to Spanish. The curriculum is designed to expose children to Spanish through basic elements of conversation, foundational vocabulary, and verbal response. The lower school foreign language department strives to create an environment where students can explore and experience elements of language and culture through crafts, projects, and videos.
The Jackson Academy Lower School Library has a collection of 12,311 book and 280 audio-visual materials. The library is open from 7:30 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. each day.
All students in grades first through fourth have a scheduled library period for forty minutes each week.
During the scheduled library periods, students are provided library instruction to assist them in locating resources to benefit the curriculum. Games utilizing various library skills are enjoyed by students after completing assignments. Students also have the opportunity to read their books, read magazines, and listen to audio-books.
Throughout the year, information is presented to students about many authors and illustrators. Another opportunity which enhances an appreciation of literature for the students is dramatization using short skits about books. Some of the special events held in the library each year to promote the love of reading are visits by authors and storytellers as well as the annual Book Fair.
Lower school music is a basic special subject course taken by lower school students in grades 1-4. In first and second grades, students study music by experiencing music through listening, singing, playing instruments, and movement activities. Styles, periods and composers related to music are also studied. Lecture presentation is a part of each lesson, but student involvement is the primary source of learning.
In grades third–fourth, music selections include a variety of styles, music from different periods of time, music from other countries, composers, and instrument study. Students experience music using Orff and Kodaly methodology. Students also experience music through the use of recorders and guitars. There are many opportunities for instrument playing using recorders, xylophones, unpitched percussion instruments, and handchimes. Students learn to sing on pitch, read a musical score, and move to the beat. Music vocabulary is ongoing both through reading and verbal usage, and cooperative learning skills are ongoing through music games and activities.
Each grade presents a musical program each year.
In conjunction with the overall mission statement of Jackson Academy, the Lower School Physical Education department has as its purpose six basic tenants that facilitate the implementation of that mission statement. They are:
- Contribute to the total educational experience of each child
- Provide opportunities to be active
- Expose each child to a variety of activities
- Encourage each child to develop healthy lifestyle habits through participation and education
- Gain knowledge of motor performance, sports skills, health, and fitness
- Teach concomitant values and character education
The curriculum includes a wide range of activities presented in a progression based on the growth and development of children. Health and fitness components and evaluation provide opportunities to measure progress in the area of fitness, as well as guidance toward a healthy lifestyle. Last, special activities and programs that dovetail with classroom curriculum and Field Day add to the variety of the curriculum.
Physical Education: Grade 1
Students participate in Physical Education 5 days a week. Emphasis is placed on the development of motor skills manipulative skills, body image, directionality and spatial orientation, simple rhythmic, rope, and juggling activities, low organizational games and the components of fitness such as strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular endurance. Much of this is done through challenge activities, games, and individual station work. Character education, listening skills, respect, and sportsmanship are concomitant values that are emphasized.
Physical Education: Grade 2
Students participate in Physical Education 4 days a week. Continued reinforcement of the skills presented in the first grade provide the springboard for the further development of motor and manipulative skills, increased fitness awareness, and the incorporation of more group activities to enable transition from “me “ centered movement to working with others as one participates. Also, more emphasis is given to kicking, striking, jumping, hand-eye, and foot-eye co-ordination skills. Again, listening skills, sportsmanship, respect, and character education are emphasized. The highlight of the second grade is the Little Dribbler program in which ball handling skills are taught, choreographed to music, and the routines are performed at the half time of varsity basketball games. The building of the self-esteem of each child through participation in this activity is immeasurable.
Physical Education: Grade 3
Students participate in Physical Education 3 days a week. Instruction in P.E. continues the development of motor and manipulative skills, striking, kicking, jumping, hand-eye, and foot-eye coordination. Aerobics, rope and juggling activities as well as low organizational games continue to develop skill and fitness. Students are introduced to team games and team sports skills that are practiced in lead up games and activities. Fitness concepts introduced are more challenging and the use of the heart rate monitor adds to the understanding and challenge of developing a healthy lifestyle. Also, students are able to participate in Running Club which is an after school activity to promote the development of healthy lifestyle habits. They are encouraged to walk or run for 18 minutes and set personal goals as to how many miles they want to run throughout the year. In addition, a square dancing unit is taught and presented in a program that dovetails with the reading of Little House in the Big Woods. (Part of the third grade reading curriculum) Continued emphasis is placed on character education, sportsmanship, respect, and self-esteem. Also teamwork and cooperation are taught as team sports concepts and skills are introduced.
Physical Education: Grade 4
Students will participate in Physical Education 3 days a week. More detailed instruction is given in the development of team and individual sports skills and the development of cooperation and teamwork. Students are exposed to a greater variety of activities with the intent that they will find some activity they will enjoy and continue to participate in throughout their lives. More advanced eurhythmics, juggling and ropes are offered, as well as aerobics Continuing fitness instruction and evaluation and the use of heart rate monitors encourage productive activity and an understanding of the intensity and pacing needed to produce fitness. Students in the fourth grade continue to participate in Running Club, a popular after school activity that the P.E. department offers and which promotes healthy lifestyle habits. Continued emphasis on sportsmanship, respect, and character education, as well as more personal accountability is required.