Lower School Specialty Areas

Joyful learning and a joyous community are hallmarks of our Lower School program. Cathedral students see their own potential for growth, know that teachers and specialists care about them and have high expectations, and see themselves as part of something bigger than themselves. The result is genuine scholarship and an indelible sense of belonging, both in their core curriculum study and in their specialty area studies, which broaden and deepen their educational experience.

List of 6 items.

  • Library/Technology

    In learning about the Library and Media Center, Lower School students develop an appreciation for story time, discussions, and the routine of book check-out and return. Students learn how the library is organized, the parts of a book, and how to find books in the library, as well as the difference between fiction and non-fiction and between author and illustrator. They enjoy read-alouds to experience a variety of genres and authors, with a focus on Caldecott and Newbery Award books. Students learn to access information on the Internet and evaluate the reliability of that information, and to develop an understanding of copyright and the need to identify resources used in research. They are introduced to EasyBib (an online bibliography maker).

    The Technology Department faculty and our Librarian co-teach units in digital citizenship, which include online safety, finding developmentally appropriate websites, making good choices online, and teaching digital responsibility. Students learn age-appropriate coding concepts such as sequencing, conditions, and loops by using Bee Bots®, Lightbot™, and ScratchJr. Practice solidifies basic word processing and presentation software skills. Touch-typing and keyboarding are taught in third and fourth grades. iPads and laptops are available throughout the day in all curricular areas.
  • Identity Curriculum

    Though children come into the world without bias, they live in a world that is chock full of it. We see it as our responsibility to provide students and families with the space and language to describe the world in which they live. Children love to speak about themselves, and through the concept of windows and mirrors- seeing other perspectives & appreciating your own perspective reflected- we create an environment of cultural literacy brought about through careful and safe inquiry into the lives and experiences of friends. Students share their descriptions of their skin color, hair, cultural celebrations, family constellations, and abilities. They grow in confidence and empathy- two important characteristics of thought-leaders and change-makers.
  • Visual Arts

    • Kindergarten visual arts projects include collage, drawing, painting, weaving, and working with clay
    • First graders develop fine motor skills in visual arts through folding, cutting, and tearing. Students work on individual and class projects, in two and three dimensions.  Skills learned include color mixing and brush manipulation, developing spatial relationships, and identifying artistic styles
    • Visual arts in the second grade focuses on shape study, including patterns and shapes in nature and overlapping shapes. Cathedral second graders also study the human body using shapes. They discover scale, putting objects into landscapes, including the landscape of New York City and its landmarks, which is part of the social studies curriculum.  
    • In third grade visual arts, students study portraiture, using horizontal plane in landscape, and symmetry and design. Students also draw from observation.
    • Fourth graders create an animal form study in black glue, as well as a monument of famous leaders. They work on expressions to create paper woven heads. They study artists and art styles, specifically the work of the Hudson River School. For their final project fourth graders design, build, and paint their own wooden chairs.
  • Music

    • Kindergartners are introduced to music through pitch matching, songs and finger plays, and singing games and dances. They develop beat competency through simple rhythms, listening activities, and melodic direction. They play percussive instruments and develop a sense for tempo and dynamics.
    • First graders learn songs in canon, singing games and dances, and study rhythm. They begin study of solfege and Orff instruments, place three notes on the staff, and explore phrases and form.  A once-per-week violin option begins, including position and note reading.
    • Cathedral second graders learn multicultural songs and dances and two-part songs and canon. They continue study of solfege and Orff instruments, playing simple arrangements, and place five notes on the staff. They explore phrases and form, while also learning about orchestral instruments. In the violin elective, students practice major scales and songs.
    • Three- and four-part canon songs are part of the music curriculum for third graders, who also study rhythm, expand their knowledge of the staff by reading eight notes, and study western composers. They also learn to play Orff instruments. For those who study violin, the curriculum includes scales and arpeggios, songs, and canons.
    • Fourth graders study sacred, secular, and seasonal songs, and practice three- and four-part arrangements with Orff instruments. They begin to study the recorder, as well as chords, melodic and harmonic movement, and instrumental and vocal improvisation. Violin students will practice new finger patterns and songs, and learn harmony parts.
  • Citizenship, Community, Wellness and Health

    For the Lower School, community building is integral to classroom productivity. Students develop the homeroom class community through group exercises and assigned responsibilities, focusing on understanding citizenship, values, conflict resolution strategies, and making healthy choices as individuals and as a group. Class meetings, classroom jobs, and developing community expectations help reinforce Cathedral’s core values: responsibility, courage, kindness, integrity, cooperation, respect, and passion for learning. The fourth grade completes a unit on Growth and Human Development.
  • Physical Education

    Physical education instruction inspires a pursuit of physical fitness and a lifetime of physical activity in our Lower School students. Through physical education, children improve their fine and gross motor skills, and develop their fundamental sports skills through individual and group practice. All Lower School students explore elements of dance through movement, and develop skill and strategy application through non-competitive and cooperative games. In the second, third and fourth grades, student-athletes improve their skill and strategy through mini-games. At all levels, children are encouraged to promote sportspersonship, teamwork, and a positive competitive spirit.

Differentiated Learning

At The Cathedral School, teachers masterfully ensure that all students are both challenged and supported through their commitments to differentiated learning. The differentiated learning program includes:

  • Learning specialists throughout the Lower School, with two for kindergarten through second grade, and another for third and fourth grades
  • Learning specialists who work closely with the classroom teachers, division heads, and school psychologist
  • A Learning Center for additional student enrichment
  • A flexible program based on the needs of particular students or a specific class
1047 Amsterdam Avenue   |   New York, NY 10025   | P:  212-316-7500   | F:  212-316-7558