Lower School Overview
Our Lower School is a Junior Kindergarten to Grade 6 learning community offering a unique experience allowing children to unlock the wonder of inquiry-based learning, develop the foundations of physical literacy and explore the endless possibilities of personal creativity.
At the heart of our educational vision is our aim to help children lead flourishing lives. Everything we do at the Lower School is designed to inspire your child to build skills of wellbeing and to become a lifelong learner, ready to make a difference in the world of tomorrow.
IB PRIMARY YEARS PROGRAMME (PYP)
Our Lower School programme uses the International Baccalaureate (IB) framework to deliver the Ontario curriculum. The IB Primary Years Programme (PYP) is the foundational programme in the IB continuum and accommodates a range of learning styles. This curriculum framework is the foundational programme in the IB continuum and is appropriate for a range of learning styles. Teachers examine local and global issues with students as children are prepared for the challenges of the future.
A LEARNER-CENTRED CULTURE
At the Lower School, our students are learning to learn. Teachers examine local and global issues with students, preparing children for the challenges of the future.
As an IB World School, our learning philosophy is founded on a few simple ideas:
- Learning how to learn is fundamental at this stage of development
- Developing a growth mindset is critical to future achievement
- Deep learning occurs with concept-based and inquiry-based learning
- The primary aim of education is to develop human flourishing
LOWER SCHOOL FACULTY
Learning in our Lower School is enabled by experienced leadership, a diverse and talented Lower School faculty, subject specialists, a learning strategies teacher, and a school counsellor. This dedicated team of professionals is committed to providing all students with an educational experience that is customized, engaged and exciting.
DAY AND BOARDING OPTIONS
Our Lower School co-educational programme is structured for students in Junior Kindergarten through Grade 6. While primarily a day school, we also offer the Burgoyne House boarding programme to students from Grade 6 to Grade 8.
A PLACE TO BELONG
Our Lower School House Teams offer students the opportunity to work together across grades and develop a sense of team camaraderie and belonging. In a healthy and positive spirit, students build a strong bond with their House and relish the opportunity to wear their spirit colours and cheer!
Visible Wellbeing and Advisory
At Ridley, we aim to develop the habits of mind, body and spirit. One of the ways we do this in Lower School is through the allocation of dedicated time at the beginning of the day to engage in learning that promotes connection before content.
We want to ensure that each child feels known and cared for. Placing particular emphasis on wellbeing, we begin each day with dedicated Wellbeing Time or Advisory, allowing students to begin the day feeling secure, connected and engaged. Activities are organized around themes such as respect, responsibility, gratitude, empathy, courage, perseverance, honesty, cooperation and creativity to teach students the habits needed to lead flourishing lives.
In addition to this time, students also have a dedicated Social, Emotional Education and Digital Education (SEEDE) block each cycle, delivered by our Lower School Counsellor and Teacher Librarian/ICT Specialist. At the end of each week, we gather as a Lower School at Chapel or in PYP Assemblies to reflect on our learning and develop a deeper sense of community and belonging.
Lower School Student Leadership Model
In Lower School, we provide several opportunities for Lower School students to develop leadership skills and participate in various leadership roles. Our goal is to help students to recognize that there are many different ways in which they can be contributing members of our community and lead in order to prepare them for future leadership opportunities.
At the beginning of each year, our Grade 6 students participate in a student leadership retreat during ROAR Days to prepare them for their final year in Lower School. As the oldest students in Lower School, Grade 6 students are encouraged to “try on leadership” through various roles and activities during the year, including:
- Library Helpers
- Announcements Crew
- House Team Captains
- Assembly Leaders
- Admissions Ambassadors
- Lunch Helpers
Each Grade 6 student also has an opportunity to spend a term being a House Team captain, which provides students with opportunities to identify and apply their strengths, build new strengths and make informed choices about how they wish to contribute and lead in Middle School, Upper School and beyond the Ridley gates.
PARENT PARTNERSHIP AND PARTICIPATION
Our Lower School experience is based on a partnership that invites parents to be involved in the learning journey with their child. Workshops, Parent Coffees and seminars equip parents with the resources they need to feel engaged in their child’s Ridley experience.
Volunteer committees provide parents with opportunities to help us develop and evolve the direction of our Lower School education, and a wide range of on-campus activities enrich family life.
DINING AND HEALTHY EATING
Healthy and delicious dining options are provided to students at lunch each day. Healthy minds and healthy bodies are developed thanks to good nutrition provided by our dining partners from Chartwells. More than eating in a cafeteria, Williams Hall is a beautiful space where young Ridleians gather for nourishment – both nutritional and social!
Our belief is that a healthy body fueled by good nutrition leads to a healthy mind, increased confidence, happiness, and academic performance.
The chef and kitchen staff of our Lower School dining hall (Williams Hall) ensure that both students and teachers have healthy and delicious snack and meal options every day. Snack breaks and meal times are built into each day so that students can refuel and nourish their bodies for maximum performance. Meal time also allows teachers to develop deeper connections with students while modelling and teaching appropriate table manners and etiquette.
Meals and snacks can also be prepared to accommodate any food allergies or dietary restrictions so that all students get the healthy choices they need for the day.
ARTISTIC OUTLETS AND MUSICAL EXPRESSION
The visual arts programme is designed to balance a student’s physical life with opportunities for creative outlets. All Lower School students have the opportunity to experiment with and grow their creativity using a variety of materials and media.
Art classes allow students to use their foundational knowledge of the elements and principles of design to create hand-built ceramic sculptures, produce creative works using digital media and hone their drawing and painting skills. Students work with art and design teachers who go beyond teaching techniques and art forms by helping students develop the confidence, open-mindedness and risk-taking that will help them grow as artists and designers and mature into caring and capable young adults.
The Lower School provides a rich and comprehensive musical environment that allows all students to explore their musical abilities.
Classes begin in Kindergarten and continue to Grade 6. Students learn about their own capabilities for creative expression within an active and genuine music-making experience. They explore their abilities for musical expression by singing, playing Orff percussion, composing, dancing, learning an instrument and recording. In Grades 4 and 5, students add recorder and ukulele to their learning experience. Grade 6 classes learn to play a musical instrument as part of a separate band or strings class.
PHYSICAL LITERACY AND PLAYING WITH PURPOSE
Physical activity primes the brain for learning, contributes to physical literacy and leads to a healthy lifestyle. Ridley’s Lower School physical education programme is designed to focus on fundamental skill development and build competence and confidence in a wide range of activities.
We promote physical literacy by providing students with a variety of opportunities to develop their movement skills through purposeful play in a natural environment. The design of our all-natural playscape was based on a new pedagogical paradigm for play and learning. Research indicates that nature play inspires physical growth and development by encouraging creative play, problem-solving and fundamental movement skills.
STRUCTURED ATHLETIC PROGRAMMES
Our Lower School athletic programme is structured to ensure essential daily physical activity takes place as part of the Long-Term Athlete Development (LTAD) model recommended by Sport for Life Canada.
The programme exposes students to a variety of sports as a foundation for engaging in sport for life and provides a clear path to better sport, greater health and higher achievement.
The LTAD model outlines seven stages of physical activity in which children and adults should engage throughout their lives in order to be active, stay active and reach the greatest heights of sport achievement. Healthy competition and striving for excellence are part of the process, but the programme is structured to foster a desire to maintain lifelong physical activity.
For more information, please contact our Admissions department at [email protected].