Cherry Hills Christian School

The Lower School
Introducing K-5 students to the rigor, value and joy of lifelong learning and encouraging them to discover their God-given gifts and talents
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The Lower School’s instruction focuses on core subjects of literacy and language, math, social studies and Bible. Students also take courses in physical education, music and art — and they have access to CHC’s library and STEAM laboratory.

Curriculum

Our curriculum exceeds and meets the standards of the Colorado Department of Education. Each content area is carefully developed with specific goals for student development academically and spiritually. Students also are challenged to develop meaningful and relevant leadership skills, including communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity — all taught through the Christian lens.

Core Classes

Bible

Bible is an essential part of our academic program. We teach it as a core subject and weave a biblical worldview throughout all content areas.

  • Kindergartners focus on an overview of the Bible, starting in Genesis and ending in Revelation. Age-appropriate lessons help them begin to build their relationship with Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
  • Students in Grades 1-3 use biblical truths to explore the entire scriptural narrative of Creation, The Fall, Redemption and Restoration.
  • Students in Grades 4-5 focus on deepening their foundation of biblical knowledge as they explore their identity in Christ and their understanding of prayer, reflection, servanthood and outreach. Through mission experiences, these students also learn to represent Christ’s love by helping and serving others.

Language Arts

Language Arts for students in The Lower School encompasses explicit phonics instruction, grammar, spelling, reading fluency, reading comprehension and writing. Our curriculum is National Geographic’s Reach for Reading, a fully integrated program that creates a strong alignment and common language for our students across all of their subjects and grade levels. This curriculum also allows for rich, in-depth study of high-quality texts that are differentiated for individual students. In addition, The Lower School teaches writing through the Writer’s Workshop model, which helps students participate in writing as a class and individually. It embeds grammar, vocabulary, handwriting and writing styles into daily writing practice. Students are encouraged to see themselves as writers and to share their work with teachers and their peers.

Seated girl working on a tablet computer

Science

Cherry Hills Christian School first and foremost approaches science instruction with a biblical worldview. We believe everything in our world is created by God and planned by Him. Our science instruction in life science, Earth science and physical science is aligned with Colorado state standards and also integrated with our Language Arts program so students are sharpening their reading and writing skills as they learn science concepts. Classes encourage hands-on exploration and introduce students to the scientific method, which requires them to know the building blocks of research.

Mathematics

Mathematics instruction in The Lower School is based on Saxon Math, a spiraling curriculum that ensures students see the same topics multiple times with each encounter increasing in complexity and reinforcing previous learning. This provides a solid mathematical foundation. Lower School students also learn how to talk and write about math and to articulate the why behind a task. Teachers also use Singapore Math as a supplement for higher-achieving students, and in Grades 4 and 5, high achievers also are introduced to STAR math, which encourages them to tackle passion projects to make real-world connections. The STAR curriculum begins with basic formulas and fact recognization and over into geometric, algebraic and statistical concepts.

Social Studies

Students in The Lower School are encouraged to explore social studies though hands-on experiences and real-world connections. CHC has developed Inquiry-Based Learning projects to support social studies instruction in each grade. Our teachers incorporate a biblical worldview with each unit, giving students a deeper understanding of God’s plan for us throughout history. Our social studies curriculum is aligned strongly with our Language Arts curriculum, Reach for Reading, and also has been enhanced by our teachers with online resources; novel studies; off-campus experiences; and in-class, project-based lessons.

Two kids in winter clothing on a playground, smiling at each other

Physical Education

Students in The Lower School are challenged to be highly engaged learners and good sports who are willing to step outside their comfort zones to move, laugh and play hard! We strive to help students grow in confidence to accept physical and mental challenges with integrity. Students in Kindergarten meet weekly, and students in Grades 1-5 meet twice a week, for teacher-directed activity focused on helping them establish team-building skills and value play that his creative, fair and honorable. In addition to P.E. classes, students of The Lower School have opportunities to join club sports in the Fall and Spring.

Academic Enrichment

Art

Students work individually and in groups on art projects and learn about art history, elements of art, principles of design, and art from different cultures.

Music

The Lower School is where students are encouraged to begin a lifelong love for music and to explore their God-given talents. Classes are designed for all types of learners — visual, auditory and kinesthetic — and introduce students to voice, music theory, instrumentation and musical expression in world cultures. Students are exposed to the elements of music — including tempo, rhythm, playing and creating. They learn that dance is good for their brains, coordination, hearts and muscles. They play a variety of instruments as they are introduced to note reading and are exposed to musical selections to foster their appreciation of a variety of genres. Music classes are where students can feel safe taking risks and trying new things.

Library Science

Lifelong learning involves lifelong reading. Students in The Lower School become proficient gatherers and synthesizers of information. Each week, they visit CHC’s robust library to check out books required for classwork and for reading enjoyment.

Technology/STEAM Lab

Students in The Lower School learn a variety of essential computer skills, including Internet navigation and safety across devices; typing; word processing; production of multimedia presentations; and the basics of responsible digital citizenship. CHC’s STEAM Lab is a collaborative learning space where science, technology, engineering, arts and math are integrated to teach students how to use design-process thinking to solve real-world challenges. In this lab, students work individually and in groups to design, experiment, build and invent. It is also a safe space for them to try, fail and learn to persevere. Our ISTE-based STEAM curriculum instructs students through hands-on, exploratory learning.

STEAM Lab Success

Extra-Curricular Activities

After-School Clubs: There’s always something new for students to explore at CHC. After-school clubs are a great way for students to build positive relationships with teachers and peers.

Before and After Care: Parents of students in The Lower School have peace of mind knowing that their children are engaged in safe, constructive activities provided in a Christian environment where students can learn; take part in supervised recreation; and build strong, positive relationships with teachers and peers.

Kid smiling at the camera while standing in line

Biblical Worldview

In The Lower School, students learn to have a heart to serve Jesus and others; a soul that desires a close relationship with the Lord; a mind that seeks to learn about God, His world and their purpose in it; and strength of character and community.

Missions and Outreach

Projects and opportunities encouraging student to serve others also are introduced. Students in each grade of The Lower School are assigned a population to learn about and serve throughout the academic year.

Class sizes

Low class sizes and the support of teacher assistants help ensure the highest standard of differentiated learning to serve students.

The Lower School’s teacher-to-student ratios are 1:11 in Kindergarten, 1:14 in Grades 1-4 and 1:16 in Grade 5.

Our Faculty and Staff

  • Teachers in The Lower School have been selected carefully in keeping with CHC’s mission, and they exhibit outstanding teaching ability and a loving, Christ-like character.
  • Teachers are certified by the State of Colorado.
  • All teachers and CHC personnel are current in CPR/1st Aid and Universal Precautions. They consistently receive background checks.
  • CHC has a nurse on site throughout the school day to respond to illnesses and accidents.
  • We invite you to meet The Faculty and Staff.
Mary Joyce

Mary Joyce

Director of The Lower School

  • Bachelor's degree in Education from the University of Colorado Denver. Currently pursuing State of Colorado Principal licensure with an emphasis on Academic Leadership.
  • More than 15 years of professional experience, with special emphasis on curriculum planning and staff development for fellow educators.
  • Favorite Bible verse: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight. -- Proverbs 3:5-6 
  • Read her full bio here.
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