Lower School | K–5

Lower School Specials

Dawson Lower School students spend nearly one and a half hours a week each in music, art, Spanish, PE, library, and technology classes, all of which are closely integrated with their classroom curriculum. 


Art classes spring from the joy of students expressing themselves through projects, suitable to each grade with focus on experimental use of media.  Often, student work is based on homeroom studies.  The study of lines, patterns, shapes, values, colors, contrast, texture, and three-dimensional elements guide project work. 

Library/Media Literacy

Library/Media Literacy provides literature studies and appreciation, information skills, and academic support. The Media Center’s open-door policy encourages students, faculty, and families to use the library’s facilities from early morning to after school.  

Life Skills

Life Skills class meets once a week in the library and is taught by the counselors. Students receive social emotional lessons from the PATHS program (Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies). Students learn and discuss topics including emotional regulation, friendships, conflict, and more.


Music exposes children to a wide range of musical styles, develops their musical skills, and provides opportunities for them to be inspired by music.  When children leave the Lower School, they can read and compose music, follow a written score, and play various musical instruments. Music literacy is emphasized throughout the music curriculum, using the Kodaly and Orff-Schulwerk approaches.

Physical Education

Physical education is a combination of fitness, skill and concept development, and sportsmanship.  Teachers work with students to set goals, while developing and maintaining individual levels of fitness.  The development, enhancement, and understanding of movement competency are critical for each student.  Responsible and respectful personal and social behaviors in a physically active setting are essential.  


By introducing world language in the early years, students gain exposure to practices that will aid them as they continue in language studies. In ways appropriate to age and level of competency, students use the target language of Spanish to practice the four essential linguistic components of listening, speaking, reading, and writing. World Cultures is taught in kindergarten, with Spanish taught in first through fourth grades.


Students in grades K-5 at Dawson enjoy a rigorous and adventurous study of technology. Our approach is multidisciplinary, and collaborative with core subjects taught in the classroom. Our technology curriculum is focused on five primary areas:
1. Foundational Technology Skills - Computer and iPad use, word processing, presentations, spreadsheets, keyboarding, and general technology literacy;
2. Coding - software programming;
3. Engineering and Design - electronics, 3D modeling/printing, prototyping;
4. Robotics - design, construction, operation, and application of robots;
5. Digital Media - photography, video, audio, learning portfolios, and reflections.