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Lower School (PreK-5)

A few important things to know about the Lower School

We start with the essentials.

Everything that makes us great—everything that helps our students flourish—begins with joy and belonging. Our Advisory program teaches foundational social and emotional skills: kindness and respect, collaboration and self-advocacy. Our days are designed to be inspiring and engaging, with dedicated time for group projects and focused individual work, hands-on activities and quiet reflection, making art and playing music, trying new activities and making new discoveries.

We follow the Science … of Reading!

Strong literacy skills are an integral part of a student’s success across all disciplines. MPH Lower School prioritizes building teacher knowledge to implement explicit, systematic reading and spelling instruction that aligns with the scientific reading research. We believe that teachers need to have access to the “why” and “how” behind literacy instructional practices that come from 40+ years of reading research. To develop skilled readers, our approach focuses on teaching word recognition and language comprehension. We explicitly teach students phonological awareness, decoding skills, and sight recognition while strengthening their background knowledge, vocabulary, language structures, verbal reasoning, and literacy knowledge.

Fun (and powerful) fact: MPH is one of only two schools in Central New York where all K-5 students receive explicit systematic reading instruction that builds automaticity in word recognition and strengthens language comprehension. MPH is informed by the nationally recognized and Syracuse-based Reading League, a nonprofit leader in strengthening teacher practice using the Science of Reading as a foundation.

We take Math to the next level, and out into the world.

We take an inquiry-based approach to mathematics which allows children the opportunity to delve deeply into rich, relatable problem solving tasks. Our students work together to build a community of learners where we learn with and from each other and our teachers craft instruction that meets students at their unique aptitude. Solving real world problems opens our students to the process of developing solutions and defending their thinking, just like real mathematicians. But our math instruction goes above and beyond. If we’re studying ancient civilizations, we’ll do math problems about building a pyramid, or science projects about irrigation. Students do a lot of hands-on work—creating and building—while they also get into deep discussions about (for example) how numbers work. The result is math education that’s exciting, enriching, and relevant.

We are an academic playground (with an actual playground)!

Our Lower School curriculum incorporates music, art, dance, performing arts, SEL (Social Emotional Learning) class, Suzuki strings instruction, library time, daily Core Health, and recess. Appreciating the importance of moving young bodies and feeding creative minds, our school day balances critical Core instruction in Literacy, Math, Science, and History with opportunities to move, play, dance, create, and explore! Lower Schoolers have Physical Education and recess daily, allowing time and space to be a kid, connect with peers, and get outdoors. Making sure students have these creative and physical outlets ensures their minds and bodies are regulated, setting the stage for meaningful learning.

We help our students thrive as citizen and learners.

We teach our youngest learners the concept of perspective, empowering them to view the world through a variety of different lenses. We also teach them to be critical consumers of information. In a world where information is available 24/7 through a wide array of sources, we teach students how to think critically about how and where they acquire information. We create opportunities for students to study current and historical events from a variety of perspectives, empowering them to develop informed conclusions and opinions. Most importantly, we do this in an environment that values empathy, kindness, and inclusion, guiding our youngest learners to develop a strong sense of empathy and compassion.

There’s much more to know about the Lower School. Inquire to Admissions to start a conversation, learn more about your child’s specific grade level, or schedule a campus tour.