In the Lower School, students are known as individual learners within a caring community of excellence. The Lower School is the largest division of Newman and spans a substantial period of development, from pre-kindergarten to fifth grade. Students begin their educational adventures here and emerge with the knowledge and critical thinking skills that will help them excel in Middle School and beyond.

The curriculum establishes a strong foundation in reading, writing, math, social studies, and science, which employs three separate labs for students in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade. The curriculum is enhanced by rich learning experiences in the arts (including visual arts, drama, band, music, and chorus), world languages (students may choose between French and Spanish), Design Thinking and Innovation, and physical education.

Lower School students build on classroom lessons through endeavors great and small: we study coastal erosion and plant tree seedlings in the Louisiana wetlands; we solve multi-step algebraic math problems using bar modeling; and we write books, paint, make music, and explore world cultures. The curriculum, based on current educational research and best practices, is aligned so that the student’s academic journey is progressive and expansive. Please explore content areas below to learn more about the Lower School curriculum.

List of 8 items.

  • Language Arts & Humanities

    Newman’s Balanced Literacy curriculum emphasizes an integrated approach to Language Arts and enables students to gain proficiency in reading, writing, word study and grammar, communication, and handwriting. Balanced Literacy encourages differentiated instruction and learning based on the student’s individual needs and interests, while offering authentic reading and writing experiences. These opportunities for introducing skills are modeled by the teacher through mini-lessons and are reinforced through independent practice, in partnerships, or in small groups with teacher guidance. Learn more about Balanced Literacy here.

    Fifth grade Humanities combines the traditional Language Arts and Social Studies classes in order to help students focus deeply on three key skill areas: reading, writing, and critical and creative thinking. In class, students explore the medieval world, studying historical events and encountering literature that gives them a window onto this time period. Research projects and writing assignments focus on the Middle Ages, allowing students to deepen their knowledge about this era, while also practicing their research and writing skills. During the fall, students focus on the Middle Ages in Europe, examining the effects of the fall of Rome, the feudal system, the rise of towns, and the Crusades. In the winter, our focus shifts to the Middle East, where Islam developed and a “golden age” of intellectual achievements and advancements occurred. In the spring, our world tour concludes in medieval Japan, a feudal society quite similar to Europe. Throughout the year, fifth graders are encouraged to examine relationships between people, events, and works of literature, all while deepening their skills in terms of grammar, vocabulary, comprehension, writing, public speaking, and research.
  • Mathematics

    Newman adopted the Singapore Framework for Math Education in 2007 for our kindergarten to fifth grade students, and we use the Math in Focus series. Singapore Math is designed to create an environment where all of our students are challenged to develop essential skills and the deepest mathematical understanding. Our goal is to provide a rigorous and engaging math curriculum that develops students as mathematicians and thinkers. Learn more about Singapore Math here.
  • Science

    The Lower School science program illustrates to students that science encompasses all aspects of our daily lives. The courses are designed so that all students can be successful in “discovering” science, having positive attitudes toward the discipline, and developing scientific reasoning. The science curriculum employs hands-on, inquiry based learning methods. Students develop an understanding of the concepts and topics presented through observation, inquiry, research, and discovery. Concepts are reinforced through hands-on experiments and activities that address students’ varying learning styles including lectures, multi-media presentations, and readings.

    Newman's Lower School science program encourages students to think in a systematic way. Students arrange observations and facts to ask questions, make predictions, and draw conclusions. Students explore scientific concepts with the integration of technology in our science lab, using laptop computers, digital microscopes, and probes, electronic mentoring with scientists, creating and programming LEGO robotics, conducting internet searches, and creating photo stories and podcasts.

    Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are addressed in each lesson, and all activities and experiments are designed to meet the standards of the National Association for the Education of Young Children.
  • Social Sciences

    The Lower School social sciences curriculum is focused on developing each student’s awareness of self and his or her place in our world. We apply the lens of our core values of kindness, honesty, respect, and responsibility learn about significant historical events and their effects, study communities, and solve problems. Students learn to research, express ideas both orally and in writing, and engage with opposing viewpoints.

    In early grades we begin to understand our world and our role in it by starting small, focusing on families, our School, and neighborhoods. We then expland our scope to learn about our local, national, and global community as we work to produce citizens who make purposeful contributions to our culturally diverse, interdependent world.
  • Physical Education

    The Physical Education program is multi-faceted. At the primary level (pre-kindergarten to second grade), the emphasis is on gross motor development and basic sensory functioning through small-group non-competitive activities, though some basic level of competition is introduced at the first and second grades. In third through fifth grade, emphasis is placed on positive experiences in the area of sports and physical fitness. General gross motor skill instruction evolves into skill development that is more sport-specific. Basic rules and strategies are taught.

    Newman students benefit by having access to PE teachers who are among the best coaches in New Orleans. Sports and PE classes are practiced in extensive, high-quality facilities that include a swimming pool and turfed football field. In addition to physical education classes, sportsmanship is practiced and recognized each year by coaches and fellow students through special assemblies.
  • Design Thinking

    Newman’s Innovation and Design Thinking program is incorporated into the curriculum from pre-kindergarten to 12th grade. At its foundation is a collection of mindsets that empower students to be creative problem solvers at school and throughout their lives. These mindsets are empathy, an attitude of prototyping, collaboration, iteration, and feedback.

    Pre-K through 5th grade students attend a weekly class in the Innovation Lab to develop skills such as tool safety, prototyping, teamwork, brainstorming, and empathy. Design Thinking challenges are introduced at the earliest level and continue to increase in scope through 5th grade, at which point students begin tackling challenges involving the greater Newman community. Learn more about Design Thinking here.
  • World Language

    The study of world languages at Newman reinforces the School’s mission to develop an appreciation for cultural differences and to engender in each student the skills, attitude, and character necessary for productive lifelong learning.

    In the Lower School, students have the opportunity to take either French or Spanish. The World Language Department stresses speaking skills from the very beginning. Culture is integrated into daily lessons so that students learn to understand and value differences and to develop a deep appreciation for other cultures.
  • Visual & Performing Arts

    The Lower School places a strong emphasis on the arts. We offer formal classes in music and the visual and performing arts, as well as myriad opportunities for artistic exploration outside of the classroom.

    Students in pre-kindergarten through 3rd grade attend music class twice a week, where they sing and play instruments to cultivate their musicianship. The Kodaly Concept informs most of the music curriculum at Newman, with five main aims: Empowering students to be stewards of their musical and cultural heritage, increasing their self-confidence with performance opportunities, honing critical thinking skills through music, molding students into creative human beings, and growing them into informed audience members.

    In fourth grade, all students choose to study a musical instrument, to sing in the chorus, or to study acting. With attention paid to fundamental concepts of intonation, sight singing, and vocal production, Newman has an award-winning band and chorus, a percussion ensemble, and an a cappella singing group.

    Throughout the Lower School, we strive to develop each student’s creativity through the visual arts. Each year, students use a variety of media – painting, print making, drawing, ceramics, and sculpture. Students meet and learn from visiting professional artists in the Reynolds Ryan Art Gallery. Students also collaborate with the New Orleans Museum of Art.

Contact Faculty & Staff

1903 Jefferson Avenue
New Orleans, LA 70115
Phone: 504.899.5641
Fax: 504.896.8597
Open 7:45 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Monday through Friday
An independent,
non-denominational day
school in New Orleans for
early childhood through 12th grade