Foothills School creates classrooms that are grounded in our focus on differentiation of instruction. The school is comprised primarily of multi-age groupings of students called dyads; the Lower School is made up of a stand-alone Kindergarten, a 1st & 2nd Grade Dyad, and a 3rd & 4th Grade Dyad. These dyads allow fluid groupings that change throughout the day and are sometimes ability-grouped, sometimes purposefully heterogeneous, and sometimes driven by student choice of activities. Providing students avenues to grow intellectually, socially, emotionally, and creatively with a variety of peers in multiple settings (which meet their specific academic needs) maximizes opportunities for student growth and satisfaction within the learning environment at Foothills.
The strength of Foothills School’s mission lies in the equal weight given to personal, academic, and social responsibility. The school does not simply educate so that a student can excel on an end-of-year exam. Foothills is dedicated to providing an educational experience that inspires and creates passionate citizens of the world, who have all of the skills needed to affect change in their lives and in their changing communities.
Academic Priorities in the Lower School
Academic instruction in the lower grades at Foothills is focused on developing the core skills in mathematics and reading that ensure a student's success throughout their academic life. Reading instruction permeates the curriculum and the nationally-renowned mathematics curriculum, Investigations, is deployed throughout the school. Because the school's schedule is created to enable students' flexibility in classroom assignment, students are able to be placed in the right group for learning in these vital curricular areas - in other words, students are encouraged to learn at their pace and are assigned in the math and language classroom that best fits their personal learning needs.
Foothills is an educational leader in helping students learn to learn, and that begins in the early grades. The inquiry learning methodology permeates the classroom - we ask big questions and explore them across the curriculum.
Another major area of focus for the Lower School is ongoing social and physical development for young children. Physical education is a curricular area at the lower grades and music instruction at these levels includes significant work in rhythm and movement. At the level of interpersonal development, much of the instruction at Foothills is in small groups or teams and students develop shared community expectations that are consistently communicated throughout the year.