Lower School Signature Programs
Ask a current Rowland Hall fifth grader—or even an alum, 10 years out—“What was one of your favorite parts about fifth grade?” and they will likely answer, “Buddies!” Memories are made when the oldest students on the McCarthey Campus team up with Beginning School students to read with each other, to create art projects, to enjoy playground activities, and to share in the sheer pleasure of learning. Kindergartners feel more comfortable when the transition to first grade takes them to the biggest building on campus because they had a personal tour from an older, wiser friend. Fifth graders enjoy all of the special moments and memories being a buddy offers.
Rowland Hall set the stage for the burgeoning elementary school chess movement in the ’90s and has been teaching Lower School students the game—and winning chess championships at city, state, and national levels—ever since. As one of several Specialty classes, students in grades one through five go to chess class weekly to learn essential skills such as predicting, problem solving, using empathy in winning and losing, taking risks, and learning from mistakes. Numerous studies highlight the benefits of chess in education, including teaching tactical thinking, higher order pattern recognition, self-discipline, and time management skills. Rowland Hall is one of the very few institutions in the country that offers chess as a part of the regular school curriculum.
Students seeking more chess time or competitive chess settings can become involved in Chess Club, offered after school via the Extended Day program. Many of those students join the school’s chess team that participates in local, state, and national tournament competitions.
One of the best-loved and longest running traditions at Rowland Hall is our Winter Sports program—five Friday afternoons in January and February, during which Lower School and Middle School students and faculty engage in a variety of recreational activities. Choices vary each year: past favorites have included alpine and cross-country skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, rock climbing, rollerblading and skating, indoor soccer, gymnastics, creative dance, basketball, and swimming.
Third graders have been presenting biographies of famous people every May for over 20 years—and now they use tools like iPads for their presentations! Each year, third graders choose a biography to read and then share their book report in the persona of their subject, much to the delight of their classmates, teachers, and parents. Walt Disney, Albert Einstein, Michelle Obama, Rosa Parks, John Lennon, Alexander Graham Bell, Eleanor Roosevelt, and more make their appearances...in costume.