Lower School Philosophy
Lower School is a magical journey from Prekindergarten through Fourth Grade. Our goal is to prepare students to live as global citizens who possess the knowledge and strength of character to face the challenges of the 21st century. To do this, we create a well-balanced environment of high academic expectations, exposure to the outside world, social and emotional safety and development, and overall wellness.
The Lower School seeks to foster and model active learning rather than passive learning and to provide an atmosphere in which we learn from our mistakes and can utilize experience to build success. Our highly trained teachers enable children to create rather than imitate; to analyze, not just memorize, and to question, not simply accept.
Hammond—Developing the Whole Child
The teachers at the Lower School have a well-developed sense of community. We believe that each child is each adult’s responsibility, and every teacher on campus, from Prekindergarten through the 12th grade, appreciates that obligation. The coaches, for example, who guide our varsity sports teams also teach Lower School physical education and classroom teachers coach sports teams as well. That is the degree to which all teachers at Hammond are invested in your child’s success.
We stress the importance of being well rounded and well balanced: academics with athletics and good character; and all three of those with obligations to and relationships with our greater community and world. We teach that all these things are tied together and that each of these experiences help develop a child’s sense of compassion. Our greatest accomplishment at the Lower School comes when we convince our students that they can create their own ideas and solutions that truly make a difference in the world.
A signature program at Hammond is our Naturalist-in-Residence. From our youngest of children to the last days as a senior; students connect with the outdoor world. We learn of early technology, explore artifacts in our cabin and study the flora and fauna, some left unchanged for over a millennia. Our PreKindergarten children explore the grounds close to the Lower School, collecting treasures from mother nature as well as the occasional man made treasure. Children in K-4th venture to South Campus where we study of the school’s 77 acres of wetlands.
Country of Study
Each year Hammond selects a country of study. During the summer months a teacher from each division travels to this country. Throughout the school year children experience art, music, geography, food and many other facets of the culture. In late winter the Lower School is transformed into the select country and children are immersed into a day of hands on learning.
Scholars call it experiential education. Children call it what it is: leaving the inside for the world outside; getting their hands dirty; and learning by doing. Beginning at the earliest grades we experience a bigger world through off campus field studies. Whether it’s a day spent at Riverbanks Zoo exploring the coral reefs or a day at Fort Sumter active engagement is a part of the Hammond experience. Our 4th Graders participate in their first overnight learning experience by traveling back to the 1840’s at Earthshine in Lake Toxaway, North Carolina. Through these overnight opportunities children not only learn more about the subjects but learn to work cooperatively, meet challenges and solve problems outside the haven of home and school.