Lower School Curriculum | Oakbrook Preparatory School


Oakbrook Lower School seeks to provide our students with a rich and rigorous curriculum. We build a strong foundation for future learning in the core subjects and related arts through hands-on, project-based learning while preparing our students for 21st century skills of critical thinking, creativity, communication and collaboration.


For over 30 years Saxon Math has been delivering proven results for students in Grades K-12. The Saxon Math curriculum has an incremental structure that distributes content throughout the year. This integrated and connected approach provides deep, long-term mastery of content and skills. Topics are never dropped, but are instead increased in complexity and practiced every day, providing the time required for concepts to become totally familiar. Teachers hold “math meetings” to stress application of skills and concepts. Students become involved through activities and visual display

English/Language Arts:
Open Court (Grades K3-1st grade) is a research-based curriculum grounded in systematic, explicit instruction of phonemic awareness, phonics and word knowledge, strategies in comprehension, inquiry, writing and language arts skills. Reading fine literature is one of the founding principles of Open Court Reading. As children read classic and contemporary literature, they discover the importance of clarity of thought and word. They enjoy an abundant reading experience that moves them toward independent, self-directed learning.

Journeys (Grades 2-4) Journeys is a comprehensive reading/vocabulary, writing, spelling, and grammar language arts program. The remarkable vocabulary instruction builds better readers and writers while also providing intervention for struggling students. Explicit instruction of Foundational Skills ensures mastery of basic reading and decoding skills. Exemplar Texts provided throughout each level offer rich, high-quality literature and give students the opportunity for close reading and analysis using full-length trade books. Daily Classroom Conversations help students clearly express their ideas in a variety of settings.

Science and Social Studies:
The Core Knowledge Series is the framework for Oakbrook’s Science and Social Studies curriculum. It is a “solid, sequenced, specific, shared core curriculum” that helps children establish strong foundations of knowledge, grade by grade. The Core Knowledge series believes that for the sake of academic excellence, greater equity and higher literacy, elementary schools need to teach a coherent, cumulative and content-specific core curriculum. Science topics for preschool- 2nd grade include plants/seeds, insects, animal habitats, nature studies, weather, the human body, earth’s layers, and oceans.

Science topics for Grades 3-4 include animal habitats (worm dissection in 3rd), weather, solar system (field trip to Challenger Museum in 3rd), rocks and minerals, human body (cow’s heart dissection in 4th).

Social Studies topics in Preschool – 2nd grade include Native Americans (Thanksgiving Feasts) Prairie life (Little House on the Prairie Day in K5), Famous Americans, map skills, time lines, Revolutionary War, Egypt, Japan, Greece (Greek Agora in 2nd), and Immigrants(Welcome to Ellis Island in 2nd).

Social Studies topics for Grades 3-4 include geographical studies of the world’s rivers and mountain ranges, Colonial Life (field trip to Walnut Grove in 3rd and Camp Thunderbird in 4th), SC history (field trip to State House and State Museum in 3rd), Famous Americans (Wax Museum in 4th), Revolutionary War (Literature Circles in 4th), Ancient Rome, and Medieval Times (Medieval Feast in 4th).

Thinking Maps: Thinking Maps integrates thinking skills with mapping techniques (based on eight patterns). Learning to use these strategies helps students develop good writing skills. These techniques also help students become better learners as they develop life-long skills to help them study. Thinking Maps uses basic mental operations involving perceiving, processing, and evaluating information. Students learn to describe, classify, and sequence. Thinking Maps may be used across the grade levels and subject areas.

World Languages:(German and Spanish) Oakbrook introduces languages to students beginning in our K3 program through 2nd grade with a “survey class” of the two languages taught one day a week. Each class rotation lasts 12 weeks and introduces students to the vocabulary and culture of that language. At the end of 2nd grade, students (with their family) choose a language to study the remaining years of their education at Oakbrook. Our 3rd graders continue to meet once a week and use the vocabulary learned in grades prior grades to learn phrases and sentences. Fourth graders receive instruction twice a week and begin to really build up their vocabularies and receive beginning grammar instruction. Answering questions in complete sentences and full comprehension are goals at this level. In class projects and celebrations help teach students about the cultural differences of World Languages.

Physical Education: (Sports, Play and Active Recreation for Kids-SPARK) is a unique program designed with activities that are inclusive, highly active, integrate academic and wellness concepts and are fun for all students. Instructional units are designed to develop students’ motor, cognitive and social skills. Preschool and Kindergarten students have PE once a week and Grades 1-4 have PE twice a week.

Creative Arts: The Lower School Creative Arts class provides opportunities for students to experiment and create in the areas of Visual Art, Drama and Movement. Through a variety of activities from painting to puppetry to choreography, students discover the art forms they enjoy most and in the process they often uncover hidden talents. The products of the Creative Arts class are displayed in the halls (Visual Arts) and performed in various venues throughout the school year (Drama/Movement). As a result of the Creative Arts class, the students are better able to choose the areas of art they would like to pursue in the Upper School elective programs.

Music: The goal of Oakbrook’s Lower School Music program is to build a foundation for music expression and music appreciation. Students sing, move and play percussion instruments. They are given an introduction to music theory and by the third grade, the students are ready to play songs on recorders. Throughout the year students have opportunities to perform. Each school year culminates in a spring concert based on the music units covered during the year. *General Music/Music History units give the students the opportunity to recognize and enjoy the beauty of the Music past and present. Two to four music units are covered each year including composers, the orchestra, opera, hymn-writers, jazz, broadway and many more.

Computer Lab: Computer Lab Lower school students come to the computer lab to enrich their classroom experiences through educational videos, web quests and games.
Our youngest students, K4 and K5 practice reading and math skills that incorporate computer skills with fun activities.

First, second, and third grade students expand their knowledge of the world and practice skills with a wide variety of websites including BrainPop Jr., Culture Grams, Spelling City, Quizlet, and ScootPad.

Third and fourth grade students learn keyboarding skills with an online typing program. Completing this program will provide the students with the knowledge and ability to touch type.

Christian Education

Oakbrook is a non-denominational Christian School that seeks to compliment the work of the family and church. We teach children that all truths are God’s Truths and do not separate the secular education from the sacred one. We seek to naturally integrate discussions and application of the Christian faith into the full educational experience, both inside and outside of the classroom. Oakbrook seeks to lay a strong Biblical foundation with an emphasis on memorization of key Bible verses, general Biblical literacy and training students how to look to God’s word to guide behavior and distinguish right from wrong.

  • Weekly Chapel Lessons – students learn from Old Testament heroes and the life of Jesus and his disciples and learn to apply this knowledge in the classroom, family and in the community.

  • Daily Devotions – Teachers chose age appropriate devotions to read and discuss with students that support the weekly chapel lessons and provide a classroom community of spiritual growth and godly character.

  • Weekly Scripture Memory – verses are chosen from the Old and New Testament and support the quarterly topics and school-wide theme. We place a high emphasis on hiding God’s Word within the hearts and minds of our students. Topics include -The Fruit of the Spirit, Building Godly Character, Bible Truths, Choosing God’s Way and Missions.