Lower School

Highlights of a typical day at Sheridan

ARRIVAL: Every student is greeted by name upon arrival at school. The school day begins with a morning meeting, where the class connects and students review their schedule for the day. This community-building is a crucial part of the Responsive Classroom approach.

ACADEMICS: After morning meeting, students follow a schedule of subjects led by Co-Teachers in each Lower School classroom. The core topics of Reading, Writing, Spelling, Social Studies, and Math are interspersed with specials, including Science, Spanish, Physical Education, Art, and Music. Taught by subject-area specialists, our departmental subjects support our students' development into well-rounded individuals. Students attend departmental classes multiple times per week, and schedules vary by grade. Lower school students usually attend departmental classes in half-groups, which allows for a more individualized experience.

LUNCH, RECESS, and QUIET TIME / MINDFULNESS: The school day prioritizes time for two recesses, a lunch period, and numerous breaks or mindfulness sessions scheduled by teachers as needed.

Our varied curriculum

List of 10 items.

  • Language Arts

    Guided by an intentional and structured literacy program, we aim to instill a love of reading and writing in our students across all grades. Our reading curriculum includes direct instruction with phonics, phonemic awareness, comprehension, fluency, vocabulary and writing. The Fundations (K-4) and Heggerty programs constitute the core curriculum for foundational early literacy skills. 

    As the students grow into fluent and independent readers and writers, they learn to read deeply and critically. Students read and write a wide variety of texts and genres that support their individual passions, other content in the classroom, and our social justice mission while learning the structure and conventions of English. 

    Choice is an important component of our program. Students choose books and writing topics that are meaningful to them, allowing us to meet learners where they are and ensuring that students feel a sense of ownership in their learning. We facilitate a collaborative learning environment in which students become a community of readers and writers – sharing their insights and offering feedback to one another.
  • Social Studies

    Social Studies at Sheridan focuses on the use of active inquiry, collaboration, and problem-solving to explore political, social, and economic issues from multiple perspectives. Teachers help social studies come to life through in-depth research projects and hands-on, engaging learning experiences, including simulations and field trips. 
  • Math

    Mathematics is about sense making. We investigate, reason, and puzzle through interesting questions, games, and concepts to build strong mathematical thinkers. To support this work, we use Investigations in Numbers, Data, and Space as our primary resource. Lessons are structured so that student thinking is at the center. Whether through a task, game, or discussion, students are actively involved in constructing their understanding of new concepts.
  • Science

    Sheridan’s science program prepares students to think as scientists, instills a lifelong love of the natural world, and encourages students to use scientific reasoning throughout their lives. It includes topics from across the sciences (earth, physical, space, and life) and focuses on building students’ scientific skills and practices. Throughout the grades, students actively engage in scientific inquiry in the laboratory and in the field.
  • Spanish

    Our integrated Spanish program is a rigorous, joyful, playful, and authentic way for students to gain proficiency in an additional language and to foster a love of language learning and culture. Students leave Sheridan proficient in Spanish and inspired to continue their studies in high school, either by deepening their understanding of Spanish or by pursuing a new language.
  • Music

    We develop in our students a love of music, an awakening of musical creativity, and an appreciation and deep respect for the music of many cultures. Our instructional approach is based on Orff-Schulwerk, a hands-on approach incorporating movement, singing, playing instruments, and dramatic expression in a developmental sequence.
  • Art

    We believe all of our students are artists.  Inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach, our program supports students as they develop an individual artistic vision that is informed by their own experiences, ideas, and understandings, as well as being grounded in the fundamental elements and principles of art. 
  • Physical Education

    Sheridan’s physical education program prepares children to be physically active and make healthy choices throughout their lives. The curriculum is based on the National Association for Sport and Physical Education Standards. Through cooperative and competitive activities, students learn how to work as part of a team and how to deal constructively with competition.
  • Technology

    Technology enhances the Sheridan curriculum and is integrated into our courses. We assign students a Chromebook in third grade and scaffold their learning with time for typing practice and direct instruction in using various applications they will need in class. Sheridan students experience visual programming using Scratch, and 3D design using Tinkercad and 3d printing. Digital tools available on student Chromebooks allow students to use podcasting and videos to create projects that showcase their learning.
  • Outdoor Education

    Through learning experiences at our Mountain Campus and other outdoor locations, students develop a strong connection to the environment, explore how society impacts the natural world, investigate and analyze environmental issues, and take individual and collective action toward preserving and protecting our natural world.
4400 36th Street, NW  |  Washington, DC 20008  |  (202) 362-7900
Founded in 1927, we are a vibrant K-8 progressive school with no more than 230 students, an engaged community, and a fierce commitment to both equity and diversity.