PCA’s Lower School program of academics, extracurricular activities, arts, and athletics is focused on making learning meaningful for the students and preparing them for a life of service. At each level of instruction, care is taken to teach material in developmentally appropriate ways, recognizing the student’s cognitive, personal, and spiritual stage of development as well as the individual’s learning style.
Following a classical philosophy of education, the course of study moves from concrete thinking to the skills of abstract reasoning. In the primary level (grades K-2), there is a focus on the skills of reading, writing, and math that form the framework for all future learning; at the elementary level (grades 3-5), the training revolves around strategies for gaining and organizing knowledge; at the junior high level (grades 6-8), the students are taught to synthesize their factual knowledge and develop good oral and written presentations of their logic.
Self-regulation skills of goal setting, self-monitoring, reflection, and revision are introduced to the elementary learner and the growth of these skills is supported throughout the junior high program. The School’s culture emphasizes the need for students to work to their potential, to seek help when needed, and to strive for excellence.
PCA uses NWEA testing to measure students against performance level standards. PCA consistently has 90 to 95 percent of students at “proficient” or “proficient with distinction” categories. Both resource and enrichment opportunities exist for students who require such services and student needs are monitored closely.
The Lower School academic program is supported by a full complement of co-curricular activities through music and art, theatre, athletics, academic competition (spelling bee, geography bee, speech competition, math team, etc.) and social activities.