PCA’s Lower School academics, extracurricular activities, and arts focus on making learning meaningful and preparing “Christ-centered graduates impacting the world for good.” Each level of instruction addresses the whole child- social, emotional, spiritual, physical, and cognitive.
Bible instruction and virtues provide the framework for our school culture. Students are created in the image of God and it is the desire of each faculty member to see each one maximize the potential God has given. Bible instruction that begins with the Bible stories and moves through character studies, spiritual disciplines, and hermeneutical principles, help the students grow socially, emotionally, and spiritually.
Because God has created students with many areas of giftedness, there is a full complement of co-curricular activities through fine arts, athletics, academic competitions, and social activities. Kaleidoscope, our out-of-school program, provides many activities that support development of varied giftedness.
PCA supports student academic growth in several ways. Based on a classical philosophy of education, the grammar phase of learning introduces skills of reading and number sense in the primary grades. Elementary years see the addition of content knowledge and long-term memory development. In the logic component, Junior high students learn to engage in higher levels of thinking, speaking, and writing. To support the “work of learning,” executive skills such as organization, time management, and flexible thinking partner with metacognitive skills of self-monitoring, reflection, and elaboration, creating a program that prepares student for the expectations of high school and beyond.
NWEA testing, curriculum-based assessments, and teacher input, provide data to create differentiated learning opportunities that offer students the “right” amount of challenge. We desire to see each child not only succeed, but thrive in ways that will support them in further growth.
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.
- Before and After Care. PCA provides before- and after-care through the Kaleidoscope program.
- Community Service. At each grade level, PCA has goals in community service beginning at the school level, then the local area, region, and finally international opportunities.
- DC Trip. Grade 8 students complete their study of contemporary history with a trip to Washington, D.C.
- Enrichment and Electives. At every grade level, PCA provides opportunities for students to explore areas of interest, future goals and particular gifts. Other classes provide opportunity for students to focus on a relative weakness, using interventions and strategies to improve in a selected area. For many PCA students, the learning continues after school in the Kaleidoscope program. This program provides additional classes in the arts, problem solving, athletics, curriculum enrichment, life skills and study skills. Offerings include cooking classes, karate, music and art lessons, science workshops, homework help, and more.
- Math Clusters. To better meet student learning needs, in grades 4 through 8, students learn math in clusters of students who need a similar pace of learning at a similar skill level. Clusters include students of multiple ages who enjoy working in a challenging, but not overwhelming environment.
- Music. Students are introduced to music in kindergarten through grade 2, learning to sing pitch, beat rhythms and “read” music. In grade 3, students experience playing instruments through an introduction to the violin. Following in grades 4 through 8, students select a performance opportunity that they would like to pursue, looking at options in band, orchestra, voice, and an elective, that rotates through guitar, percussion, and keyboard.
- Student-to-Student Learning. Beginning in the fourth grade, students are paired up with younger students to serve as Reading and Math Buddies and Shepherds for arrival and dismissal. The older students learn about leadership and compassion, and they introduce these to their buddies during the time they spend together each week reading, interacting and making lasting friendships.
- Student Council. PCA offers students in grades 6 through 8 the opportunity to participate in a service-oriented student council program that combines elements of project management, community service, and representational government.