Pre-K–Grade 4
The Experience
Pre-K-Grade 4 Program

Curriculum Overview

In the Lower School, we lay a strong academic foundation and promote a love of learning that will last boys a lifetime. We cultivate passionate readers and writers, foster analytical thinking and problem solving, and nurture creativity and innovation. Cooperation, respect, trust, and teamwork begin here.

View our Full Curriculum or browse the Lower School Curriculum Overview below.

Curriculum Overview

Our Lower School curriculum is divided into core classes and “specials.” Core classes, taught by the homeroom teacher, include language arts, math, and social studies. “Specials,” such as music, art, science, physical education, Spanish, and library/technology, are taught by specialists in each field. A general description of each class offered in the Lower School is provided below. To view the complete curriculum details, click here.

Core Curriculum

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  • Language Arts

    From learning sound-symbol relationships and writing books in the lower grades, to crafting persuasive letters and poetry in the upper grades, Lower School boys have vast exposure to language and letters. Students have multiple opportunities throughout the year to share their writing using diverse media. Each boy also submits a favorite writing piece to Fessy Paw Prints, our annual Lower School literary publication.
  • Mathematics

    Fessenden’s math program encourages students to make connections between concepts and procedures, and presents opportunities for all students to participate in mathematical discourse. We understand that many students learn best by doing, so, by incorporating problems that reflect reality, we help them translate concepts to real-world applications, increasing their mathematical fluency.
  • Social Studies

    Through a theme of “community,” our youngest students learn about their families and school and progress, as they get older, to learning about their connections the world. Many projects and multi-modal units engage students to learn about various cultures, both historical and present day.


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  • Art

    Students are introduced to various materials and are encouraged to explore their creativity through a series of guided art sessions. Matching their energy and developmental levels, students take part in collaborative and individual projects which focus primarily on the process. As their skills progress, they practice a variety of techniques and styles and learn about different genres and artists.
  • Music

    Through singing, movement and rhythm activities, improvisation, and collaboration, Lower School boys explore music in a vibrant and engaging setting. Each grade takes the stage in a musical theater production and performs at various community events throughout the year. Boys begin their instrumental music journeys with visits to the Music Technology Lab for keyboarding skills, and later studying the recorder and ukulele. In fourth grade, the program expands to include brass, woodwind, and string ensembles. 
  • Science

    At Fessenden, we embrace “science by doing,” a philosophy that aims to capture young boys’ innate curiosity. We encourage them to ask questions and provide them opportunities for hands-on inquiry.
  • Spanish

    Children learn Spanish, expand cultural awareness, reinforce grade-level fundamentals such as math and literacy, and have fun at the same time. The program develops listening and speaking skills through oral presentations, pictures, songs, games, and group and individual activities.
  • Library

    Learning how to use the library and proficiently accessing information through books and the Internet are key skills for students. We match resources to units of study in the classroom and select outside-reading books for genre focus, reading level, and interest.
  • Physical Education

    The primary goal of physical education at Fessenden is to develop boys’ knowledge, skills, and confidence to help them enjoy a lifetime of healthful physical activity. Students learn individual skills and team play through group activities and games, and develop good sportsmanship through teaching that focuses on how to be gracious regardless of game outcome.
  • Technology

    Educational technology is integrated throughout the curriculum. Students learn how to navigate various devices and software applications and apply what they learn to their work in the classroom and beyond. Our goal is to help students understand how to appropriately utilize technology as way to augment learning.

The Lappin Skills Center

Lower School students receive extensive individual support within the classroom. When a boy needs extra assistance, the Lappin Skills Center provides individualized, remedial instruction in reading, writing, phonics, spelling, study skills, and mathematics. Each student’s program is designed to meet his individual objectives based on classroom performance assessments and standardized test scores. On-site assistance allows for frequent communication between a student’s tutor and his teachers.
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The Fessenden School
250 Waltham Street
West Newton, MA 02465
(617) 964-5350

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