Lower School News

Lower School Hosts Virtual STEAMlet Expo
Rachel Freeman, communications/website manager

The Lower School STEAMlet Expo was originally  scheduled to take place March 13, the first day of Nueva’s campus closure.

“We were all ready for the expo,” Lower School science teacher Elena Stamatakos recounted. “We had a committee of parent and faculty volunteers, we had lab coats and clipboards ready for them, and the student projects were all complete.”

The Lower School STEAMlet Expo is an opportunity for students in prekindergarten through fourth grade to showcase their love of science, technology, engineering, art, and math and apply their skills to experimentation around a topic about which they are passionate. It began last year when Elena noticed that the larger all-school STEM Fair was focused more on the Upper and Middle Schools. 

While the event could not be held in person this year, it did move into a virtual space, with Lower School Division Head Megan Terra leading the efforts. Megan emailed Lower School parents with a call for STEAMlet project submissions via email. Submissions included photos, videos, and write-ups about student projects. These submissions were turned into the virtual expo located here, and readers can meet nature's great engineers, explore the science of fluorescence, and see mathematical patterns take shape. 

The projects students created were impressive and creative, and included The Science of Paper Airplanes, Building a Home Computer, and Menger Sponge Fractals & 35 Octodecillion (10^57) Blocks. 

At a recent Lower School community meeting, the group played a trivia game, drawing from the students’ projects. Students were excited to answer the questions about what they had explored in the virtual expo.

“This was a really great opportunity for me to learn more about the students and their interests outside of class,” Lower School associate teacher Amy Li said. “It’s fun to see students be excited about teaching something to their community.” 

Elena said, “For me the biggest value with this expo is that it gives students an opportunity to experience what it’s like to come up with a project and follow through with it on their own. The things I really appreciate about the in-person STEM Fair are the student projects, and the fact that this core piece got to live on in this remote world is pretty special.” 


Read More

A PreK student playing in a puddle in a sandbox

PreK students have been our pioneers of hybrid learning! Watch scenes from their life on campus and hear more from students about their experiences this year.

Lower School Mavericks Days Provide Teachers Time to Prepare for our Return to Campus

As the lower school plans to return to campus came into greater focus late last month, Lower School Head Megan Terra felt strongly that she needed to find an extended amount of time for her teachers to plan, discuss, and put in action all that is involved with welcoming students back to their in-person classrooms.

Lower school teachers were incredibly grateful for the time Megan and our Mavericks Days programs afforded them. They used the time to prepare, create, and discuss every aspect of the upcoming return to campus.

Investigation Provides Foundational Theme of Kindergarten

Questions abound in our lower school classrooms, and student inquiry is the driving force behind the yearlong theme in kindergarten. This theme of investigation provides a through line for a number of explorations that kindergarteners will engage in over the course of the year, the first of which is a focus on identity. 

Literably Literally Helps Build Student Literacy

With the move to remote learning, and the challenges teachers face of being able to meet one-on-one with their young students, reading specialist Liza Zassenhaus introduced the lower school faculty to Literably, a reading assessment tool that provides teachers with information on student accuracy, fluency, and comprehension. 

Lower School Social-emotional Learning Classes Equip Students with Important Remote Learning Skills

Since remote learning began, students have been faced with a multitude of challenges that are unique to the times. Dedicated weekly social-emotional learning (SEL) classes for students in 1st through 12th grades (SEL is integrated into the curriculum in preK and K) have proven to be particularly valuable during this time, equipping students with the tools needed to develop resilience, confidence, and well-being. 

In the spring, lower school SEL specialist Lisa Hinshelwood noticed there was a need for third and fourth grade students to develop executive skills, such as skills around organization, planning, and prioritization. 

Lower School Hosts Virtual STEAMlet Expo

The Lower School STEAMlet Expo was originally  scheduled to take place March 13, the first day of Nueva’s campus closure. While the event could not be held in person this year, it did move into a virtual space.

Traveling Back in Time

At Nueva, you can travel the world. From ancient Egypt and Mali to Suva, Fiji, we are constantly exploring. The fourth graders, on April 8, traveled back approximately 3,000 years ago to the School of Athens.