Outside the classroom, adventure awaits our lower-school students. Just as the curriculum takes you on an amazing journey, so does campus life. Students in the lower school enjoy field trips, plays, and projects that allow them not only to learn material, but also to experience it first-hand. Students enter ancient caves to see original cave drawings, become ambassadors of peace at the International Day of Peace celebration, and perform in a variety of dramatic roles ranging from “Jane” the dinosaur to the emperor in the “Emperor’s New Clothes.” These adventures grow along with the children’s minds and imaginations.
Campus life also provides lower-school students many opportunities to interact with middle and upper school students. Lunches often overlap, upper school students assist athletic coaches, and some middle school students help organize after-school activities. In addition, lower school students enjoy some wonderful special events such as the Halloween parade, the Classics and Chrome Car Show, Walk-a-Thon, and Fine Arts Week to name a few.
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Many parents need after-school care for their children. Our Stay and Play (SAP) program allows children to be engaged in learning until 5:30 p.m. One of the great benefits of SAP is that we have teachers available to help with homework assignments.
In addition to SAP, Keith also offers after-school activities for students to explore new areas of interest, develop their talents and have fun with their friends. These activities change throughout the year and often are run by middle and upper school students or guest teachers. Recent activities have included chess and comic book clubs, dance or music lessons, art classes and soccer. To find out more about what activities are currently scheduled, contact Julie Swift at 815-399-8850, ext. 114.
Educational travel is an important part of the Keith lower school experience. Well-planned field trips afford an experiential learning opportunity that cannot be duplicated in the classroom. Field trips play an integral role in increasing student knowledge and understanding of a subject, add a sense of realism to the topic of study and provide an opportunity to develop and enhance a student’s socialization and citizenship skills. Field trips change from year to year but recent opportunities have included: the Discovery Center, Nicholas Conservatory, Anderson Japanese Gardens, the Milwaukee Zoo, the Chicago Art Museum and Skyrise Senior Center.
Community service is an integral part of the educational program. By introducing students to the joy of service to others, the concepts of caring, helping, and sharing are extended beyond their classmates, families and friends. Our community service program helps our students realize there are many people in their community and around the world, including other children, who need our help. From preschool to fifth grade, all Keith lower school students participate in numerous community service projects throughout the year.
Student Council serves as a voice and a role model for all lower school students and is an active and important element of the lower school life. The council consists of two students per grade level. These positions rotate new students from each class two to three times a year. Mainly the council works to encourage character development, values and a sense of respect and responsibility. Under faculty supervision, the council meets regularly to discuss the needs of the students, school, community and the global environment.
Throughout history, character education has been the shared responsibility of parents, teachers and members of the community, who come together to support positive character development. Character education teaches our students about people working and living together as families, friends, neighbors, communities and nations. Character education begins in preschool and continues through fifth grade. Our students learn new skills, become aware of the needs of others, and learn the importance of unselfish serving and giving. Our goal is to link our students to the wider community and expose them to people and situations outside their previous experiences.
Lower school sports teams are created based on interest. Soccer, basketball and volleyball teams are the most common. These opportunities focus on friendly competition in the intramural and community-based teams. Our goal is to teach young people about sportsmanship and to prepare them for more competitive athletics available in the middle and upper schools.