The lower school at Jackson Hole Classical Academy consists of grades K-6. One of the primary objectives of this stage of learning is to build habits of learning in students. At the same time – and of equal importance - students are inspired with a sense of wonder and imagination in all disciplines of study. The lower school disciplines are: singapore math, language arts, history, science, the fine arts, which consists of music and art, and physical education. Latin (starting in second grade) and chess are taught as supporting disciplines. Every discipline uses memorization to fill the curious young minds with the information that they crave. Upon graduation of the sixth grade, students leave the lower school and enter the upper school
Singapore math, as indicated by its name, is a mathematical program first introduced in Singapore, and has been widely recognized as the foremost program for mathematical mastery in the early stages of learning. In this program of study, JHCA students in grades K-5 acquire mathematical concepts inductively. They also memorize math facts. Over the course of the program at JHCA, students progress from concrete representations of mathematical facts using manipulatives, to pictorial representations, and finally to abstract mathematical concepts. Students end their lower school math with a consumer math and informal logic course, called bridge math, which bridges students from singapore math to pre-algebra. For more information on singapore math, please read here
The language arts curriculum at JHCA, which draws from the expertise of Spalding Education
, focuses on phonics, handwriting, and spelling. As students build these skills, they learn grammar and writing. Students begin with short summaries; by the end of the lower school program, students write narrative essays and short analysis paragraphs on the course reading. A significant portion of the language arts curriculum focuses on poetry memorization
. One class per week performs a poem for the whole school.Science:
Students begin scientific study at JHCA with nature studies. They observe plants, animals, insects, and rocks closely and then record their observations with sketches and written notes. Our campus in beautiful Jackson, WY affords our students the unique opportunity to explore Grand Teton National Park
, Yellowstone National Park
, and the many wilderness areas rich in wildlife and ecological diversity that surround us. As these young students gain an awareness of the world around them, they also begin to memorize science facts. Moving into the end of the lower school, students complete more formal, guided experiments and lecture-based instruction alongside inquiry-based learning.
The history curriculum at JHCA starts with stories of Wyoming, of Jackson Hole, and of important American people, places, symbols and landmarks. Through classroom study – as well as excursions to local and regional resources such as The Historic Miller Ranch
– students cultivate an awareness of time and recognize the effect of past events. As students progress through the history program, they broaden their understanding of world geography and build valuable map reading skills. Ultimately, JHCA students learn to critically examine one’s own heritage and culture and learn how to study a particular civilization’s world-wide impacts via both primary and secondary sources. JHCA students learn to understand the stories of history as narratives that intertwine, affecting other cultures and other times, even those of our own present experiences.
Fine Arts: Music and art are an integral part of the curriculum at Jackson Hole Classical Academy. The music curriculum teaches theory, voice practice, and music history. Art classes teach art history and a broad range of media. Every year, JHCA holds an Evening of the Arts, to which the entire Jackson Hole community is invited. The JH Community Choir, accompanied by student and faculty musicians, perform a diverse repertoire of songs. The evening provides JHCA students the opportunity to showcase the wide variety of musical and art talents that they’ve cultivated throughout the year.
Physical Education: Students participate in physical education at JHCA three days per week, developing key motor skills and sportsmanship. Our field house provides professional-grade amenities and an abundance of indoor space for our PE classes. Further, our campus – coupled with the wealth of beautiful outdoor space in Jackson Hole – allows our students to grow athletically outside, as well.
Students begin learning Latin through immersive conversation in 2nd-4th grades. Beginning in 5th grade, students begin to learn paradigms and more "formal" Latin grammar. Latin is foundational not only to English but to the romance languages as well and serves as an instrumental starting point to mastery and eloquence in these languages. As students progress to the upper school
, their studies in Latin prove valuable in their understanding of literature and history – and even math and science – as these disciplines draw heavily from a historical context that lived and moved in the Latin language.
Twice per week students learn the rules, tactics, and strategy of chess. As students progress through the JHCA Chess Program, they learn valuable problem-solving skills and cultivate creativity, too. For students that wish to develop a more profound proficiency in chess, JHCA hosts a Chess Club for the town of Jackson Hole that takes place after school and culminates in competitive, state-wide competitions.