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Joy in Learning

Joy in learning begins in the Lower School, from Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 5. We believe a child’s curiosity is innate and God-given, and we work to cultivate that wonder in the primary years. Our students are provided opportunities to explore and make discoveries across academic disciplines that will enhance their understanding of the world around them. Spiritual formation is nurtured through classroom devotions, weekly chapel services, and the practice of serving others in love and humility.

Each morning begins with classroom gatherings, a time for children to build community and pray for their day. Students are taught appropriate social skills, sharing, and listening skills because we believe when children feel comfortable socially, they are more likely to engage academically.

Through the implementation of the Singapore Math program, students discover the beauty of order in mathematics. Building on a conceptual understanding of abstract algorithms, they develop skills to access higher-level math concepts. Through the use of The Science of Reading, we continuously develop a quality Language Arts program with the aim of developing students who are self-motivated, discerning readers, and clear, thoughtful writers. Through project-based learning, students act as apprentices, guided by grade-level teachers who shepherd their interests in purposeful ways. From conducting in-depth research to finding pleasure in a good book to drawing maps from memory to competing in a chess tournament, Lower School students love to learn.

Meet the Interim Head of Lower School

This year marks Bill Zimmerman’s twelfth year at The Covenant School, where he has served as Head of Upper School, Academic Dean, and currently as Interim Head of Lower School. Mr. Zimmerman studied History and Classics (B.A., M.A) at Rutgers University. During his more than forty-year career in education, he has taught, coached, and held administrative positions in both independent and private Christian schools. At Landon School in Bethesda, Maryland, he designed and implemented the Upper School’s keystone Humanities program. As founding Head of The Fourth Presbyterian School in Potomac, Maryland (Pre-K to Fourth Grade), he developed a unique interdisciplinary program for lower school students, blending rigorous academics and moral and spiritual training. Over the course of his career, he has served on accreditation committees for several independent schools, moderated and presented at many educational conferences, and has been the recipient of two National Endowment for the Humanities grants, one for study abroad in Florence and Rome and the other for independent research in the Humanities.

Pre-K and Kindergarten

The foundation of an education at The Covenant School is laid in Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten. It is in those formative years that young minds are exposed to rich language, dramatic play, math and science discovery, and nature observations. Students experience sensory immersion through innovative teaching techniques and spend time outdoors to discover how they may use their senses to explore the world around them. Creative faculty teach through stories and begin asking students to tell—and write—their own imaginative stories.

Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten students are also able to participate in each of the classes and extracurricular activities other students enjoy like Art, Music, Foregin Language, Physical Education, Chapel, field trips, and of course, recess.

Grade 5

As students get older, they are given more responsibility with the support of teachers who understand the importance of this transitional year. Learners focus on building academic habits—organization, independence, resilience—as they take ownership of their learning and prepare for the middle school years ahead. Teachers work with students to fine-tune the skills of clear writing and persuasive articulation of thoughts and ideas.

List of 2 items.

  • Academic Focus Time

    Academic Focus Time (AFT) is a dedicated study hall for fourth and fifth graders intended to support and serve their organizational needs and academic habits. Students are given time to read independently and complete homework with support of the teacher.
  • Electives

    Fifth-grade students have the opportunity to participate in electives. Each student chooses a year-long performing art elective from a choice of chorus or handbells. In addition to the performing arts elective, students choose one elective for each trimester.  The options include coding, games, exploratory art, photography, chess, and service squad.

The Covenant School

Birdwood Campus | Lower School | Pre-K–Grade 5 |
1000 Birdwood Road Charlottesville, VA 22903 | 434.220.7309

Hickory Campus | Middle and Upper School | Grades 6–12 | 175 Hickory Street Charlottesville, VA 22902 | 434.220.7329
Located in Charlottesville, VA, The Covenant School is a non-denominational, private, Christian day school for Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 12. Students benefit from a challenging academic program, visual and performing arts, competitive athletics, and a wide selection of extracurricular activities.