Advent's Lower School is comprised of grades first through fourth. Building on the strong foundation set in the Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten programs, the Lower School continues to push and challenge students in developmentally appropriate ways beyond their perceived capabilities. Our faculty focus on creating a safe and engaging learning environment for our students, where not only do students develop their critical thinking, communication skills, and problem-solving skills, they have fun while they're doing it!

First Grade

List of 7 items.

  • Language Arts

    In first grade, Advent students build on skills developed in Kindergarten to become fluent readers by year’s end. New comprehension strategies are introduced to help students understand and discuss the content of the texts they encounter. Students are able to write summaries and identify main ideas. Fiction becomes a reading focus in first grade as students navigate classic texts like “Frog & Toad” in individual, whole class, and small group settings. First graders continue with the phonics curriculum, which guides spelling instruction for the year. In writing, students are introduced to the concept of a paragraph as they build stamina in writing lengthier responses to prompts. Students also begin focusing on revising and editing.
  • Math

    Students continue their math journey by mastering numbers 0-100 and demonstrating multiple representations of numbers from 0 to 20. Students understand and learn the properties of addition and subtraction (strategies, quick facts, inverse relationships, etc.). Students delve deeper into time, money, and measurement. Additionally, students learn to identify and understand place value, skip counting, and repeating patterns. Students are also able to interpret and use basic graphs and charts as representations of data.
  • Social Studies

    Students study major landmarks, past and current presidents, communities, and national holidays. They learn about the character traits of engaged citizenship. Students also study aspects of transportation and farming.
  • STEM

    Students are exposed to the three major disciplines: Life Science, Earth & Space Science, and Physical Science. Students focus on human health, animals, plants, weather, space, matter, forces & energy, and simple machines.
  • French

    Students in first grade learn to follow increasingly complex teacher-directed instruction. They expand their knowledge of French vocabulary through the study of jungle animals including the use of descriptive vocabulary. Students learn to compare French and American eating customs and are introduced to different Francophone countries and regions.
  • Music

    In first grade, students further their musical education by learning to compose basic musical rhythms and read rhythms in standard notation. Students also begin to learn the notes of the lines and spaces of the treble and bass clef staff.
  • Art

    Students are introduced to artists in history. They continue to develop their hand eye coordination by the "see it-do it" which is essential in many activities like letters, placement, writing, spacing. Students work on fine motor skills and hand eye coordination. Students are also introduced to perspective and how to see and create real life on paper or with paper.

Second Grade

List of 7 items.

  • Language Arts

    Second grade students at Advent develop reading skills through a balance of literature and informational text. In addition to building comprehension through strategies like visualizing, predicting, and inferring, students learn the elements and structure of literature. In this year, readers go beyond basic comprehension of a text and are given tools to form opinions about what they read. They are introduced to using evidence from texts to support their opinions and analysis. Through informational text, students develop a complex vocabulary related to science, social science, and the natural world. Reading fluency is supported by completing the final level of the phonics curriculum. Second grade students craft and revise narratives and are given tools to analyze their own writing as they progress towards becoming more independent writers.
  • Math

    Students are introduced to multiplication tables and build on their knowledge and experience in addition and subtraction up to three-digit numbers. Students study whole number operations and number stories. Students continue to grow their understanding of time, money, measurement, geometry, and data and utilize these skills to solve problems in a variety of ways.
  • Social Studies

    Students study communities, maps, continents, and land forms. They are introduced to states and historical biographies.
  • STEM

    Students continue studying in the three major science disciplines, focusing specifically on habitats, the history of the earth, the shape of our world, plants, water, erosion, and matter.
  • French

    Students in second grade build on their knowledge of greetings, manners, and the exchange of French pleasantries. Their vocabulary is expanded through study of French sports, eating customs, and seasonal and weather topics.
  • Music

    Second grade students continue to read music and rhythms in standard notation, expand the notes of the treble and bass clef up to two ledger lines, continue composing basic melodies and rhythms, and expand upon musical concepts of expression and intent.
  • Art

    Students continue their study of artists and improving their hand eye coordination, fine motor skills, and social development. Students build on their knowledge of the elements of art and perspective. As they grow and develop, their art making activities move beyond exploring with their senses and begin to evolve into symbols that represent real objects, events, and feelings.

Lower School Core Curriculum

Third Grade

List of 7 items.

  • Language Arts

    In third grade, students extract meaning from increasingly complex texts through thoughtful reading and discussion. Students learn to recognize the features of a wide variety of genres and summarize both literary and informational texts. In writing, students attend to conventions of standard written English through attention to spelling, usage, and grammar while composing logically organized paragraphs to demonstrate understanding of topics they have studied and books they have read.
  • Math

    Students develop a mastery of multiplication and division as they utilize various strategies for solving problems within 1,000. Place value, time, money, fractions, geometry, and measurement are other concepts of which students extend their knowledge. Students work on solving real-world problems using basic operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division through a variety of problem solving strategies.
  • Social Studies

    Students focus on five themes of geography: location, place, region, movement, and human-environment interaction. Students also study climate, landforms, and water sources. Students increase their understanding of maps and globes, reading and interpreting graphs and charts, and utilizing and applying critical-thinking skills.
  • STEM

    Students continue to focus on elements of Earth Science, Physical Science, and Life Science. Students learn and gain a deeper understanding of force and motion, weather and climate, electricity and magnetism, plant and animal life cycles, ecosystems, and inheritance of traits. 
  • French

    Third grade students are re-introduced to many of the concepts from Pre-K through second grade to build mastery of these vocabulary topics. Additionally, third grade students learn how to tell time in French. The year culminates in a French monument project that includes a group presentation including visuals and an oral report.
  • Music

    Students in third grade expand their note reading up to three ledger lines, learn basic musical intervals, and expand on the ideas of musical concepts of form, expression, and intent in music. They also learn major musical key signatures up to three sharps and flats.
  • Art

    Students create artworks through direct instruction but the focus of most projects shifts to the individual development of ideas through the creative process. Third graders are introduced to charcoal drawing and shading techniques to create drawings with a range of tones. Students deepen their understanding of the color wheel by mixing secondary and tertiary colors independently using acrylic paints. Students practice a variety of hand building techniques such as coil and pinch to create functional and expressive clay objects. Students use art vocabulary in written and verbal response to their own artwork and the artwork of others.

Fourth Grade

List of 7 items.

  • Language Arts

    Fourth grade students begin to attend to their own thinking in responding to reading and writing. Various reading strategies and extensive revision in writing encourage students to reflect on their processes in these areas. Students compose informational and creative texts while developing a single idea or theme across multiple paragraphs. Fourth graders read appropriately challenging texts and learn strategies for deeper comprehension while also being introduced to analytical approaches to stories. In fourth grade, students complete their first comprehensive research paper.
  • Math

    Fourth grade students master multi-digit multiplication and division as they learn to solve different types of problems using a variety of strategies and approaches. Students develop a deeper understanding of fractions and geometry which helps to build knowledge of real world problems. Students also strengthen their knowledge and skills of place value, geometry, and measurement and apply these skills to solving problems.
  • Social Studies

    Students dive into the history of our great state of Alabama. Starting from the earliest Native American territories and soaring through to present day government, the students learn about all of the discoveries and lengths it took to form our state as well as establish a functioning governmental system. From the Civil War, to the Great Depression, through the Civil Rights Movement, and to present day government, the students have a deeper understanding of where they are from and all of the history that surrounds them each day.
  • STEM

    Students focus on elements of Earth Science, Physical Science, and Biology. Students learn and gain a deeper understanding of natural resources, landforms, force, energy, wave properties, light, information processing, structure and function of organisms, and the solar system.
  • French

    Fourth grade French continues the trajectory set in third grade. All aspects of world language acquisition are included: speaking, writing, and understanding spoken French. Students learn how to write numbers 0-100, the dates, the days of the week, the months, the seasons, the weather, holidays, sports, and family members. Cultural icons such as Tintin, Astérix, and Obélix are introduced.
  • Music

    Fourth graders begin to learn the recorder, the structure of larger musical works, transposition of simple melodies from treble to bass clef, musical keys up to four sharps and flats, musical intervals and their qualities, and compound time signatures.
  • Art

    Students in fourth grade continue to develop their abilities to create independent work by developing unique responses to thematic prompts using the steps of the design process. Students expand their drawing skills by practicing observational drawing and working to develop a wider range of shading techniques. Students also practice creating the illusion of three dimensional space in drawings by using the foreground, middle ground and background of the picture plane. Students work with hand building techniques to create functional and expressive objects in clay.

Lower School Specials

P.E.

Students in Lower School participate in physical education classes throughout the week in addition to their time on the playground and rooftop gym spaces. In P.E. classes, students focus on teamwork, sportsmanship, and general athletic skills.

Explorium

In Explorium, our school library, students in grades first through fourth have the opportunity to check out books in addition to learning research skills and the responsibilities of digital citizenship.



Keyboarding

In keyboarding, first through third grade students work towards typing longer paragraphs with a focus on using appropriate fingers for each key. Students learn the function for various symbols and punctuation on the keyboard as they prepare for writing formal research papers in the fourth grade.

NeuroNet

First grade students continue utilizing NeuroNet, a research-based learning readiness program designed to help students develop fluency in essential reading, math, and handwriting skills. The NeuroNet program for first graders also includes in-class activities to support learning development.

Lower School Field Trips

Field trips play a key role in creating an authentic inter-curriculum experience for our students. Understanding more about the world (and city and state!) around them allows our students the opportunity to more deeply understand and apply the concepts they are learning about in the classroom. Our location in the heart of downtown plays a critical role in our ability to expose students in a safe but meaningful way to the amazing resources we have right at our doorstep -- including trips to the Children's Theatre, the Downtown Public Library, the Civil Rights Museum, and the McWane Science Center just to name a few!


1st Grade

List of 4 items.

  • Golden Flake

    The children get to see how products are made, packaged, and delivered to stores around the country. This is the beginning of producer and consumer ideas from their social studies.
  • Huntsville Constitution Village Museum

    Students visit the Constitution Village and participate in a program called Hands On Harvest.
  • American Village

    Students participate in The First Thanksgiving program.
  • Huntsville Earlywork Museum

    Students participate in a program called Settle Down. They learn more about early settlers and how they lived.

2nd Grade

List of 3 items.

  • American Village

    Second grade students attend the American Village in February to celebrate our Presidents. They also learn about all of the jobs a president has to undertake. In February, all second grade students are given a president to research which culminates with their President Book report.
  • Camp McDowell

    In May, students get geared up for a day in the sun. At Camp McDowell the children get down and dirty looking for critters in the dirt and in a pond. The counselors do a great job teaching the children the body parts of insects. The children also get to participate in team building games. This is one of their favorite field trips of the year!
  • DeSoto Caverns

    At DeSoto Caverns, students learn about caves and other landforms in second grade. The history of the caverns and the landforms ties into their social studies and science curriculum. They also have an opportunity to pan for jewels just like the pioneers did!

3rd Grade

List of 5 items.

  • Downtown Public Library

    Each third grade students receives their own public library card. The students walk down to the public library as a class every three weeks to learn how to navigate the public library and check out books!
  • Pickens County Day

    Third grade students visit their pen pals from Pickens Academy in Pickens County at a farm. We learn how people in the rural part of our state live.
  • Pickens County in the Magic City

    Our pen pals visit us. Students go to the McWane Science Center, City Club, and Children’s Theatre. This trip introduces our friends to what is available in the city.
  • 4H Camp

    Students spend a day at the science camp with their pen pals. The outdoor science classes enhance what has been taught at school.
  • Afternoon Tea

    Each year the third grade has a tea party. Prior to the party the children get a lesson on proper etiquette about the history of afternoon tea. The children enjoy tasting different flavors of tea, sandwiches, fruit, and a variety of pastries.

4th Grade

List of 4 items.

  • Camp McDowell

    Fourth grade classes attend Camp McDowell Farm School and experience a day on the farm! They will also experience cooking what comes from the garden!
  • Historical Walking Tour

    Fourth Grade gets an introduction to Civil Rights History from a walking tour through downtown Birmingham, Alabama.
  • Huntsville U.S. Space and Rocket Center

    The children spend the day learning about historic space explorations including an authentic Saturn V moon rocket. They experience a full day of interactive simulators and a hands-on STEM science lab.
  • Montgomery Capitol Tours

    We visit all three branches of government-legislative, judicial, and executive. This field trip coincides with our study of Alabama history. We visit the Alabama State House and usually are able to visit the Alabama House floor. The process of creating a bill and house districts are explained to the students. They are then given an opportunity to sit in a representative’s desk and vote on mock bills. The students tour the Alabama Judicial Building which includes the law library, one of the Court of Appeals (usually the criminal department), and the Alabama Supreme Court chambers, unless there is an active trial or ceremony occurring during our visit. At the Alabama Capitol Building we visit the historic Alabama Senate and House chambers, the rotunda, and a view of the amazing spiral staircase. We are also shown various portraits, artifacts, and rooms that have significant meaning in our state’s history.
Founded in 1950 and located in downtown Birmingham, Alabama, Advent Episcopal School is a coeducational, college-preparatory day school for students grades Pre-Kindergarten through 8th.