Lower School

Lower School: The years of first through fourth grade.

Good teaching for gifted learners is paced in response to the student's individual needs. The education of academically gifted students in the Lower School at Sycamore is based upon significant modifications in key components of a traditional curriculum. At Sycamore, our teachers also know what it takes to teach gifted learners well is actually a little common sense. That idea begins with the premise that each child should come to school to grow daily.


  • To assist the student in acquiring a strong knowledge base and mastery of basic academic skills 
  • To provide a learning environment that will permit and encourage the student to develop his/her potential while interacting with intellectual peers 
  • To establish a climate that values and enhances intellectual ability, talent, creativity, and decision-making 
  • To encourage students in developing and using abilities for self-appraisal, recognition of personal talents and interests, and establishment of short-term and long-term goals 
  • To enhance the development of leadership skills, social awareness, and responsibility 
  • To provide opportunities to develop skills in independent study, self-directed learning, and research 
  • To provide instruction in problem solving and critical thinking 
  • To encourage the development and use of higher-level thinking skills 
  • To encourage creative thinking and expression 
  • To provide for aesthetic awareness and the ability for self-expression through artistic skills 
  • To cultivate and reward opinions, reactions, and questioning attitudes that lead to divergent responses to real life problems
  • To provide processes that will allow the students to deal with ideas, theories, and concepts that require reflective, critical, and creative thinking

Class Hours

Monday – Thursday: 8:15AM – 3:15PM
Friday: 8:15AM – 2:15PM

Contact Glenna Lykens, Head of Lower School, for more information.

Core Values

For many years, Sycamore has held the concept of respect as a core value. We’ve thought of respect in terms of “four respects”— respect for self, others, property, and time. We have expanded that concept and identified four core values at Sycamore, still retaining respect as key.

Below are Sycamore’s core values and brief descriptions:
  • Respect: self, others, property, and time
  • Moral Courage: honesty, integrity, right action, purpose, courage
  • Relationships: appreciation, service, community, citizenship
  • Empathy: compassion, kindness, acceptance, diversity
These core values permeate the school, and are taught through academics, after-school programs, athletics, assemblies, and day-to- day interactions. Teachers have integrated these values into curricula, as those have been developed and revised.

Accelerated and Enriched Study

The content of the curriculum is coordinated around reading and other language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, and the arts. Students study content that is more abstract, more complex, broader, and deeper than the norm. Studies are both accelerated and enriched through flexible grouping strategies, field trips, resource people, mentors, and written and visual media. Instruction in music, art, Spanish, computer technology, and physical education is provided by specialists in those areas.

Thinking skills

After establishing a solid knowledge base, emphasis is on critical and creative thinking skills, problem solving and logical reasoning, research skills, and a wide variety of communication skills.

Problem Solving

Students are assisted in individual and group investigations of real problems that necessitate research and involve the development of a product. They learn to develop products in several categories: written, oral, media/visual arts, and performing arts.


The development of positive self esteem, independence, interpersonal skills, leadership, responsibility, appreciation of diversity, and the understanding of one’s giftedness are aims of Sycamore School. Teachers promote concern and compassion, risk-taking, curiosity, organization, communication, and imagination by establishing classrooms that are complex, open-ended, and accepting environments.