This May, the Hewitt community gathered at a signing day event to celebrate Caitlin Doran, Class of 2019. An avid athlete who played varsity soccer for Hewitt throughout her high school career, Doran will attend the United States Naval Academy this fall as a Division I soccer recruit. Doran spoke with Director of Athletics Amy Mulligan about her passion for the game, why she chose the U.S. Naval Academy, and the importance of having female athletes as role models.
Dynamic, Girl-Focused, and Student-Driven
At Hewitt, we understand that teaching is both an art and a science. Great teaching defines what we do in lower school. Our teachers not only think carefully about what we should teach our girls, but they also feel strongly about how we teach our girls. Our faculty members provide each student with a rich learning experience that is dynamic, girl-focused, and student-driven. This does not just benefit our students—it also attracts inquisitive and passionate teachers. While our warm, familial atmosphere endures decade after decade, our curriculum is constantly evolving.
Dr. Frank Patti, Head of Lower School
Might your daughter find her purpose in Hewitt's lower school? Contact our Admissions team.
lower school curriculum overviews
Kindergarten is a time of wonder and exploration. It also is a time of transition. At Hewitt, girls begin their journey with teachers who deeply empathize with the experience of stepping into a new world. A kindergarten student walks into her classroom, delighted to discover that this morning is choice time. Puzzle solving, Lego building, and drawing stations beckon, and she occupies a spot on the rug with several girls working with bits from a large Lego box. Soon, the class gathers in a circle for morning meeting, an essential routine that transitions the girls mindfully into the day’s learning. This is a hallmark of how we begin learning together at Hewitt. After a careful review of the day’s schedule— science, mathematics, arts, literacy, and language—the girls are excited and ready for the adventure ahead. In kindergarten, girls learn to care for each other and to explore their feelings, especially through cooperative work and play. In our joyful yet structured environment, girls come to love learning and appreciate that they have a purpose each day: to learn alongside their teachers, to collaborate with their classmates, and to develop a growth mindset. We assign two teachers to every kindergarten classroom, ensuring ample support for girls during individual work time, and all of our academic lessons integrate elements of inquiry and play.
The entire kindergarten team at Hewitt celebrates the power of words and the joys of reading. Our literacy program in kindergarten kindles the girls’ interest in reading by engaging them in the delights of a good story through daily read-alouds. Word games reinforce the relationship between working and long-term memory, as girls play with repeating words as they progress toward mastery. Skill building in handwriting accompanies opportunities for girls to visually represent part of their story, which develops their confidence to express themselves fully on paper. Imaginative and dramatic play bolster fundamental comprehension and communication skills. The reading workshop model incorporates the expertise of reading specialists who collaborate with homeroom teachers to ensure that each student is engaged at her level for the fluency, decoding, and comprehension skills of reading. We assess every Hewitt kindergartener formally and informally throughout the year to measure her progress and to determine her individual needs, all the while spurring her to achieve her personal best.
Our philosophy of teaching writing in kindergarten complements our philosophy of teaching reading. Girls cultivate their ability to tell meaningful stories about their lives through drawings, labels, and words. Students write about real-life experiences, areas of personal expertise, and their opinions. They also experiment with non-fiction. They become familiar with the concept of “writing for a reader”—or writing with the intended audience in mind. Girls learn the processes of writing, revising, editing, and publishing as they write about what matters to them. They also learn to share their writing aloud for an audience. Teachers meet regularly during workshop time with students for individual conferences to share feedback, fostering confidence in the power of the editing process.
Kindergarten is the first year in a K-5 sequence of a Singapore-based mathematics program, Math in Focus. This curriculum combats cultural messages that boys are “better at math” by providing a workshop- oriented and conceptual approach that emphasizes understanding over memorization. Students learn not just the how of math (formulaic approach) but also the why, beginning with concrete applications and moving to more abstract ways of thinking about numbers. Children investigate, discover, explore, and apply their own solutions to mathematical problems. With an emphasis on numeracy, the girls learn to use numbers to make connections and realize their relationships to real-life situations.
This lays a foundation for more abstract understanding of numbers in future grades. Instructional time focuses on two critical areas: representing and comparing whole numbers initially with a set of objects and describing shapes and space. Students focus on key concepts by starting with concrete representations through the extensive use of manipulatives, moving onto pictorial illustrations of problems, and ending with abstract representations such as number sentences. Our girls progress in their thinking toward multi-step and non-routine problem-solving, and are continually encouraged to persevere in solving mathematical challenges. By building this confidence step by step, we find our girls thrilled when math time arrives, eager to try new ways of working with numbers.
Hewitt’s social studies curriculum lends girls the skills to think about themselves in relation to their world. Our kindergarten explores “what makes a community,” beginning with a study of “You, Me, & We.” Using key social studies skills, the girls learn about themselves, their classmates, and what it means to be a part of a classroom community. With a focus on individual similarities and differences, we encourage kindergarteners to celebrate the spectrum of human diversity. During the family unit, girls learn about various family compositions, what makes a family, and the cultures and traditions celebrated by different families.
Throughout the second half of the year, kindergarteners broaden their concept of community. By interviewing different “community helpers” at Hewitt, students learn about the unique roles in a school community and how they can help make a positive difference in their own. The kindergarteners wrap up the year with a study of human wants and needs: shelter, clothing, and food. These rich explorations occur by means of books, hands-on projects, class discussions, and relevant field trips planned to uniquely enhance the curriculum with experiences beyond the classroom.
At Hewitt, we recognize that first grade is a big step—which is why we ensure our first graders can stop by their old kindergarten homeroom most mornings on their way to their new classrooms. Then each day, after morning meeting, first graders dive into a curriculum that emphasizes mastery of core skills in literacy and mathematics—working in small groups, as a class, and as individuals in ways that support their pace of learning. With one year proudly under their belts, they are eager to explore the world, learn new ideas, and make connections across subjects. They immerse themselves in problem-solving, storytelling, and scientific inquiry as well as growing as French or Spanish language learners, historians, artists, musicians, and designers. Our public speaking curriculum fosters confidence in oral presentation of students’ original writing, building confidence in our girls as they develop a unique voice.
In literacy, Hewitt readers develop their decoding skills and comprehension strategies through a workshop model that features student choice, “just right books,” and individual teacher coaching. All faculty members are well-trained in the reading workshop model of student conferencing, and their classrooms can quickly transform into calm, quiet bastions of reading and note-taking about books. Head teachers and literacy specialists provide personal instruction in reading for each girl, while also fostering confidence in her ability to read independently. We assess each girl formally and informally throughout the year to monitor progress, and girls regularly set new reading goals in conferences with their teacher. In addition, girls engage in a language-rich environment throughout the school day with read-alouds, word study, shared reading, and interactive writing.
Our girls’ emerging love of reading coincides with the first grade’s celebration of telling personal stories and enjoying non-fiction books about topics of interest. Their joy in language and emerging sense of themselves as an audience make them eager for the tools they learn through Hewitt’s writing workshop program. Hewitt girls love to be the authors of their own stories. In first grade writing workshop, girls build their skills by writing about what they choose with focus, detail, and dialogue. Units of study include “small moment” stories, non-fiction and opinion pieces, and realistic fiction stories. Writing at Hewitt is a process, and girls learn to take each piece through planning, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing—all of which give students a much greater awareness of writing for an audience.
The mathematics program in first grade, Math in Focus, continues the Singapore approach of engaging girls with thinking about math concepts rather than showing them how to do simple math problems. Students spend ample time exploring concepts and developing their understanding through hands-on lessons, pictures and models, and abstract representation of mathematical ideas. Instructional time focuses on critical areas for mathematical success: a deep understanding of addition, subtraction, and strategies for addition and subtraction, as well as whole number relationships.
Girls also explore place value and spatial awareness, key components that, as research demonstrates, prove key to cultivating a girl’s lifelong confidence in her mathematics ability. We place a strong emphasis on a unified math vocabulary as well as critical thinking skills. We encourage students to use their math skills to deconstruct complex problems and to remain persistent when working on math challenges. Classroom teachers and a math specialist provide a team teaching approach that ensures our girls have every opportunity to achieve their personal best.
Social Studies provides a unifying narrative for some of the essential questions girls consider in first grade. What is a city? How do people move around in a city? Why do cities need parks? The much-anticipated Central Park unit allows girls to explore the history of Central Park, the natural and built environments within it, and the animal and plant life that inhabit the park. Through field trips, interdisciplinary work, and guided explorations, the girls learn the relevance of Central Park to their families and to the larger New York City community.
With this strong sense of place, the girls then consider the many modes of transportation people use in this city to get to the park, to get to work, to school, and to get home. Students study the various modes of transportation in the city and the vital role they play in the lives of NYC residents and visitors. Visits to the “live” subway station at the Transit Museum in Brooklyn and to Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan illuminate how much we rely on developing technology.
Second grade marks a significant moment in a girl’s Hewitt journey as she eclipses the mid-point of her time in our lower school program. As such, second grade is a time of growing independence for girls, accompanied by a greater desire to explore friendships and take on new responsibilities. Hewitt second graders are also ready to think about next steps: What is my neighborhood like compared to my best friend’s? Why do some people live uptown and others downtown? Why do we have so many bridges in New York City? We nurture girls’ emerging passion for critical thinking across subjects in their language study, reading and writing workshops, public speaking, science, and the arts.
The literacy program helps students transition from learning to read to reading to learn. Girls make this transition at different times throughout the year, and our teachers are deeply attuned to supporting girls in reaching advanced levels of fluency. The reading workshop model continues, and girls work with both fiction and nonfiction texts at their reading level, supported by the feedback coaching of our homeroom teachers and literacy specialists. A greater emphasis on decoding builds on the strong foundation of earlier grades, using strategies such as context clues to derive word meaning, understanding the origin of root words, using prefixes and suffixes, and studying the structural analysis of words. Reading comprehension skills grow more complex as students explore character development, setting, and plot. Students develop strategies to facilitate summarizing, which is a powerful tool for long-term retention of a story. Students also begin to develop inferential thinking skills and draw more meaningful conclusions from class literature.
The writing workshop program similarly advances to incorporate a wider sense of genre. Second graders use the writing workshop model to improve their narrative, informational, opinion, and poetry writing. Girls look to their own experiences and interests in order write about topics and ideas that feel relevant and purposeful. The girls study the published works of master authors and discuss what each writer may have hoped for in telling their story. Through this inquiry process, the girls identify how established authors use craft to convey meaning; they then try out these craft techniques in their own writing. In each unit of study, girls experience the full writing cycle of rehearsing, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing in order to gain a greater awareness of writing for an audience.
The mathematics program in second grade helps girls to blossom into mathematicians who expect to be challenged with manipulatives, visuals, and abstract representations of math concepts. Hands-on lessons, real-life problem-solving, and the extensive use of graphic models lay the foundation for a deep understanding of core concepts. Second graders develop a crucial, foundational number sense by working on mental math strategies for addition and subtraction before learning the traditional algorithms. Instructional time focuses on four critical areas: extending understanding of place value, building fluency with addition and subtraction, using standard units of measure, and analyzing geographic shapes. Our second grade teachers place a strong emphasis on a unified math vocabulary, and we encourage students to use their math skills to deconstruct complex problems and to remain persistent when working on math challenges.
In social studies, second grade students embark on a study of the five boroughs of New York City to see how cities are layers of crisscrossing neighborhood communities, often with very different topography, transportation options, and cultures. The girls explore the geography and landmarks that define different neighborhoods and celebrate the diversity of New York City. Through neighborhood walks and classroom debates, the girls use vocabulary to discuss the architectural features of landmarks, as well as think critically about what defines them as such. The girls examine the origins and evolution of Manhattan’s grid system and how it has changed over time. The year culminates in a woodworking project where girls design and construct buildings for a city block, keeping in mind zoning codes and what makes a neighborhood thrive.
The model city project begins with a review of the five urban zones (commercial, residential, institutional, industrial, and green space). Each girl is responsible for designing two structures within the city. They must plan their buildings like architects and engineers by creating a blueprint of one building. Using an iPad application, the students create 3D printouts and then bring the plans to life as construction workers using hammers and nails. Throughout the process, the girls see firsthand how math, technology, and engineering are necessary throughout the building process. They also gain crucial experience in spatial design and manipulation, which research shows proves key to preparing young girls for deeper study in mathematics, science, and engineering.
In third grade, Hewitt girls gain greater fluency and comprehension as readers, develop strong organizational, grammatical, and vocabulary skills for writing, and hone an ability to think in more abstract ways about the world they inhabit. The workshop methodology that informs all lessons in third grade encourages our students to practice collaboration, to try multiple solutions to a problem, to learn how to speak up and share an idea, and to express themselves coherently on paper and in a presentation. As historians, they are ready to bring the past to bear on our understanding of the present. Our girls are growing up, and they are eager to know more about why things happen and how they can make a difference in the world.
The third grade literacy program teaches girls the importance of building a reading life. In reading workshop, students continue to develop a passion for reading rich texts across genres with the guidance of their teachers. They develop a sense of agency around their own reading choices, and we encourage them to read deeply in a particular genre if one appeals to them. Classroom teachers and learning specialists create a team-teaching approach that fosters a love of literature and ensures that each girl enjoys personal attention in meeting her learning goals.
Third graders in writing workshop develop their storytelling skills by learning to move beyond plot summary to incorporate dramatic effect through specific details. They craft true stories drawn from their lives and keep writing notebooks that become repositories for possible scenes in a narrative. The girls also continue to develop the crucial skill of information writing. In the information unit, they research influential women to write fact- filled biographies that celebrate their learning about this special person. Students also write poetry incorporating figurative language and poetry techniques. Through writing, they identify issues that matter to them, and compose persuasive speeches which lay the foundation for units in essay writing in the middle school.
As part of our public speaking program, girls prepare oral presentations of their speeches carefully, focusing on pace, enunciation, and eye contact. In each unit of study, girls experience writing as a process that includes brainstorming, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing. In addition, the students learn basic grammar conventions to compose complete and thoughtful sentences. By now, Hewitt girls appreciate the complex stages of writing for publication, and they possess the patience and determination to make sure they showcase their very best writing. They write for readers, not just teachers, and they take great pride in being young authors.
The Math in Focus curriculum in grade 3 employs the Singapore mathematics approach, building a strong foundation of understanding of math concepts through extensive hands-on lessons, real-life problem- solving, and the use of diagrams. In addition, the girls begin working with traditional algorithms. Instruction focuses on several critical areas: developing a strong number sense and mental math flexibility, building computational fluency, and fostering logical thinking and communication skills. Teachers stress the power of a unified math vocabulary and use growth mindset techniques to foster critical thinking skills. We encourage students to use their math skills to deconstruct complex problems, to articulate their process for coming to a solution, to identify multiple strategies for solving a single problem, and to remain persistent when working on math challenges. Each and every day, our girls rise to the occasion.
In social studies, third graders turn to the exploration of history as a chronology, one in which cause and effect proves essential to understanding important historical moments. The girls study questions about how our nation emerged out of the original 13 British colonies. They consider, as a result, the complexities of a developing American identity. With “What is freedom?” as a year-long inquiry, students learn to think critically about nation-building and the pursuit of life, liberty, and justice.
Girls begin the year with a closer look at the Lenape way of life and how European settlers changed indigenous peoples’ ways of life. The girls examine causes of colonial dissent that led to the American Revolution and the birth of a new nation. At the end of the year, students study the Underground Railroad and those, like Harriet Tubman, who fought to end slavery. Girls celebrate the journey toward freedom in a collaborative dance performance guided by dance educators from the Alvin Ailey company here in New York City.
Entering their capstone year of Hewitt’s lower school, fourth graders demonstrate resilience, curiosity, empathy, and courage, and are serious about service learning. Hewitt fourth graders have reached a level of reading and writing competence that allows them to dive deep into genre, both as readers and as writers. Their abstract thinking skills have developed to a point where they eagerly apply their conceptual understanding of mathematics to the world around them. They have developed historical perspective, both in terms of knowing key dates and details and understanding the arc of cause and effect. Thus, the fourth grade curriculum challenges them to engage in deep problem- solving in the STEM fields, the arts, and the humanities.
Literacy in fourth grade combines the writing and readers workshop models to emphasize the idea of purpose: Why do we read? Why do we write? What books do we choose? And which stories do we want to tell? We place a strong emphasis on non-fiction reading and the key skills needed to discern factual information. Primary texts take on great importance in social studies, as girls learn to notice key details and interpret their significance while also considering multiple points of view on a topic. In their study of fiction, girls continue to examine various story elements that include plot, setting, character development, conflict, and theme. They further add the study of literary devices such as symbolism and simile to begin to develop their appreciation for figurative language. Students continue word study to master spelling patterns and deconstruct words for meaning.
The writing program in fourth grade emphasizes applying the skills learned in writing workshop to other disciplines. Students explore a variety of genres and learn how to write descriptive, narrative, and persuasive essays. They also learn the power of voice in writing, and come to appreciate that they can convey presence with words. Girls write responses to shared reading texts and learn to support their responses using evidence and examples. They also practice public speaking by presenting their work aloud. Additionally, girls gain an understanding of paragraph structure, topic sentences, supporting details, and concluding sentences. Students write in all classes—explaining their analytical thinking in math, taking on historical roles in social studies, and describing lab work in science—allowing our students to see that writing is not just a task in English, but a lifelong skill needed to communicate in all areas.
In fourth grade mathematics, our program continues to guide girls in problem-solving, skill consolidation, and deep understanding of core mathematical concepts. We use model-drawing to help students solve routine and non-routine problems. Instructional time focuses on three crucial areas: fluency in both multi-digit multiplication and division to find quotients involving multi-digit dividends; a sophisticated understanding of fractions; and, finally, the analysis and classification of geometric figures. We place a strong emphasis on a unified math vocabulary as well as critical thinking skills. We encourage students to use their math skills to deconstruct complex problems, to articulate their thinking process for coming to a solution, to identify multiple strategies for solving a single problem, and to remain persistent when working on math challenges. Resilience proves key to the development of girls’ growth mindset in mathematics—and across all other subjects.
The social studies program spurs girls to strengthen their growing skills as historians. Well-versed in thinking about historical causality, fourth graders explore the varied causes of immigration to the United States, particularly during the active years of Ellis Island in New York City and Angel Island in San Francisco. Students study maps to understand the geography of the world traveled by disparate peoples to these shores. They investigate the role and impact that immigrants made and continue to make on New York City. Fourth graders use a variety of resources (texts, videos, field trips, websites, and software) to develop their understanding of the material. We keep each student active and engaged through a rich variety of class work, including whole class discussions, partner work, independent work, small group cooperative learning, and research projects.
The full Hewitt community commits to nurturing the curiosity that makes our girls successful scientists. Starting in kindergarten with an essential question of “How do we discover?,” students work with Hewitt’s dedicated science teachers to get their hands dirty and learn to love the ordered mess of a scientific experiment. Lessons incorporate play, talk, art, explorations, and other activities that sustain the joy of discovering the world.
As they move from nutrition, the five senses, space, and insects in kindergarten to an in-depth examination of geology in grade 2, students grow skillful in observation, prediction, evaluation of evidence, and presentation of results. By fourth grade, girls write lab reports and share results as a scientific community. They develop an appreciation for the scientific method and a familiarity with laboratory tools while exploring the workings of the circulatory and nervous systems, the physiology of the digestive system, and the properties of matter and chemical reactions, among other topics. By the end of lower school, Hewitt girls see themselves as capable and curious scientists, a mindset that middle school sustains—along with our girls’ confidence and interest in the fields of math, science, and engineering.
As part of Hewitt’s commitment to educating girls as global citizens, students begin the study of a language in kindergarten. After a semester of French and a semester of Spanish, students choose to focus on one of those languages for the rest of lower school. By focusing at an early age on one second language, girls have time to absorb the sound of the language and begin to master basic vocabulary and grammar structures, preparing them for more intensive study in middle school. Lower school language classes are fun, creative, and action-oriented, full of lively visual and audio documents. Lessons use gradual, spiral approaches to reinforce learning from one lesson to the next. Throughout the program, students focus on the incremental development of the listening, reading, speaking, and writing skills, developing a good ear for the language and a confidence in both oral and written communication.
Music education is essential to Hewitt’s lower school program. Our girls sing, play instruments, and participate in movement activities that encourage kinesthetic learning. We base our music curriculum on the Orff-Schulwerk method (which focuses on percussions and movement) and the Kodály method (which uses a child-developmental approach to sequence). After the children become familiar with a new musical concept, they learn how to notate it. We also review concepts through games, movement, songs, and exercises. The girls practice notation by playing a variety of instruments including percussives and wind instruments. By fourth grade, students hone unison singing and learn two-part and choral music. Students expand their musical vocabulary using terminology surrounding dynamics (i.e., crescendo, decrescendo, piano, forte) and tempo (i.e., ritardando, accelerando). Building on their recorder playing from third grade, fourth grade students learn notes that require forked fingering positions and larger interval leaps. Fourth graders attend a Young People’s Concert performed by the New York Philharmonic and a Metropolitan Opera dress rehearsal at Lincoln Center. We expose students to a wide range of musical genres through recordings and field trips to live performances around New York City, building a lifelong appreciation of diverse musical traditions.
Our lower school art studios hum with constant energy, as girls across grades learn to take risks, problem-solve, translate their ideas, take responsibility, practice a discipline, and make discriminating choices. Girls work with a variety of materials and ideas and come to trust their own creative process. Each girl discovers a personal haven in the art room where her individual talents are valued and celebrated. Our art faculty collaborates with homeroom teachers to develop new projects each year that connect thematically to units of study and to exhibitions currently on view around the city. Hewitt artists learn from the outset that there is a wide, diverse world of artistic expression in New York City, and they eagerly embrace its influences. By fourth grade, our artists explore personal ideas and experiences through various artistic media, including drawing, painting, mixed media, collage, wool, and sculpture. We emphasize effort, participation, originality of ideas, and the process of art making, and design art lessons to both increase skill level and to reflect the interests of the students, as the girls work toward demonstrating understanding of concepts, original thinking, and quality of craftsmanship.
We introduce technology in the lower school as an opportunity for girls to explore, experiment, and play, augmenting their learning experiences in class. Early exposure to iPads and Chromebooks helps enrich, reinforce, and extend each grade-level curriculum. Introduction to hands-on electronics, robotics, engineering, and programming challenges teaches girls how to process information, problem-solve, troubleshoot, and communicate. Teachers work closely and sometimes co-teach with Hewitt’s educational technologists to design and implement technology-enhanced projects. Using Chromebooks, students formally begin typing using Keyboarding Without Tears and complete assignments using Google Apps for Education. Throughout the lower school program, students experience the engineering process of design by planning, building, testing, rebuilding, and retesting. They use age-appropriate technology to locate, collect, and organize content for a specific purpose. And our girls begin to learn about responsible uses of technology and digital information. They also perform basic searches on databases to locate accurate information.
The lower school physical education program emphasizes the joy of movement while developing girls’ spatial awareness and balance. In addition, lessons focus on practicing the coordination necessary to perform various movements and activities related to team sports, such as running, throwing, and catching. Students practice these skills during class as individuals and in small groups, working cooperatively with classmates to achieve common goals while consistently demonstrating sportswomanship. By fourth grade, our athletes are developing lifelong physical fitness attributes, movement skills, and sports concepts. We provide students ample opportunities to develop leadership skills and to work in small groups to solve problems or accomplish tasks. Through purposeful learning activities, we guide students to refine motor, social, and intellectual skills, and embrace a fit and active lifestyle. By the conclusion of lower school, Hewitt girls are well prepared, mentally and physically, to join our athletics program that begins in middle school.
As an essential component of a Hewitt girl’s education, public speaking in the lower school cultivates confidence and clarity in presenting ideas. Writing Workshop incorporates public speaking at each grade level by encouraging girls to read their work aloud and for an audience. During the grade 3 wax museum project, girls research a woman in an area of interest, from science to the arts to politics, and then give a speech from the point of view of that inspirational figure. In grade 4, girls perform original compositions for an audience at a poetry slam. And in every grade in lower school, we encourage girls to practice presenting their ideas to their peers and teachers in all subjects, so that speaking in public becomes a familiar and comfortable pursuit.
We celebrate independent reading in every grade as a complement to our Reading Workshop. Teachers instill a deep appreciation for reading and for “choice books.” The library program strives to develop students’ personal interests through guided exposure to the library’s collection, where students enjoy a wide variety of print and electronic resources. The library provides another opportunity for girls to listen to stories and discuss them together during surveys of favorite authors and illustrators. In later grades, we emphasize research skills and introduce girls to new library resources, including appropriate internet sites.
Learning Resources Team
Lower school learning specialists work closely with homeroom teachers to provide support and enrichment to ensure that every girl is working at the high edge of her ability. Specialists join classroom lessons when appropriate to work directly with students, and they make recommendations to teachers on differentiated instruction to best address the learning goals of all girls in a classroom. In addition, our learning resource team works with parents to develop learning plans for specific students and serves on the lower school’s child study committee.
Hewitt’s Clubhouse offers after-school and summer camp enrichment programs for students in kindergarten through grade 5. We carefully select each activity to improve students’ overall experience in the arts, academics, and physical education. We offer after-school programs on a trimester basis, allowing for each student to explore multiple areas of interest throughout the year. Classes include piano, dance, theater, karate, chess, and more. Students have the option to register for extended day care where they can play games, create art projects, or finish homework assignments. Our summer enrichment programs are a dynamic extension of our academic schedule with week-long pursuits that include musical theater, language immersion, sports, and STEAM. These programs include instruction specific to each area of study, trips, industry workshops and specialists, and each program ends with a family-and-friend event. Staff members include current Hewitt faculty, industry professionals, and a team of fantastic coaches and instructors. Students participating in Clubhouse programming often build deep relationships with other students, make new friends from different grades, and explore new areas of interest.
Service Learning and Community Purpose
Hewitt’s lower school service learning program brings the school and community together in partnership to share resources, meet real community needs, and educate our young girls to become the change agents of tomorrow. For example, after third graders learned about the Lenape and explored the importance of respecting the environment, they volunteered to help clean up Central Park. The service learning experience promotes reciprocal benefits for all participants and a renewed sense of community connection while upholding the principles embodied in Hewitt’s mission statement. As another example, lower school students made Valentine’s Day cards for the residents at a local nursing home and kindergarteners delivered the cards to the residents while singing Valentine’s Day songs. After reflecting on this experience, the kindergarteners verbalized the importance and significance of connecting with the local community.
Knowing that play is important work, kindergarten teachers participated in a professional book study around how they could infuse more independence, inquiry, literacy, and math into student play. By putting research on girls’ learning into practice in their classrooms, these educators ensured that their students had new and exciting chances for creative playful experiences.
Each year, Hewitt students collaborate on scene-writing projects with Rattlestick Playwrights' Theater, then experience what it means to bring a script to life as professional actors perform their work. Designed to encourage students to think deeply about their own sense of purpose, these annual playwriting projects give middle schoolers the chance to immerse themselves in themes and ideas of personal, social, and global relevance.
This winter, seventh and eighth grade French students embarked on a journey to Québec City, where they learned about the province’s history, culture, and customs while putting their French language skills into practice. Whether bundling up for some of Canada’s famed winter activities, immersing themselves in First Nations history, or bonding with their host families, these eager middle school travelers embraced every aspect of their trip and returned to Hewitt with a new respect for the diverse viewpoints and experiences they encountered.
This February, seventh and eighth grade Spanish students had the opportunity to travel to Costa Rica, where they immersed themselves in the country’s language and culture while studying its impressive environmental sustainability efforts. As they journeyed far beyond the walls of Hewitt, students discovered that they were not simply practicing their Spanish, but in fact using the language to understand Costa Rica’s commitment to conservation practices and environmental education.
In Food Fights: Eating and Controversy in American History, juniors and seniors study American life through the history of food. Students learn about the “food fights” that lurk just beneath many prominent and lesser-known controversies, and they use food to understand the intimate lives of the people who have inhabited this continent for thousands of years.
Eleventh and twelfth graders relied on their creativity, teamwork, and problem-solving skills as they developed active and engaging P.E. lessons for our second graders. Whether leading a winter wonderland-themed yoga sequence or overseeing complex obstacle courses, the upper school students confidently stepped into their roles as teachers, sharing their passion for physical activity with their young students.
We are delighted to announce that Launa A. Schweizer will be Hewitt’s next head of middle school, effective July 1, 2019. Launa is thrilled to join the Hewitt community and work with our outstanding team of middle school teachers and fifth through eighth grade girls and families.
Hewitt Athletics saw an increase in the number of skilled and determined students participating in fall sports, and it was clear that our middle and upper school teams worked their hardest this season no matter the outcome. The positivity and excitement of the season shone through at each practice and game and it was clear that Hewitt athletes were proud to be a part of their respective teams.
One of my favorite questions is: "What does a day in the life of a librarian look like?" In addition to being a quiet spot to study and learn, the library is also a shared community space where students can gather for meetings and lead group discussions. Today was a good example of the many ways a librarian works with student scholars and researchers at The Hewitt School.