The Lower School at Currey Ingram provides a safe, nurturing, and stimulating environment to students in grades Junior K-4 as they acquire the basic skills of reading, writing, and mathematics.
The research base for early and intensive intervention for students at-risk for academic, social, and behavioral struggles is robust. The Lower School takes a holistic approach to learning, implementing academic, behavioral, social-emotional, and executive function interventions based on each student’s learning differences and profile of strengths and weaknesses. 

Students experience a traditional school day, with intervention embedded into each child’s schedule based on identified areas of need. Academic intervention is delivered at an intensive level, in a small group of three to six students for 60 to 90 minutes, depending on subject area and grade level. In addition, language, occupational therapy, social and behavioral support are woven throughout the school day. 

Students will grow in their ability to navigate social relationships through intentional experiences and appropriate levels of support. Lower School students are also exposed to a variety of robust enrichment offerings in order to develop strengths and interests. Ultimately, through their Lower School experience, students will develop self-awareness of their strengths and weaknesses and learn to use skills and strategies as they move towards independence.
    • Danielle Barton

      Lower School Division Head

The following core components are essential to the Lower School program and experience. Click on each skill to read more.

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  • Academic Intervention Lab

    Academic classes include evidence-based approaches and curricula as well as high-leverage practices that are effective for a wide range of learning differences. Instruction at Currey Ingram is based on each student’s current skill level and profile of strengths and weaknesses as identified from a variety of sources. All students are taught directly and explicitly by teachers who are trained in evidence-based teaching methods and curricular programs. The pace of learning varies across academic groups to ensure new concepts are learned fully as they are integrated with previously learned material. All programs include explicit, direct instruction with a strong multisensory component. Skills and concepts are presented within a highly structured curriculum framework, progressing from simple to complex. Instruction is diagnostic and prescriptive, targeting specific areas of challenge to ensure progress is made at a rate most effective for each individual child. Groups are fluid, and changes can be made if another group is determined to be a better fit for the child.

    In reading, students are taught the critical early reading skills (e.g., phonemic awareness, phonics, and fluency) that will help them to become proficient readers. In addition, children receive instruction in reading comprehension strategies and vocabulary-building skills to help them find meaning in what they read.

    In math, skills are taught sequentially, moving from simple to complex, and progress through the concrete, representational, and abstract levels of instruction. In addition to math concepts, all Lower School students focus on math fact acquisition, moving from conceptual understanding to fluent and automatic retrieval of math facts. 
  • After-School Opportunities

    The after-school program, Boost, is offered Monday through Friday. Boost hours are from school dismissal - 5:30 p.m. Visit the Boost section of the website for more details. Club and athletic offerings are arranged through Boost and vary according to student interest. Past club offerings include Singing Stallions (school chorus), Girl Scouts, Cardboard Creations, and Running Club. After-school sports may include cross country, basketball, soccer, or cheerleading.
  • Celebrating Student Success

    The Lower School intentionally recognizes students for accomplishments in a variety of ways. Throughout the week, students can earn Caught in the Acts for demonstrating the monthly character traits or social skill. Occurring one time each month, students will receive recognition for their outstanding effort for the previous month during monthly Success Assemblies. Awards vary each month, but typical awards relate to homework completion, dress code, and playground safety. The Lower School recognizes its students in the week prior to the Thanksgiving holiday break during Strengths and Talents Week. During this week, teachers intentionally celebrate students’ diverse strengths and talents with special presentations. A variety of leadership opportunities are also available for students in Grades 3 and 4 including Student Council and Fourth-Grade Leaders.
  • Connections Class

    Students attend Connections Class one time per week. Taught by a speech-language pathologist, the purpose of this class is to enhance social competence through explicit instruction of skills that are necessary to engage in successful communication, adapt to unexpected events and navigate the social world both in and out of the classroom, and ultimately develop self-awareness. Some of the skills targeted include cooperation, perspective taking, flexible thinking, cooperative play skills, turn taking, participating in a group, waiting, sharing, and sportsmanship.
  • Discovery Lab

    Students attend Discovery Lab one to two times per week as part of the enrichment class rotation. This class provides an extension of the concepts and skills learned in the classroom and through the STEMscopes curriculum by providing opportunities to engage the scientific method in real-life situations. Students are involved in exploring their world through meaningful activities and experiments that encourage personal pride and responsibility. In addition, students actively engage in learning about plant and animal life in the outdoor learning space next to the Peace Pond.
  • Executive Functioning

    Executive functioning skills provide the foundation for later academic and social learning and, thus, are an important focus of the Lower School program. Supports are explicitly taught and/or embedded into classroom instruction and routines to promote success. Execution function supports are categorized into three areas: cognitive, emotional and interpersonal. Specific skill areas, such as organization, sustained attention, impulse control, behavior regulation, or social problem solving, may be areas of focus depending on a child’s specific needs. Interventions may include visuals, checklists, self-monitoring strategies, behavior plans, or social stories.
  • Individualized Learning Plans (ILPs)

    Individualized Learning Plans (ILPs) are a comprehensive plan for each student’s learning and reflect targeted areas, including reading, written expression, math, handwriting, speech-language (if needed), strength goals and executive functioning (i.e., behavior regulation, organization, social engagement). Conferences are held three times per year, in October, February and May, and will include the entire team of teachers, including academic teachers, a speech-language pathologist, the occupational therapist, the school counselor and / or a school administrator. Curriculum-based and standardized test data will be shared, in addition to the ILP goals, in order to monitor progress over the course of the school year.
  • Library / LibTech

    Lessons designed by a LibTech Integrationist are taught weekly in Grades K-2 in the Learning Commons in Frist Hall. The focus is on library skills and foundations for good digital citizenship. In Grades 3-4, students attend a weekly LibTech class to acquire research and technology skills to complete integrated learning projects linked to content area projects. Librarians will also provide assistance in helping students find age-appropriate library materials to check out.
  • Physical Education and Recess

    The physical education program is designed to promote healthy lifestyles and the enjoyment of physical activity. Skill development, fitness and wellness are emphasized, as well as positive group interactions among students. Opportunities for participation are provided in a non-threatening environment. Students in kindergarten through third grade participate in P.E. for five 30-minute sessions per week, while students in fourth grade participate in four 45-minute P.E. sessions per week.

    Recess is an important part of the school day. All students have a recess for 30 minutes each day in addition to daily PE classes. Research supports enhanced cognitive and academic skills, as well as improved memory and behavior, following physical activity. During outdoor recess, students are encouraged to engage with their peers in free play, such as talking, playing organized games, playing on equipment, walking, running, etc.
  • Positive Behavior Support

    The Lower School uses a combined approach to behavior management, incorporating the principles of positive behavior support as well as social-emotional learning. The Lower School’s behavior philosophy is based on the premise that a caring, nurturing environment, as well as the intentional development of the cognitions and feelings associated with self-discipline, are the best approaches to building positive behaviors in children. All supports are grounded in strong and respectful relationships, prevention and positive reinforcement. Supports may include classwide or individualized behavior plans, small group or individual counseling, in-the-moment social coaching, or visuals and scripts to promote prosocial behavior.
  • Speech Language Services

    If it is determined that a student needs speech and / or language therapy, these services are provided directly by a speech-language pathologist (SLP) or indirectly through SLP consultation with teachers and parents. In some cases, a Currey Ingram SLP may recommend a comprehensive evaluation by an outside organization to guide therapy better. To determine a student’s target area(s), Currey Ingram SLPs may administer additional tests, study previous evaluations, and obtain input from teachers and parents. Sessions vary in frequency and duration according to each student’s needs. Areas addressed may include articulation, word retrieval, vocabulary, grammar/sentence structure, and pragmatic language/social skills. Intervention focuses not only on improving the student’s speech-language skills but also on teaching strategies to help the child be more successful in the classroom.
  • Occupational Therapy

    Currey Ingram Academy employs a full-time occupational therapist (OT) in the Lower School. The Lower School OT provides integrative group occupational therapy services within each homeroom and consultation to all faculty. Intervention for all grades is provided within the classroom to allow for optimal communication and coordination between the OT and classroom teacher. Students may receive additional support in a small-group setting as needs are identified by the Lower School OT. 

    The Lower School handwriting curriculum utilizes a consistent, multisensory approach to build the foundational skills needed for handwriting performance. Visual, auditory and kinesthetic approaches are used to establish each student’s visual and motor memory skills necessary for automatic handwriting. Letter formation and legibility are the initial focus of the handwriting curriculum. As children demonstrate mastery of formation and legibility, additional handwriting qualities are emphasized. After handwriting quality is established, handwriting speed or fluency is further emphasized to ensure proficient handwriting performance.
  • Enrichment Classes

    Throughout the week, students attend a variety of enrichment classes, with the purpose of exposing students to a wide range of extracurricular subject areas. Classes are attended one to two times each week and include a developmentally appropriate curriculum that builds upon previously acquired content as students progress from primary to fourth grade. Classes include art, creative drama, music, Discovery Lab, library / LibTech, PE, character education and Connections Class.

    Students explore and expand their individual creativity through the use of a variety of materials and artistic techniques. Historical and multicultural art sources are often incorporated into the visual arts curriculum to broaden student awareness and encourage an appreciation of art in its many forms. Students attend art class one or two times per week.
    Creative Drama
    Students will explore their creativity while enhancing their natural expression and effective communication skills through puppet theatre, scene work, stories, characterization, improvisation, movement and more. Students will write, produce and perform various informal and formal presentations throughout the year. Students participate in creative drama class one time each week.
    Discovery Lab
    The primary goal of this class is to learn by doing. It is designed to reinforce concepts and skills learned in the classroom by applying them to real-life situations. Students are involved in exploring their world through meaningful activities and experiments that encourage personal pride and responsibility. Students attend the Discovery Lab one or two times per week.
    Lessons designed by a LibTech Integrationist are taught weekly in grades K-2 in the Learning Commons in Frist Hall. The focus is on Library skills and foundations for good digital citizenship. Students will be checking out books during this time; however, teachers and parents may escort their children to the library for additional time to explore and learn.
    Students in grades 3-4 will attend a weekly LibTech class in the Learning Commons in Frist Hall to acquire research and technology skills  to complete integrated learning projects. Librarians will also provide assistance in helping students find age appropriate library materials to check out.
    Students learn to appreciate and enjoy music through vocal instruction, playing instruments, reading and notating music, listening to and evaluating music performances, moving to music, and exploring their creativity. Students attend music class one time each week. Students in third and fourth grades use recorders for part of their instruction. In addition, there is an afterschool choir opportunity for students in Grades 2-4 called the Singing Stallions. (Note: Specific areas of music instruction may be modified based on current health and safety recommendations.)
    Physical Education
    The physical education program is designed to promote healthy lifestyles and the enjoyment of physical activity. Skill development, fitness and wellness are emphasized, as well as positive group interactions among students. Opportunities for participation are provided in a non-threatening environment. Students in kindergarten through third grade participate in P.E. for five 30-minute sessions per week, while students in fourth grade participate in four 45-minute P.E. sessions per week. Students in the Lower School do not change clothes for P.E.; however, athletic shoes are required, and girls should wear tights, shorts or biker shorts under dresses and skirts. Shoes may tie or have Velcro fasteners but not zippers. Afterschool sports may include cross-country, basketball, soccer or cheerleading. Teams are formed according to student interest and the number of enrolled students.
  • Character Education and School Counseling

    Character education is addressed through a developmentally-appropriate, comprehensive model for character development that incorporates moral knowing, feeling and action. The faculty, staff, administrators, and parents work collaboratively to infuse character virtues into all components of the curriculum and school programs. Character language is embedded in instruction, discussions, and positive behavior support.

    School counseling plays an important role in the total educational process for Lower School students. The counselor works strategically as part of the instructional team to promote student success. The school counselor partners with students, families, administrators, teachers, staff, and professionals in the community to address concerns and issues that have a substantial impact on students academic, personal, and social development. Individual and/or small-group counseling sessions are designed by the school counselor based on identified areas of need.

The EARLY Intervention Approach

The EARLY Intervention Approach at Currey Ingram is a reading intervention program that is rooted in research that intervention during the elementary school years is essential for students who struggle with reading, writing, language, and/or executive functioning skills. 

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Currey Ingram Academy is an exemplary PreK-12 day and boarding school that empowers students with learning differences to achieve their fullest potential. Since 2002, the school has been located on an 83-acre campus in Brentwood, Tennessee, just miles from Nashville and Franklin. Families from 33 states and eight countries cite the school as their primary reason for moving to Middle Tennessee.

Currey Ingram Academy is accredited by the Southern Association of Independent Schools (SAIS) and AdvancEd/Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI).