Tell Me About…
the Lower School at Blake
At every level, but especially in our Lower School, Blake teachers function as guides to help children expand their curiosity and passion for learning. They teach the skills children need to pursue their interests and develop deep understandings while sparking new interests students might not have discovered on their own. Teachers take time to intentionally develop community by discussing students’ feelings and ideas, helping them make responsible decisions and resolve conflicts, and exploring with them the value and wonder of human diversity.
Special-area teachers work with Lower School students beginning in pre-kindergarten, and specialists are an integral part of the curriculum. Children participate in theater, music, visual arts and language classes and learn inquiry/research and computer skills that enable them to explore individual passions in their own way and at their own pace.
Blake’s kindergarteners through fifth graders benefit from second-language instruction by exploring French, Japanese and Spanish languages and culture. We believe second-language learning contributes significantly to a person’s willingness and ability to view the world through multiple lenses and to make decisions that reflect an informed understanding of the diversity of values, traditions, culture and beliefs in our world.
Similarly, children learn the importance of lifelong fitness as they explore their potential in a wide variety of physical activities. Lower School physical education emphasizes participation, sportsmanship and basic skills five days a week.
Children must be 4 years old to start pre-kindergarten. The Pre-K program meets five days a week from 8:30 a.m. to noon. Each Lower School campus has two Pre-K classes of 15 children and two teachers.
In Pre-K, we believe it is essential to nurture a child’s curiosity and inquiry and foster exploration and investigation with a wide range of opportunities and materials. We believe in a powerful child who is a capable protagonist in her/his own growth and development; and we believe in the power of a well-prepared environment, a space rich in possibilities where children can engage purposefully on their own and with their peers. Teachers observe and document children’s activities, work one-on-one with small groups and with the full class on different projects.
Kindergarten – Fifth Grade
K-5 classes meet from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Classes average 20 students with a lead teacher and a teaching assistant for all or part of the day.
We believe lower school students learn through personal involvement and active engagement with people, places, things and ideas. Hands-on exploration, interaction and dialogue with peers and adults, and reflection lead to a student’s construction of knowledge. Learning is a process that encourages children to play with, practice, connect, synthesize and apply new understandings. Ownership and choice are key elements in maximizing student’s learning potential.
Extended Day Program - Pre-K – 5th Grade
Supervised extended care is available 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 to 6 p.m. one or more days a week. Students may attend on a regular schedule or, with 24-hour notice, may attend single days.
Blake Lower School At A Glance
- Lower School includes pre-kindergarten through fifth grade.
- A 7:1 student-to-teacher ratio and classroom size of 20–21 students enables every teacher to know every child very well.
- Half of our Lower School students are at the Highcroft campus in Wayzata a warm, inviting, safe environment.
- The other half of our Lower School students are at the Blake campus in Hopkins 55 acres of rolling hills. This campus is also home to our varsity athletic fields, tennis courts, pool, ice arena and Middle School.
Blake’s approach to early childhood education is rooted in the Reggio Emilia approach, and our work with Lower School students fosters learning through a wide variety of innovative experiences.