Innovation Abounds at Lower School

Call it an exciting reboot. With a new leadership team in place, Sayre School – Lexington’s only independent, preschool-12th-grade school – has reworked its Preschool and Lower School, offering innovative new programs that fit the needs of 21st Century families.

“Our Upper School is well-regarded,” Admission Director Jeff Oldham said. “We’re excited to let people know about the cool things we are doing for younger students in the Lower School.”

Oldham came to Sayre this year from Da Vinci Academy outside Chicago, the hometown of new Head of School, Stephen Manella.

They joined Roberta Wykoff, who is in her third year as the Head of the Lower School.

Sayre serves children as young as 18 months old. The Toddler Enrichment Program, which is open to the public, offers weekly classes in art, music and children’s literature for caregivers and children 18 months to 3 years. The popularity of this program has inspired Sayre to develop a new full-year, opening next fall, just for 2-year-olds.

“The new PreK-2 class will mirror our PreK-3 and PreK-4 programs and will develop social, cognitive, motor and early language skills,” Oldham said.

Along with traditional preschool, Sayre offers a Montessori program for 3-5-year-olds.

“We’ve got something for everyone, with multiple entry points for families,” Oldham said.

Sayre, the oldest school in Lexington, regularly embraces new academic developments. The HighScope curriculum for preschoolers is a case in point.

As teachers and students meet at the start of the day, children are asked to articulate their plans for the day’s first activity.

After the activity, everyone gathers again when students report back to the group about what they accomplished.

Initially, children might only point to the art table or Lego table. Over time, this exercise helps children “learn to organize their thoughts, execute a plan and verbalize their experience,” Oldham said.

HighScope serves parents, too. Instead of a shrug or a grunt when asked, “What did you do in school today?” Sayre youngsters can provide actual specifics from their school day.

Other hallmarks of the Lower School include the use of iPads for the preschool and elementary grades, a new LEGO Robotics program, and a theme-based immersion unit that includes all grade levels.

“Our Lower School completes the picture,” Oldham said. “We offer high quality education for 2-year-olds to 18-year-olds.”