Lower School Curriculum

JPA lower school students. Jay Pritzker Academy, Siem Reap, Cambodia. Jay-Pritzker-Academy-Siem-Reap-Cambodia.

Reading, Language Arts, & English Language Acquisition

Beginning in Kindergarten, students focus on phonemic awareness, phonics and decoding, reading comprehension, and writing skills. Promoting and supporting English language acquisition is a critical aspect of these formative years and storybooks and poetry enhance reading and oral language experiences. Spelling and vocabulary derived from stories, songs, and students’ own experiences connect language arts and reading skills. Students regularly produce written work and engage in the writing process and collaborative feedback. Through reading and language arts, JPA students develop an appreciation of literature and the skills necessary to understand and express complex ideas and opinions.


Students become proficient in all the major strands of math skills from addition, subtraction, division and multiplication to measurement, estimation and algebraic concepts. Students practice application of math in real life situations, such as calculating areas and angles in and around the classroom. Mathematics is further supported by the use of digital resources such as Khan Academy.


Students understand how the world around them is understood through the application of the scientific method. Students have opportunities to experiment and test scientific concepts as they explore life science, the properties of Earth, the principles of energy, nutrition and health. There are opportunities to study objects, plants and animals in and around their classrooms and to conduct practical experiments. Integrated science classes allow students to observe and understand basic principles of biology, chemistry, and physics.

Khmer Studies

Khmer Studies provides students with a strong foundation in reading and writing their native language and its ancient script. They explore their rich culture and history, from the Khmer Empire through to the modern kingdom the country is today.

Field trips to a local silk farm and pottery workshop, as well as to the magnificent ruins of the world’s largest religious structure – the ancient temple of Angkor Wat – enable students to develop an appreciation of Khmer culture and history. In Grade 5, students journey to the country’s capital, Phnom Penh, where they visit attractions such as the Royal Palace, Independence Monument, and National Museum, as well as learning more about Cambodia’s recent history and the devastating Khmer Rouge regime.

Social Studies

Students become familiar with the world’s geographical features, map study, history, and biographies of significant world figures. Students study major historical world events, ancient civilizations and cultures past and present. Civics and citizenship are central to social studies as students explore their place in their community at school and beyond and how they may make a meaningful contribution to their communities.

Library Resource Center

Students visit the library regularly to check-out books connected to current curriculum topics and cross-curricular areas. The library assistant works with classroom teachers quarterly to develop age-appropriate research projects, through which students learn, practice, and develop research skills.

Enrichment and Extensions

Lower school students extend their knowledge beyond the essential courses in enrichment classes throughout grade levels. Students’ interest and aptitude for the activities, below, informs their elective and club choices in middle school.

  • Art
  • Physical Education
  • Music
  • Keyboard and IT skills
  • Coding
  • Robotics