The Lower School—Preschool I (age 2) through Grade 5—provides a blend of challenge and nurture in an educational environment. Our exceptional teachers know and inspire each child, emphasizing hands-on programming, peer and teacher collaboration, project-based approaches to learning, and a spiraled scope and sequence in an effort to support age-appropriate activities and in-depth classroom inquiry.
The classroom community is specifically designed to foster a sense of belonging, allowing children to thrive and learn in a space that is safe and inspiring. Daily opening and closing meetings provide a platform for children to set goals, share hopes and dreams, deepen friendships, celebrate individual and collective accomplishments, and reflect on shared experiences. Teachers utilize academic choice to structure lessons, helping to enhance student motivation while increasing self-sufficiency and deepening personal satisfaction. Mindfulness practices and strategies are also utilized in the classroom to support children's emotional well-being, self-regulation, and independence. These programs help to improve attention and reduce stress. They result in better emotional regulation and an improved capacity for compassion and empathy for our students.
Lower School students spend approximately two-thirds of their day in a homeroom-based program. At the core of this program is the Responsive Classroom curriculum, which emphasizes social, emotional, and academic growth in a strong and safe community. In homeroom classes, students have assigned responsibilities and build relationships with one another and their homeroom teacher. Homeroom teachers also instruct students in math, language arts, and social studies. Students leave their homeroom for science, Spanish, performing and visual art, physical education, and religion classes, which are taught by departmental faculty. Chapel services are held weekly for elementary school students and for preschoolers.
By the end of Lower School, students are learning with enthusiasm and confidence and have found their place in a caring community. They have a better understanding of themselves as learners, a sense of empathy and kindness for others, and an eagerness to experience the new challenges and opportunities that await them in St. Andrew's Middle School.