Lower School (K - 4)
At Marin Horizon, the Lower School years are essential for our younger students as they develop their foundational skills. Our students build self-confidence and moral courage, develop their communication skills and a sense of responsibility, and practice how to work cooperatively in a joyful, safe, and academically engaging classroom setting. We celebrate our differences, share our perspectives and cultivate community partnerships with families to support the ever-changing needs of our students.
Through a thoughtfully crafted curriculum that has been purposefully connected to the next grade, students are exposed to different approaches to learning, enhancing their awareness of their learning styles. They are given opportunities to problem-solve and think critically while learning new concepts and acquiring skills in English, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, and Spanish. Teachers deliver a rich academic program integrated with imaginative, conceptual lessons that involve hands-on and experiential learning. The Lower School classroom experience can be set within four walls or, at times, in the great outdoors.
Science and Social Studies classes are taught in mixed grade groupings beginning in first grade, opening up opportunities for academic interactions amongst neighboring grade levels and further nurturing and expanding our student's social circles. Students cultivate an appreciation for the arts through our weekly music and visual arts program and gain outdoor education and fitness skills in PE. Our students also learn to be responsible digital citizens and use technology effectively when developmentally appropriate.
As a school, Marin Horizon recognizes that children benefit from an environment where social and emotional growth is intentionally nurtured and developed. The Lower School uses various resources to help provide our students with an environment that empowers them to feel comfortable, safe, and confident in various situations, creating a sense of belonging. Above all, if you ask our Lower School students why they are at Marin Horizon, you will often hear how they feel seen, heard, and love their school, classmates, teachers, and community.
Director, Lower School
Lower School - the Formative Years
At Marin Horizon, the Lower School years are the essential building blocks of a child's education, laying the groundwork for lifelong learning. These formative years mark a critical phase in a child's educational journey, bridging the gap between foundational learning and more advanced exploration. During this period, students build upon the basic skills acquired in earlier years, delving into more complex subjects in reading, mathematics, and science. They begin to develop critical thinking and problem-solving abilities, engaging in collaborative projects and discussions that nurture intellectual curiosity. With an emphasis on personal responsibility and growing independence, the environment at Marin Horizon for these grades fosters a deeper understanding of self, community, and the world. This stage lays the groundwork for the students' future success, empowering them to take on the challenges of the Upper School with confidence and resilience."
Students embark on a journey of self-discovery and intellectual growth. These young scholars learn to see the world with inquisitive eyes, asking questions and seeking answers that fuel their understanding. They begin to appreciate the beauty of different cultures, the logic of mathematics, and the creativity of literature. Embracing challenges with resilience and collaborating with empathy, these children grow into confident thinkers, caring classmates, and responsible community members. They are not only absorbing information but shaping their personalities, developing the skills and values that will guide them throughout their lives.
The Lower School Program at Marin Horizon is more than just an introduction to academia; it's a lively journey where young minds lay the foundational stones for lifelong learning. What distinguishes this program is the balance of hands-on exploration with fundamental skill development. Students in these grades don't just learn by listening; they experience their education. They might plant a garden to understand biology, paint a mural to explore visual arts, or act out historical events to grasp social studies. Through engaging activities and thoughtful guidance, students develop critical thinking, creativity, and empathy. It's within these nurturing and dynamic environments that one can witness the seeds of curiosity, self-expression, and confidence taking root, all of which are vital in preparing them for the engaging and challenging years ahead in their educational path."
An exciting day for all grades, the Learning Exhibition celebrates students' academic talents. They investigate topics, solve problems, and present their findings - all while demonstrating their knowledge in this school-wide event. It's a day filled with applause and encouragement from the whole school community.
"Every discovery helps us understand the world better and ignites our love for learning."
A tradition for grades K through 5, the overnight camping trips are a key avenue for students to connect with nature and their peers. They set up tents, build campfires, explore trails, stumble, laugh, and persevere - enjoying shared experiences in an amazing, immersive outdoor adventure, with the support of the entire school community.
"We learn that every stumble in the wild is an important step towards resilience and camaraderie."
A highlight for the lower school, Engineering Night sparks the inventive spirit of our youngest scholars. Working collaboratively, they brainstorm, design, build, stumble, and succeed - vying for recognition in this exhibition of creativity and innovation, applauded by the entire school community. It's surely a night to remember.
"The most important takeaway is that every challenge is a doorway to discovery."
A unique feature of our school, the Buddy Program builds bridges between older and younger students. Those in higher grades pair up with the little ones, offering them a peek of the future while learning empathy and leadership. It's an exchange of ideas and experiences that cultivates a close-knit community.
"The key takeaway is that every interaction is a chance to learn, inspire, and grow together."
The Lower School Faculty is the heartbeat of the program at Marin Horizon. To truly appreciate their impact, one only needs to observe the sparkling eyes and enthusiastic voices of the students as they embark on their learning journey. These teachers are not merely educators; they are nurturers, guides, and trusted friends who instill confidence, curiosity, and joy in learning. They help shape not just the young minds in their care, but their hearts and characters as well. With a perfect blend of warmth, creativity, and dedication, they lay the foundation for both academic success and personal growth, leaving a lasting imprint that continues to resonate with the children as they move forward in their education.
Lead (K), Literacy Specialist
Stevie Lee Jr.
Lead (3rd Grade)
Lead (4th Grade)
Learning Specialist, Dean of Students
Jeanine F. Dworak
Lead (2nd Grade)
Lead (1st Grade)