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Lower School (Primary - 4th Grade)

1st - 4th Grade

Welcome to 1st - 4th Grade

The Lower School is comprised of dedicated 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade classrooms. At a crucial time in students’ academic and personal development, our lower school program enables students to receive focused instruction while also developing their critical thinking skills and creating meaningful connections with their peers. 

Program Elements

List of 4 items.

  • Language Arts

    We use Reader's Workshop, a methodology developed by Lucy Calkins in the Reading and Writing Project at Columbia University. Our curriculum focuses on giving each child an opportunity to read a "just right" book at his/her reading level. During reading time, teachers hold mini conferences with each child. This program fosters a love for reading at a young age while helping students to build confidence as readers.
  • Social Studies

    Our teachers deliver an engaging, purposeful, culturally competent social studies program that enables students to understand, participate in and make informed decisions about themselves as global citizens and the world around them. Social studies are taught in mixed grade level groupings (1st and 2nd, 3rd and 4th Grades), and our students experience a two-year rotation of studies. The curriculum integrates project-based learning with an essential question attached to each unit of study. 

    1st and 2nd Grade 
    • Topics of Study: family and community, how can we live together, geography and countries

    • Essential Questions: Who am I? What does it mean to belong? What makes a community? Why are similarities and differences important?
    3rd and 4th Grade
    • Topics of Study: global and historical communities, the study of Indigenous people, California history, geography

    • Essential Questions: What are the different parts of my identity? How does our society treat people differently because of their identities? Can students increasingly recognize unfairness and have a language to describe unfairness and equity? 
  • Science

    Like our social studies program, our science curriculum offers students a dynamic, hands-on, project-based learning environment in mixed grade level groupings while learning the science knowledge and foundational skills transferable to our middle school program. Our students are prepared to enter middle school, having practiced their observational and processing skills (communicating, classifying, measuring, inferring, and predicting) while gaining physical practice with scientific tools (magnifying glasses, rulers, beakers, etc.).

    1st and 2nd Grade 
    • Topics of Study: Life science (plants, animals, habitats), ecosystems, Earth and space science (properties of suns, moons, planets, and stars), Physical science (states of matter, electricity, and magnetism)
    3rd and 4th Grade
    • Topics of Study: Life Science (habitats, life cycle, heredity, and Change Over Time, human body), Physical Science (forces and motion, magnetism, and sound), Earth and space science (Geology and Earth science), and the scientific method
  • Math

    Teachers use a variety of math materials that support each child's learning needs and styles. Our curriculum is a concept-based methodology that moves from visual to pictorial to abstract and ends with a mastery of skill that encourages deep dives into math concepts. The curriculum complements and enhances our project-based approach to teaching math.

Specialist Program

Library: once a week, 30 minutes

Art: twice a week, 1.5-2 hours total

Spanish: twice a week, 1-1.5 hours total

PE: three times a week, 1.5 hours total

Music: two-three times a week, 1-1.5 hours total

Current Parent

Of course we expected the school to have a very strong academic program, but we were thrilled with the way our daughter is becoming a caring, confident and a wonderful human being...

Lower School Videos

1st–4th Grade Faculty

    • Clare Byrne

      Second Grade Associate Teacher

    • Ryan Chung

      First Grade Associate Teacher

    • Anna Faigenbaum

      Third Grade Associate Teacher

    • Susan Guadagno

      Fourth Grade Co-Teacher

    • Natalie How

      Fourth Grade Co-Teacher

    • Kelly Kaufman

      Second Grade Teacher

    • Julia Ripperton

      First Grade Teacher, Director of Associate Teacher Program

    • Allison Zimmerman

      Third Grade Teacher

Non-discrimination policy: We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, nationality, ethnic origin, gender, gender identification, disability or other category protected by law.