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Academic Highlights

The Lower School at Wardlaw+Hartridge provides a high level of intellectual challenge within a program designed to guide and inspire children as they discover the joy in the lifelong pursuit of learning. Our young students are active, engaged thinkers with a powerful sense of their own abilities and a growing respect for the talents each person brings to the community.

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Our work extends beyond the classroom and informs the overall atmosphere of our school environment. Teachers are trained in practical strategies for instruction that build a strong community and a focus on the following areas: engaging academics, positive communities, and developmentally responsive teaching.  This includes daily Morning Meetings in all Lower School grades. During Morning Meeting, teachers set the tone for the day. This not only builds the classroom community, but it also engages students, academically.

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The Teaching & Learning Specialist provides support to students regarding learning strategies and instructional techniques, and provides training for faculty and staff on current, research-based techniques and programming. The Teaching & Learning Specialist works in and out of the classroom providing support and conducting observations of students and their learning styles. Students who are capable of extending beyond the classroom instruction are provided opportunities to dig deeper. The Teaching & Learning Specialist is as well a resource to parents.


The Lower School uses the Math In Focus®: Singapore Math® program. Students learn concepts through concrete-pictorial-abstract instruction. This methodology helps students understand mathematical ideas and principles before learning formulaic expressions. Topics are taught through the use of manipulatives, providing a hands-on experience. Algebraic thinking is woven into lessons. Units are covered in depth focusing on mathematical understanding, logical thinking, and critical problem-solving skills.   

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A dedicated STEM class, twice a week, allows students to participate in an innovative program integrating just-in-time learning with high-interest topics, such as creating and designing their own working pinball machine.  Each unit is presented in a Problem-Based Learning approach, and students are tasked with using 21st Century skills of collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking to solve problems in content-driven projects. Students explore robotics, coding, and engineering as they work on interdisciplinary projects.


Informal opportunities to present over the Early Childhood and Primary grades prepare students for the formal public speaking program.  In the Third and Fourth Grades, students research, write, and memorize a speech to recite to their classmates and parents.  The Fifth Grade Capstone is an extended project engaging students in addressing real-world problems and answering complex questions. At the end of the year, Fifth Graders present their work assisted by various tools to highlight their learning. Speeches and the Capstone are structured as preparation for the rigors of the Middle School.

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In addition to the core academic program, Lower School students attend specialized instruction classes throughout the week.  Our students have classes in Art, Music, Spanish, STEM, and Physical Education. In Fourth and Fifth Grades, students begin lessons in instrumental band and choral music, as well.  These classes are taught by W+H faculty who have experience and education in their specific disciplines. Throughout the Lower School, with the exception of Physical Education which is held daily, these classes meet twice a week giving students dedicated, focused, frequent time in our programs. 

Lower School Calendar

Lower School Head's Blog

Meet Katherine Heiss Lower School Teacher