The Lower School curriculum is structured and balances enrichment with the mastery of foundational skills. Our caring and experienced teachers recognize and support individual needs and differences and, at the same time, stress teamwork and collaboration--critical 21st-century skills. We encourage and challenge our students to advance and reach their full potential in every area and activity they explore, enhancing their critical thinking, creativity and self-expression. They confidently progress from concrete, multi-sensory experiences to abstract thinking in a true community based in kindness, respect and honesty.
- Grizzly Gathering two times a week, coming together as a community to participate in activities and learning opportunities focused on respect, multicultural education, geography, Internet safety, public speaking and music education
- A separate Lower School library with 8,000 volumes and 35 subscriptions for young readers and weekly classes for all students
- Physical Education classes four times a week in a state-of-the-art gym and on turf and grass fields
- We offer optional riding lessons for students in grades K-5 during one PE class per week, after school riding lessons and Saturday riding lessons during the school year
- Access to two different age-appropriate playgrounds and 110 acres of paths, woods and fields for free play and supervised walks
- Numerous extra-curricular activities on campus after school: Robotics, Brownies and Girl Scouts, Lacrosse, instrumental music, riding, art club, environmental club and new, faculty-led offerings each year
- A full-time Lower School counselor who provides assistance to teachers, parents and students as they solve the questions and problems related to the development of young children
- 4th and 5th Grade Robotics team that competes successfully at local and state competitions
- A laptop program in 4th and 5th Grades where the girls become proficient with a wide variety of programs and learn to adapt technology to their own learning styles and preferences
- Reading Buddies and Big and Little Sister activities that pair younger students with older role models in the Lower School
- Livingston, a dedicated Lower School building, was renovated to meet the distinct needs of elementary-aged students. Classrooms are spacious, vibrant and equipped with the latest in technology. The secure Livingston building encompasses the Kindergarten through 5th Grade programs and includes traditional classrooms, dedicated art and science classrooms, large meeting space for whole-school gatherings and events, a well-used outdoor amphitheater and two adjacent playgrounds.
- Various grouping models for Reading and Math that provide each student with the support and challenge she is ready to accept
- A full-time, dedicated Academic Resources Coordinator, allowing for smaller reading groups and individualized support or challenge where needed
- Project-based, best-of-practice teaching and learning in Language, Arts, Math, Science and Social Studies. Girls learn best when they can get their hands dirty and dig into an idea, take it apart, discuss it and use their innate creative collaboration to find a solution. Our teachers guide students in this process to make connections between disciplines and hone critical-thinking skills across the curricula
- A full-time Lower School Digital Media Specialist bringing the latest in technology into each high-tech classroom for virtual lessons using iPads, laptops, Skype, smart boards and video conferencing technology
- A STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) focus in class balances the empirical with the creative to offer the best possible environment in which to challenge students across the disciplines and develop the kind of skills they need for success in the 21st century
- Focused, extended blocks of time for Language Arts and Math in the morning
- Classes in Art, Science, Music, Computer, Foreign Language (Spanish), Library and Physical Education with specialists in their field
- 80 percent of the lead teachers in grades K to 5th with advanced degrees in education, educational technology, or a related field
- An extensive professional development program for teachers including summer curriculum development, tuition reimbursement, summer sabbaticals and conferences and workshops both on and off campus
A spirit of inquiry, enthusiasm for learning and cooperative spirit are clearly evident in Garrison Forest's Lower School. This is a place where girls, Kindergarten though 5th Grade, embrace their potential and realize just what they are capable of.
Gail Hutton, Head of Lower Divison
Associate Director of Lower School and Preschool Admission