That’s why we cultivate a safe, nurturing, inclusive community rooted in joyful, hands-on early learning experiences designed to spark curiosity and fire the imagination. From building confidence, self-reliance, and essential life skills, to instilling the value of working for the good of others alongside personal achievement, the GDS Lower School supports students as they develop into forward-thinking, compassionate, intellectually curious problem-solvers and advocates for a better tomorrow.
By the Numbers
BUDDIES & Mentoring
Our buddy program is built to nurture leadership, empathy, and friendship across the divisions. Because we are fortunate to share One GDS campus, Lower School students have meaningful opportunities to connect with Middle/High School mentors throughout the year, both during and after school.
ART FOUNDATIONSIn 4th grade, the robust Lower School Arts program, featuring almost daily dance, studio arts, and music classes, adds chorus and band to the weekly lineup. Students create, innovate, develop skills, and showcase their work in each discipline.
Movement & DANCEThe P.E. Dance Assembly is a must-see highlight of the year. Students perform as an entire grade level for the entire LMS community. Pre-K also teams up with HS students for a parachute dance.
Budding ScientistsThird grade scientists learn about the life cycles of plants, observing and recording changes in trees in neighboring national parks, dissecting plants, and discussing evolution and adaptations.
Writers’ WorkshopFirst grade authors read their personal narratives at the annual Author’s Brunch, a culmination of the students' year in Writers’ Workshop. Students gain storytelling skills and engage in the writing process.
Claiming their IdentitiesIn the 2nd grade Identity Project, students explore and claim their identities in a yearlong multidisciplinary study and project. The culminating event honors their individuality, showcases their empathy, and celebrates GDS’s diverse community.
Creative dramatic playCreative dramatic play is a hallmark of the Prekindergarten/Kindergarten curriculum, in which students affirm positive self-image, explore community roles, collaborate around shared goals, and celebrate difference.
LS SpanishOur world language program will include Spanish for Pre-K – 2nd grade. Early language study brings cognitive benefits, academic achievement gains, self-esteem increases, and positive attitudes toward diversity. In grades 3 and 4, students can choose a language: Spanish, French, or Mandarin, and by 2024-2025, all Lower School students will study Spanish.
- Our early childhood education years (pre-kindergarten and kindergarten) prioritize play, recognizing that play is the work of our youngest students.
- Students begin taking dedicated science classes in pre-kindergarten.
Engaging math, literacy, and social studies lessons are thoughtfully designed and facilitated, focusing on learning goals and children’s personal needs/interests.
Visual and performing arts is integrated into the academic curriculum for all Lower School students.
- All Lower School students have recess every day and physical education four days a week, focused on building confidence and skill.
- World language is highly valued as students from Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 4 enjoy learning a new language.
- All Lower School students take grade-level trips that build community, cultivate confidence, and extend learning beyond the school walls.
- Each year, we honor the history and spirit of our school's founding through five major assemblies celebrating the enduring themes of gratitude, peace and goodwill, equality, freedom, and self-determination. All are led by Lower School students.
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Meet the Lower School Office
The founding principals and dedication to equity create a beacon of hope that my children will grow up with opportunities to lead and even fail in a safe space.GDS Parent '20 & 34
Thank you for developing the leaders of the future!GDS Parent '29
We are impressed with teachers' commitment, creative energy, and can-do mindset in both in-person or virtual settings.GDS Parent '32
What do I love about GDS? Its commitment to social justice, the unparalleled academics, and the incredible people that make up the community.Alum '09
My children have grown into confident, capable, and accomplished young people who are willing to ask questions, challenge popular beliefs, and look for ways to make the world better for those around them.GDS Parent '15 & '23