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Lower School

Our Lower School faculty are specialists in developing young learners’ academic and critical thinking skills while supporting their social and emotional growth.

In 1st through 4th grade, our students dive into literacy, math, social studies, and science. Much of our curriculum unites several disciplines, taking an interconnected approach to an interconnected world. In weekly science classes in our dedicated Lower School lab, our students explore projects that often integrate their work in social studies and math. We emphasize hands-on inquiry, investigation, questioning and finding solutions, conducting research, and analyzing findings. And our Lower School students’ learning is regularly celebrated through presentations, publishing parties, and skits, which families are invited to attend. 

Bill McCarthy
Pre and Lower School Division Head

When you walk into our classrooms, you see warm, nurturing communities that are buzzing with the energy of children fully immersed in learning.

Read More about Bill McCarthy


We believe that the best learning happens in a strong, joyful community. In everything we do, we ask students to care for each other, listen to each other, and be active and responsible members of their school community. In and out of the classroom, we cultivate empathy, inclusion, and kindness. Annual community-wide events, such as the May Day Arts Festival, seasonal Sings, and the Immigration Celebration are formative experiences and treasured memories.

Beyond the Classroom

3rd Grade Field Trip to Waterloo

We believe that academics should incorporate immersive experiences that extend students’ learning, and so our Lower School teachers lead more than 100 excursions and field trips each year!  We encourage students to find their voices and discover the impact they can have on the world around them, and we provide a framework for identifying issues of interest, then developing and executing plans to address them. Grade-level engagement and service projects with Packer’s neighboring partners include weekly baking for the First Presbyterian Church Food Pantry and reading with English-language learners at the Arab-American Family Support Center.

Lower School at a Glance

Each Lower School classroom has two full-time teachers. 

Lower School classes follow a 7-day rotating cycle. 

Students visit the Hart Library once per cycle, and every classroom has its own extensive library.

Students have twice weekly science classes in our dedicated Lower School lab.
Music, art, dance, and, in 3rd and 4th Grades, theater classes take place throughout the cycle. 

In 4th grade students choose among music electives in chorus, woodwinds, brass, or strings.

Students enjoy 30 minutes daily of unstructured play time in the Packer Garden.

Explore our Campus

Packer Campus and Neighborhood Aerial Rendering

Get to know Packer's unique and historic campus and neighborhood using our interactive map.

Daily Schedule

1st and 2nd Grade: 8:45am to 3:15 pm
3rd and 4th Grade: 8:30am to 3:15pm 

Early morning dropoff runs from 8 to 8:30 am and is free of charge.

Afterschool options run until 6pm. 


For students in Kindergarten, options include daily drop-in Packer Afterschool and weekly, semester-long Packer Plus classes.

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