Lower School (K-4)
Maret’s Lower School lets children be children while they acquire the fundamentals of learning and socialization. Maret believes that childhood should be treasured and savored, not accelerated or compressed.
Our full-day kindergarten through fourth grade program, in self-contained homerooms, provides a nurturing and stimulating environment in which academics are presented through a variety of full-class, partnered, and independent activities. Homeroom teachers teach math, reading, writing, and social studies. Our lower school program sets the groundwork for each student to delight in their discoveries, master new skills, and relish the satisfaction of contributing to the Maret community.
The Joy of Learning
A joy of learning permeates Maret’s Lower School. The curriculum inspires students to take risks, think creatively, and work collaboratively. Teachers value their students’ backgrounds and experiences and create a meaningful and dynamic context for learning.
The lower school curriculum is thoughtfully sequenced and integrated both within each grade level and from one grade to the next. Language arts, mathematics, and social studies are taught in the homeroom. Science, Spanish, visual art, music, physical education, library, technology, and social emotional learning (SEL) classes are taught by specialists in classrooms designed for those subjects. Curricular connections are made across subject areas when there is a natural overlap of skills, content, or concepts.
Lower school students benefit from the full range of Maret’s K–12 campus facilities, including a playground, two libraries (one designated for the Lower School), two fully equipped gymnasiums, a theater, a movement studio, a lower school computer lab, and a cafeteria. Teachers take advantage of Maret’s location in Washington, DC; field trips throughout this historically significant and culturally diverse city, as well as to surrounding locations in Maryland and Virginia, enhance the students’ learning experience.
Maret welcomes children with a range of abilities and interests. The small size of the lower school classes helps teachers support children at different stages of development. A lower school learning/reading specialist and a part-time math specialist provide additional support for students and faculty.
Whether it’s an annual tradition, demonstration of academic or artistic achievement, an activity focused on community service, or a “just-for-fun” celebration, children develop confidence and deepen connections through the Lower School’s many special events and activities. Some celebrations are class-specific while others span several grades, perhaps including parents and special friends. Recent lower school special events have included:
• Biographical Character Day
• Environmental Spirit Week
• Fictional Character Day
• Fun Run
• Grade 4 Greek Play
• Grade 4 Camping Trip
• Grandparents and Special Friends Day
• Intensive Study Week
• Martha’s Table Partnership
• Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service
• Pajama Day—A Celebration of Reading
• Publishing Party
• Pumpkin Parade and Grade 8 Carnival
• ROY G BIV Week
• Science Week
Our youngest students ease into the world of learning, self-awareness, and friendship in the comfort of the stand-alone Kindergarten Cottage. Kindergarten typically has 18 -20 students working with two full time teachers.
At a Glance
- Approximately 130 students, grades K-4
- First, second, and third grades each have two sections of 12-14 students
- Fourth grade has two sections of approximately 18 students
- The school day runs from 8am - 2:50pm with early dismissal at 1:20pm on Wednesdays
- Our After School Program runs daily until 6pm
Lower School Classes
New student enrollment varies each year, but here is a typical profile:
- Kindergarten: 20 new students
- First Grade: 5 - 7 new students
- Second and Third Grades: new students enrolled only if space becomes available
- Fourth Grade: 7 - 10 students
Lower School Culture Club
Each session of the Culture Club is taught by Maret parent volunteers who represent a variety of cultures and who share their personal stories and traditions. Students enjoy food, games, music, dance, crafts, and other activities to celebrate each culture.
- Martha's Table
- Publishing Party
- Shad Project
- Home-Style Lunch
- After School
- Field Trips
- Pumpkin Parade
Once a month, lower school families contribute the ingredients used to create a hearty soup to help feed homeless residents through Martha’s Table. In addition, each week a different lower school homeroom prepares a lesson plan, which they teach to the very young preschool students at Martha’s Table’s Healthy Start Center. This interaction has special meaning for lower school students, who work with Martha’s Table throughout their entire time in Lower School; they enjoy mentoring these younger children. Reflective writing and thoughtful class discussions help Maret students process and make meaning of these interactions, connecting the experiences to their own learning
All lower school students write daily. They are encouraged to view writing as a process, learning to plan, execute, critique, and revise writing in a variety of genres, while developing their own unique written “voice.” Children’s poems, essays, and stories adorn the walls of the Lower School. All lower school students take pride in the culminating activity, the annual Publishing Party, where they present bound copies of their writing to parents and other visitors.
Upper school students work hand-in-hand with first graders to construct a shad fish hatchery, monitor water quality of the hatchery, and care for and release shad fry into a local river. As upper school students help first graders to understand water-testing procedures, the younger students become more comfortable with collecting and recording meaningful data. This project allows students who may not feel confident in science to explore what field scientists do on a daily basis, as well as apply the concepts learned in the classroom.
Lower schoolers practice the important social skills of conversation, good manners, and respectfulness. Children are asked to offer reasons for being grateful, such as the joy of family, veterans who protect our country, or friends who make them laugh. These special moments promote deeper thinking, a sense of gratitude, patience, and the art of public speaking. Maret’s cafeteria staff serve healthy, tasty food and, although third and fourth graders have the responsibility of clearing tables, diners of all ages pitch in to make sure the floor and surfaces of their immediate area are clean.
Maret’s After School program offers a welcoming environment where children from kindergarten through eighth grade can relax and unwind. It’s a safe, comfortable, low-key option for families who are unable to pick up their children at the regular dismissal time.
Lower School Activities
After School offers supervised free time along with structured activities: playground games, arts and crafts, story time, board games and more. Lower School Clubs are also open to After School students. Examples of current after school activities are:
C3 Cyber Club
After School students in grades 3-8 participate in required hour-long study hall Monday –Thursday, run by After School staff. Adults provide homework assistance, helping students get a jump on the evening’s projects and assignments.
When the NATION'S CAPITAL is your campus, the opportunity for enrichment is endless! Maret’s lower school students enjoy exploring the city and beyond. Recent excursions have included:
- Botanical Gardens
- Bureau of Engraving and Printing
- DC Aquarium
- Dunbarton Oaks
- Embassy Row
- Imagination Stage
- Japan Information and Culture Center
- The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
- Library of Congress
- Montgomery County Recycling Center
- National Audubon Society
- National Building Museum
- The National Zoo
- The Phillips Museum
- Smithsonian Institution
- The United States Capitol