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.

Lower School Overview

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.

Celebrations and Events

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
• Concerts
• 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

  • Science (2x week)
  • Spanish (4x week in kindergarten and fourth grade; 3x week all other grades)
  • Art (2x week)
  • Music (2x week)
  • Physical Education (4x week)
  • Library (1x week)
  • Technology (1x week)
  • Social-Emotional Learning (1x week)
  • New Students

    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.

    Why Maret?

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    Martha's Table

    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

    Publishing Party

    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.

    Shad Project

    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.

    Home-Style Lunch

    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.

    After School

    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
    French Club
    Tiny Chefs
    Chess Club
    Culture Club
    Kaizen Karate

    Study Hall

    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.

    Field Trips

    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

    Pumpkin Parade

    A longstanding Maret tradition, the Pumpkin Parade is held every October – an opportunity for our lower schoolers to parade in full costume to the delight of faculty, parents, and grandparents. Lower schoolers are also treated to a lively carnival put on by our Middle School.

    Pumpkin Parade

    Academic News

    National Coming Out Day Assembly
    5th Grade NASA Webinar
    Art Teacher Maggie Michael Exhibits at G Fine Art
    Senior Joins the NSO Youth Fellowship Program
    Alumnus Receives Astronaut Scholarship Foundation Award
    MSON/Maret Math Teacher to Present at the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics
    Alumna Katherine Taylor Engineers Solar-Powered Irrigation System in India
    A Great First Day of School
    Congratulations to the CLASS OF 2017
    Seniors Work at the DC Attorney General's Office
    2017 National Latin Exam Award Winners
    Hispanic Cultures Speaker
    Physics Rocket Lab
    Cum Laude 2017
    Maret-Chavez Students Participate in Aspen Institute Roundtable
    Eighth Grader in Top Eight of National Debate Competition
    Harry Potter Competition
    Annual Climate Conference
    Guest Speaker: Luis Guardia Mora, Sr.
    Young Women Political Leaders
    Eighth Graders Top Finalists in the You Be the Chemist Challenge
    Lower School Publishing Party
    Environmental Stewardship
    Environmental Spirit Week
    Parkmont Poetry Festival Winners
    LearnServe Fellows Pitch Their Ventures
    National Scholastic Art & Writing Award
    DCW50 MVP: Luke '17
    Fifth and Sixth Grade Mini-Marathon
    Engineering Team Wins Awards at the MATE ROV Competition
    Seniors Win Second Place in Debate Competition
    Lower School Science Hatch Cam
    Maret-Chavez Students Hold Discussion About Race
    Junior Wins Athlete of the Month Award
    Upper Schoolers Perform in Concert to Benefit Shreyas School
    Eighth Grade Spanish: Partnership with Powell Bilingual Elementary School
    Gatorade Boys Basketball Player of the Year - District of Columbia
    Students Receive C-SPAN's StudentCam Award for Their Documentary
    Winter Sports Wrap Up
    Harvard Model Congress
    Washington School for Girls Partnership
    Slices of Science: Elliot Weintrob
    40th Annual Science Fair Awards 2017
    Biographical Character Day
    Asian Cultural Heritage Assembly
    4th Grade Ancient Egyptian Civilization Study
    US Foreign Aid Policy Speakers Present to Seventh Graders
    Martin Cox Discusses Game Theory
    Chinese Language Class Celebrates The Year of the Rooster
    Photographer Speaks to Hispanic Cultures Class
    LabCandy Founder and Author Speaks at Maret
    Annual Mixed Forum
    A Vibrant School Life Reinforces Maret's Mission
    Rosetta Lee Speaks at Maret
    MLK Service Fair 2017
    Civil Rights Activist Perry Wallace Joins Author Andrew Maraniss to Discuss "Strong Inside"
    Makerspace Club Learns About Advances in 3D Printing
    Engineer Adam Wentworth Speaks to Calculus Students
    Maret National Geographic Bee
    Kindies Study "Oobleck" in the Science Lab
    Physics Labs at Maret
    Secretary Norman Mineta Speaks to the Upper School
    Chuck Driesell Featured In Naples Daily News
    9th Grade Biology Demo
    USA Today High School Sports Honors
    Fall Sports Wrap Up
    Author A'leila Bundles Speaks to Upper School Students
    Immigration Advocates Speak to Upper Schoolers
    People of Color Conference 2016
    Upper Schoolers Teach Kindies How To Make Kaleidoscopes
    CNN Correspondent Jake Tapper Speaks to Students
    Cesar Chavez Students Join Maret Students on Campus
    Robotics Team Receives Awards
    Drop Everything and Read All-School Assembly
    Meteorologist Visits the Fifth Grade
    Global Issues Day 2016
    Students Study at the National Museum of the American Indian
    Students Learn Salsa at Habana Village
    DCSAA Champions: Maret Football Finishes Perfect Season
    Slices of Science: Nicholas Francisci '12 & Liani Lye
    NASA Scientist Visits Fifth Graders
    Digging Deep into our Core Values
    Veteran's Day Assembly
    Author Debby Irving Visits Maret
    Homecoming 2016
    National Coming Out Day
    Hispanic Heritage Month Assembly
    ABC news correspondent Martha Raddatz
    Charting Maret's Strategic Directions
    Dr. Kaye Whitehead Guest Speaker
    William Kamkwamba Speaks to 9th Grade Class
    Alum Sean Davis '12 Debuted with the Steelers at FedEx Field
    The Joy of Reading
    Welcome Back, Frogs!
    Spring Sports Wrap-Up
    Student Wins Computer Science Award
    Engineering Team Wins Second Place
    Senior Coby Davis Highlighted in Washington Post
    Sydney Covitz '16 Pens Pokéman Go Article for The Washington Post
    Horizons in the News
    Maret in France
    Maret in Taiwan
    Global Issues Network Conference
    Going Global in Lower School
    Maret in Spain
    Maret in India

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