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Lower School (K-4)

Maret believes that childhood should be treasured and savored, not accelerated or compressed.

Welcome from Director of Lower School Chris Appleby

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A joy of learning permeates Maret’s Lower School. An engaging curriculum encourages students to try new things, think creatively, and work collaboratively. Teachers value their students’ backgrounds and experiences and create a meaningful and dynamic context for learning.

Nurturing Excellence and Joy

The lower school curriculum starts with children's natural curiosity and builds on it. Academic content is sequenced from one grade to the next, and curricular connections are made across subject areas when there is a natural overlap of skills, content, or concepts. 

Students have problems to solve, projects to build, mysteries to explain, and stories to tell. They acquire not only the fundamental skills of reading, writing, and mathematics, but also the critical and creative thinking skills that will keep them coming back to learn more! 

Kindergarten teachers with a line of students

A School Day Designed for Optimal Learning

Language arts, math, and social studies are taught in homeroom. Science, Spanish, art, music, PE, library, technology, and wellness classes are taught by specialist teachers in classrooms designed for those subjects. Teachers meet with students in whole grade, whole class, and half-class groups to provide the optimal learning environment for the subject that students are learning.

Citizen Scientists

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First graders have been studying the life cycle of the butterfly and participating in a citizen science project, sending data to Monarch Watch.

Specialist Class Schedule
Art (2x/week) half-class K & 4
Library (1x/week) half-class K & 4
Music (2x/week) half-class, K–4
Physical Education (4x/week)
Science (2x/week) half-class K & 4
Spanish (3x /week: Gr. K–3; 4x/week: Gr. 4) half-class K & 4
Technology/Computer Science (1x/week) half-class Gr. 4
Wellness Classes (1x/week)

The Learning Environment

Lower school students benefit from 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 makerspace, and a cafeteria. Teachers also take advantage of Maret’s location in Washington, DC, to get students out of the classroom and learning in the field.

A Closer Look at Life in Lower School

students dressed as fictional book characters
Building Community

Whether it’s an annual tradition, demonstration of academic or artistic achievement, an activity focused on community engagement, 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, sometimes including parents, guardians, and special friends.

Biographical Character Day, Environmental Spirit Week and Fun Run, Grade 4 Greek Musical, Publishing Party, and ROY G BIV Week are just a few of our lower school events.

family with author
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, when they present bound copies of their writing to parents, guardians, and special visitors.

Older student helping younger students release shad into Anacostia River
Buddy Programs

Upper school students mentor third graders in math as part of Maret’s Math Buddies program. Upper school students also 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. Middle School students also mentor students in Lower School, and the Reading Buddies program pairs different grades within the Lower School

As older students work with younger students, the younger students become more comfortable and confident in their skills. Both older and younger students gain new connections across the grades.

a group of students looking at king tut exhibition
Field Trips

When the nation’s capital is your campus, the opportunities for enrichment are endless! Maret’s lower school students enjoy exploring the city and beyond.

A Wider Circle, Adventure Theater, Black Hills Regional Park, National Portrait Gallery, Sandy Point State Park, Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, and Sugarloaf Mountain are just a few of our lower school destinations.

community lunch table
Family-Style Lunch

Lower schoolers rotate through tables so that they have the opportunity to eat with every student and teacher in the Lower School. During lunch they 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.

students with hands up waiting to ask questions
Lower School Culture Club

Culture Club is a popular after-school activity. Each session is led by a member of the Maret community who shares their cultural traditions through food, games, music, dance, crafts, and/ or other activities. The club’s members acknowledge and celebrate the differences among various cultures while also recognizing the aspects that connect us as people.

two students working a robotics program in after school program
After School

Maret’s After School program welcomes children kindergarten and up for an afternoon of supervised fun and relaxation. Third and fourth graders also participate in study hall Monday through Thursday. The After School program is a safe, comfortable, low-key option for families who need to pick up their children later in the day.

The After School program runs five days a week until 6:00 p.m.

Learn More

students in costume marching down at a parade
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, guardians, and grandparents. Lower schoolers are also treated to a lively carnival put on by our Middle School.

And This Is Just the Beginning!