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Making the most of their elementary years

Small class sizes in our Lower School (Grades K-4) allow teachers to connect with each student personally, understanding their unique social, emotional, academic, and behavioral needs. Our elementary academic program sets the foundation for Upper School, ensuring a cohesive educational experience.

At Peck, we teach children how to learn by fostering academic skills and instilling habits of curiosity, problem-solving, and independent thinking.

Why K-4 at Peck?

Program Highlights

In addition to the day-to-day magic that happens at Peck, there are myriad programmatic highlights to your child's educational journey. Below is a sample of some of what makes a Peck education unique.




Peck is a place where kids can be happy—and where they can dream as big as their minds and hearts will allow.

Carlos Chabla, Past Parent


Lower School News

A student works up at the white board.
  • Academics
  • Lower School
  • Science & Design

As a part of the Peck second grade social studies curriculum, students learn about the indigenous people who inhabited the United States before it was colonized, starting in Alaska and moving their way across the land. They focus on themes like culture, climate, and family traditions.

Now in the Pacific Northwest region, one main area of focus during the lesson are the homes that indigenous people constructed to fit extended families, otherwise known as plank houses. As students studied these handmade homes, they brought their knowledge from their social studies class to their tech class with Lower School Technology, Innovation, & Design Integrator Jen Garvey to bring what they learned to life.

Using Peck’s Agency by Design thinking routine, students spent time looking closely at plank houses: highlighting and noticing their design features, build materials, and how they were constructed. Grouped into pairs, students worked together to design their very own plank houses, deciding on how the final product would look, and what classroom materials they would use.

With their designs drawn on paper, pairs used these blueprints to construct their 3D structures from popsicle sticks, paper towel rolls, hot glue, and other classroom materials.

“This process helped students thoughtfully plan their own designs before heading to the lab to build,” said Garvey. “Plank house project coincides nicely with the second grade essential question of ‘How does learning about myself and others help us connect?’” We thought about how our own houses might be designed based on where we live and the resources available.” 

  • LS
A teacher presents about growing up in New York state.
  • Academics
  • Faculty & Staff
  • Lower School

The Peck School third graders are making their way around the country without leaving their classroom!

As a part of the third-grade curriculum, students learn about the 50 U.S. states, region by region—a months-long journey that culminates in the springtime. Third Grade State Spectacular, where students each showcase their “adopted” state chosen in the fall.

As students travel throughout regions, faculty and staff who hail from that geographic area are invited to the third grade for a talk about their home state. It’s a valuable learning opportunity, especially for a student who adopted a state in that region—to hear all of the unique things about life in that state from a one-time resident.

Guest speakers share fun facts about the state while also sharing personal stories and pictures of their own experiences growing up in that area. These presentations are not only educational, but also foster personal connections between third-graders and Peck adults who aren’t their own homeroom teachers.

The third grade is currently studying the Northeast, and three Peck teachers volunteered to share their home state stories: Upper School Woodworking Teacher Mark Mortensen (Maine), Lower School Art Teacher Christine Walker (New York), and Upper School Science Teacher Tim Loveday (New Hampshire.)

As the year progresses and students study different regions, other faculty and staff are on board to share their stories from around the country—Director of Community Connections and Belonging Cymone Williamson (Michigan), Second Homeroom Teacher Erin Ceder (Kansas), and Upper School Math Teacher Laura Rose (Florida), to name just a few!

  • DEIB
  • LS
A student working at a desk.
  • Lower School
  • Science & Design

First-grade students were put to the test in a seasonal STEAM Challenge! With a limited set of materials, students designed and constructed their own unique pumpkins.

Their supplies included only two empty yogurt cups, orange painter’s tape, construction paper, and pipe cleaners. After putting their ideas down on paper—carefully drawing and labeling the creations they hoped to bring to life—they quickly realized the project’s limitations given their set of materials.

“In some cases, students could not execute what they had originally planned on paper with the fixed materials they had. They quickly realized that trial-and-error was all part of the process, and learned how to adapt and make changes as they worked,” said First Grade Homeroom Teacher Christa Nees.

Though each student started in the same place, with the same supplies—thirty-seven unique pumpkins came to life in the first-grade homerooms in a fun combination of engineering, design, and fall flair!

  • LS
A student holding the book "Charlotte's Web"
  • Academics
  • Character
  • Lower School

In celebration of Kairos Day–a Peck tradition– fourth graders found ways to intertwine The Peck School’s InDeCoRe values in their reading of E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web.

InDeCoRe, which stands for Individual Development and Community Responsibility, is the framework through which Peck teaches and lives its core values on a daily basis. The core values—care, courage, gratitude, resilience, respect, plus a sixth value designated by the graduating class, which this year is stewardship—are woven throughout the Peck experience and amplified on Kairos Days. 

Kairos Days (which occur three times per year) are days we find opportune moments to carve out additional time to consider and work towards the ideals implicit in our core values.

In a perfect example of taking the opportune moment, fourth-grade teachers prompted a discussion of what Peck's core values can be found in their classroom read, Charlotte’s Web. Students began class talking about the importance of our values to the overall community and then worked in small groups to find examples of these values in what they’ve read. After pulling textual evidence from the story and summarizing what had happened in Charlotte’s Web, students had plenty of examples of InDeCoRe Values to share with one another from the reading.

“Students came up with a lot of great examples of how the InDeCoRe Values show up in their everyday lives during our class discussion. By pushing them to identify these values in their reading of Charlotte’s Web, helps to further reinforce how they can find these values all around them– coming full circle on a day like Kairos Day,” says Fourth Grade Homeroom Teacher Chelsey Carr.

  • Character
  • LS

Nuts & Bolts

Lower School (K-4)