Lower School


Whether our students are digging in the Village Garden and Outdoor Classroom and discovering grubs for the first time, designing bridges during family STEAM Nights, or chatting about the importance of being good citizens, the early education experts in Highland’s Lower School are teaching our students to think creatively.

We apply the latest teaching techniques to engage every student

We believe that a strong academic program tailored to the developmental needs of each child is the foundation of Highland's Lower School experience. Traditional classroom learning works in partnership with innovative methodologies designed to engage each student. We teach our youngest children to think, plan, and figure things out. We are creating real thinkers.

Using techniques such as Project Approach, Responsive Classroom, Eportfolios, LEGO Robotics leagues, STEAM activities, MakerSpace, and outdoor gardens, Highland’s Lower School is on the cutting edge of student-centered education. The world has progressed beyond the stage of memorizing random facts and standardized testing. Today, it is more a matter of how you find those facts and what you can do with them.

Our students are citizens of the world

Educating even our youngest children for the 21st century requires that we help them realize they are citizens of the world around them. Whether they are participating in assemblies during International Week, interacting with students from our sister school in Kenya, or hosting an international exchange student who attends our Middle or Upper Schools, Highland's Lower School students gain a sense that the world is bigger than their immediate surroundings while gaining a global awareness. 

Environmental education and conservation

Students learn to serve their school community by recycling in the classroom and picking up litter around campus. Conservation education permeates our curriculum in the Lower School. Whether visiting a local dairy farm on County Conservation Day or attending a local Education Farm, they learn about environmental education and conservation.

Our signature programs

You can learn more about some of our Lower School's signature programs and initiatives by clicking on any of the expanding boxes below:

List of 6 items.

  • Our teachers love their students

    Experienced, dedicated teachers are the heart of our Lower School
    At Highland, our teachers love their students. On average, our Lower School faculty has been at Highland for more than 15 years and they are constantly evolving to keep up with the needs and interests of their students. Our teachers are free to mold their lessons to the interests of the children and their questions, curiosity, and concerns. We also have dedicated learning specialists available in our Learning Center to help identify potential challenges–both academic and social–to help keep the students and their class on track.
  • We're proud of our LEED certified Lower School

    Our LEED-certified building creates a healthy environment for students
    The Lower School calls “home” a contemporary, LEED-certified building where bright colors, natural lighting, and numerous “green” features abound. The facilities provide not only a healthy environment but also a beautiful space in which students have the perfect opportunity for learning. We promote conservation of the air, soil, and water, and promote the recycling of plastic, aluminum and white paper through education. Recycle bins and compost collectors are evident everywhere. The compost is spread in the school’s gardens.
  • Community service is key to a complete education

    Community service in the Lower School
    Community service is another important component of a Highland Lower School education. Through the Director’s Council, students collect much-needed food and supplies for local charities such as the nearby food bank, emergency shelter, SPCA, Head Start or FISH. During the collection periods, students and faculty discuss the needs and deliver the collections to the charity. Other opportunities include Family Service Day every spring and voluntary contributions for Dig Pink, Finley’s Green Leap Forward and RoboHawks.
  • 'Responsive Classroom' Drives Daily Interaction

    Daily interaction is key to 'Responsive Classroom'
    With the philosophy that “When an entire school is infused with a sense of community, the effects of community building in classrooms are enhanced,” students are benefitting from the Lower School Responsive Classroom techniques. Not only do homeroom students gather each morning to greet each other and share ideas, but the entire Lower School gathers once a month for Chilton Chats in which they discuss citizenship and rules and apply the subjects to books they may be reading in the classroom or to real-life scenarios. An important component of the Responsive Classroom is getting parents involved in their students’ learning.
  • Our families are involved

    Parent involvement is critical
    Whether parents are invited to be guest readers at lunchtime, Parent Buddy readers during class, or participants in STEAM nights, families are encouraged to be active at Highland. For several years the Lower School has added an emphasis on learning experiences that integrate Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM). Using programs that transfer knowledge across the curriculum makes learning more relevant and fun. Lego, FOSS, MakerSpace, and EduDrone are only a few of the programs we use. Our youngest students are building circuits, designing bridges and launching rockets! And, parents get to help.
  • Our unique Village Garden and Outdoor Classroom

    Highland's classrooms are not limited by walls
    Our Village Garden and Outdoor Classroom outside the back of the Chilton Village allows faculty to extend more classroom study to the outdoors. Our Monarch butterfly garden is a great way for the children to experience firsthand what we are teaching in the classroom. They have opportunities to study in these non-traditional environments and participate in meaningful experiences while planting, observing, maintaining or crafting projects.


Highland School is a co-ed independent Pre-K2 to Grade 12 day school located in Warrenton, Virginia.