The Lower School · Pre-Kindergarten–Grade 7
Housed mainly in our original building, Ellis Hall, which is named for our first teacher, Margaret “Billie” Northcross Ellis, children in the Lower School are encouraged to explore and revel in their own talents, even as they are made increasingly aware of their relationship and responsibility to their peers, their teachers, and their families. To that end, faculty in the Lower School work closely with parents to set appropriate and reasonable expectations and to provide support that fosters excellence, achievement and, at each step—from age 3 through fifth grade—the confidence needed to succeed.
The Junior Kindergarten through Kindergarten classes include a modified Montessori curriculum designed to progress through four levels: Junior Kindergarten (JK3, JK4, JK5) and Kindergarten. The program first develops language, math, social and emotional readiness skills in a nurturing, half-day setting, while in the second year, students begin to develop handwriting, letter recognition and seat work while incorporating literature, dramatic play, arts and crafts, cooking activities, and hands-on science experiments.
All students in Junior Kindergarten programs through fifth grade have daily Spanish and P.E., and they rotate through “specials” including Art, Library, and Music during the week. Once in grade school, a more structured curriculum begins to take form in which students' language and math abilities are challenged and developed. For those students who need specialized instruction due to a diagnosed learning disability, the CrossWalk Program is an on-campus, "school within a school" where students meet with specially trained Orton-Gillingham instructors during the school day for remediation instruction. The Singapore Math curriculum focuses on teaching students to visualize quantities and to 'see' numbers as moveable parts within an equation.
Lower School Division Director Victor Lamas
Upper School AP World History Teacher
Washington and Lee University—B.A.
University of Virginia—M.A.
Morris Award 2014
Two-time recipient of The Roanoker's “Most Inspiring Teacher” Platinum Award (2016, 2017)
With entrance into the sixth grade and Eaton Hall, students are introduced to more responsibility, more opportunity, and with that, more is required of their time-management skills. Students move into Eaton Hall where they have their own lockers and schedules to keep track of. By promoting scholarship, honor, integrity, and community responsibility, as well as providing an environment in which the students’ best interests are at the heart of every decision, Eaton Hall has an immediate goal of preparing students for the academic demands of the Upper School.
Collecting toiletries for a local shelter may be an odd way to foster camaraderie, but Eaton Hall's intramural advisory teams do just that. Each day faculty advisors meet with their respective groups to welcome students to school, update them on school matters, or, on a good day, issue an intramural challenge. Groups compete, points are tallied, and privileges are won—such as a cherished ‘jeans day.’ Sixth and seventh graders attend dances, participate in team sports (no tryouts required), and audition for the spring musical. At the end of each term, high-achieving students and athletes receive honor certificates and awards in front of their peers during a special assembly. Spectators revel in the sheer number of students who have worked hard enough to earn the honor of walking onto the stage to shake the Head of School’s hand and receive recognition.
Eaton Hall Dean of Students
Eaton Hall English, No Ceilings Program
University of Virginia—B.A.
University of Virginia—M.Ed.
Students work in small groups, organized by skill level, in which they rotate through stations of reading, writing and word recognition. As students progress through the fourth and fifth grades, their classes take them beyond their “home room” to specialize study in science, math and social studies, introducing them to what life will look like in Middle School. For specialized information on different levels in the Lower School, click the links below.
- North Cross offers an after-school enrichment program called Opening Doors for students from Junior Kindergarten through fifth grade. Classes are offered all three trimesters, meet different days once per week, and include: Gymnastics, Soccer, Bricks4Kidz, and Dance. Cost for each class varies but each costs around $100 per trimester. Course offerings are emailed to eligible parents each trimester.
- For those families who need care after the school day ends, the Lower School also offers Extended Day options until 6:00pm each day. Download details and a price guide.
- Students in 6th and 7th Grades have the option to participate in Study Hall after school, which allows them to seek additional help from teachers at the end of the school day. For those students not participating in after-school sports, it also offers a quiet space to start their homework while waiting for a ride.