Lower School

PK 3 - Grade 4

As a top Michigan private preschool and elementary school, the Detroit Country Day Lower School program fosters the social and emotional growth of children in preschool through Grade 4 in an environment that intertwines academics and enrichment activities. We emphasize a developmental approach to learning that encourages students to make discoveries on their own and allows teachers to tailor instruction to each child’s needs. Academic learning is enhanced by assemblies, community visitors, field trips, project work, guided play and hands-on learning experiences. Our dedicated faculty give students the confidence to master basic skills and progress to higher levels of learning. An integrated curriculum using our EPIIC (experiential, participatory, image-rich, interdisciplinary, and connected) approach helps students understand relationships between disciplines and apply what they have learned in new situations.

Class Specialization

reading and math groups

Kindergarten through Grade 4 students are placed into individualized reading and math levels to receive personalized attention. Each grade has five levels.


Specialized areas for project-Based learning

Our school has a Tinker Lab, a Wet Lab, and a Makerspace for ingenuity, problem solving, and creativity to flourish.

Character Houses

Houses of character 

Our House Program augments the school community and focuses on character building exercises for responsibility, empathy, integrity, loyalty, and respect. 

Closed captioning can be turned off by hovering over the bottom right corner and tapping on the CC icon and selecting "none."

We want to make sure that we are constantly tapping into the abilities of the children and their interests and then we build from there.
~ Jennifer Bullock, Lower School Director

Curriculum Profile

Academic Curriculum

Classroom teachers teach math, reading, and social studies. Other topics are taught by teachers who specialize in that subject area.

Reading Groups

Preschool through Junior Kindergarten learn language and reading through the integration of storytelling, poetry, finger play, music, dictation, and dramatic play. There is also a progression in the exposure to text, writing skills, vocabulary, and phonetics.
Starting in Kindergarten, students are assessed in the fall and spring to determine their independent and instructional reading levels to be placed in small reading groups for more personalized attention with the goal of consistent growth in literacy and writing skills.

Math Groups

Preschool through Kindergarten learn through a variety of age appropriate hands-on experiences and challenges. Each school year builds on the concepts introduced in the previous school year helping to develop logical and deductive reasoning skills.
Starting in Grade 1, students are given a diagnostic mathematics test to determine their readiness to receive instruction on various levels of math concepts. The are smaller and more personalized in order to provide individual attention with the goal of consistent growth in computational and problem-solving skills.


The Lower School science program is a spirally developed curriculum that is activity-based and incorporates topical or thematic units from life, physical, and earth science. Students are engaged in hands-on, minds-on activities as the progression of analyzing and integrating scientific concepts as well as the scientific method are developed and the love for science is nurtured.

Social Studies

The social studies curriculum in the Lower School moves from teaching students to have a positive self-concept and awareness of the world in which they live to their relationships to their family and their community to the seven strands of social studies: history, economics, geography, citizenship, culture, technology and social studies skills. From Grade 1 through Grade 4 these seven strands are built upon and explored more deeply with each year of maturity.

World Language

In the Lower School, our language specialists sing, move and play with this age group while using props, visual aids, puppets, stories and music. Cultural studies foster an understanding of people of the world and develop positive attitudes toward linguistic and lifestyle differences. This aids students in increasing their sensitivity and understanding of customs and traditions of others, which in turn helps students develop a global perspective. The French language is the primary language taught in the Lower School but there is also an opportunity to take Spanish in our PM program.
Lower School PE

Specialty Curriculum

Students receive focused instruction in the areas of music, physical education, arts, and specialty science courses by faculty who specialize in the field.

Computer Science

The goal of computer applications in the Lower School is to introduce fundamental computer skills to our students. Children receive regular instruction from a computer specialist in collaboration with the homeroom teachers. Specific computer skills are taught and new software is introduced. Students use iPads for visual presentations. Additionally, age-appropriate websites are used to supplement curriculum. 

Health Education

Our youngest students are taught lessons on how to keep themselves healthy such as proper hand-washing and germ prevention. They learn about health professions such as doctors, nurses, and dentists. Proper dental care, nutrition, and the importance of sleep and exercise are discussed. Progression to identification and labeling of the human body and body systems, discussing emotions, and the qualities of a good friend, respect for others, and other health related topics are covered with the upper elementary students. Lessons begin in PK3 and continue throughout the grades, building on what has been learned in previous years.

Performing Arts

Our elementary students are exposed to a wide variety of topics and basic elements consistent with the National Standards of Music Education. The foundation of the elementary general music program is derived from research-based teaching methods such as Gordon Music Learning Theory and Orff Schulwerk. Through these methods students will learn melody, rhythm, form, harmony, timbre, vocal technique, expressive qualities, and movement.

Classroom Activities

  • Keyboard exercises
  • Playing string instuments
  • Vocal sound exploration
  • Movement to music
  • Listening games

Extra Music Activities

  • Strings instruments K - Grade 4
  • Band - Grades 4
  • Choir Grade 4
  • Recorder Ensemble - Grades 3 & 4
  • Vocal/General music - all grades

Physical Education

The school motto, Mens Sana In Corpore Sano (A Sound Mind in a Sound Body)is the cornerstone of the Lower School physical education program. The hallmark of this approach is a nurturing, non-competitive learning environment that allows students to experience the joy of efficient movement in a non-threatening setting. Students are able to explore a wide range of activities that encourage the development of gross motor coordination, visual motor coordination, muscle strength, endurance and social skills.

Visual Arts

In a supportive environment, students learn to be perceptive, flexible and creative while also learning the vocabulary and concepts associated with different types of work in visual arts.

Early Elementary Focus

  • Developing fine motor skills
  • Art vocabulary and awareness
  • Exploration of 2D and 3D media using a variety of mediums
  • Study of age-appropriate artists

Upper Elementary Focus

  • Exploration of art methods and materials
  • Expand art vocabulary
  • Learn elements and principles of design
  • Technology integration
  • Art history
  • Interdisciplanary Units where projects are cross-curricular

Curriculum Extras and Support

Curricular support and learning opportunities outside the classroom.

Beyond the Bell

Beyond The Bell is an after school program designed to provide supervision and activities for children who need to remain at school for an extended time beyond the normal school day. The program runs from 3:10 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. each day and includes a snack. Parents may pre-register or arrange attendance through the office in writing or by phone. An hourly fee is charged, with a one-hour minimum. Additional time will be charged by the half-hour. There is a late pick-up fee charged after 6:00 p.m. Beyond The Bell fees will be included in monthly statements.

House Program

In Grades 2-4, the House Program is designed to reinforce character by offering students the opportunity to show their concern and empathy for others. House activities underscore the mottos of the five Houses: Loyalty, Integrity, Responsibility, Empathy and Respect. Students participate in service projects that benefit their school and community.

Students get to know other students from the other grade levels during House Meetings, grade-level House Lunches, student activities, and Field Day. They remain members of the same House from year-to-year while at the school. Fourth grade students have leadership opportunities to mentor younger students. With support from both faculty and parents, the House Program serves as a platform for service, character initiatives, and school spirit.

Learning Support and Tutorials

Lower School teachers provide individualized assistance, as needed during the day and before and after school.

Library Services

Our Values

  We believe...
  • that intellectual freedom is a fundamental right for all
  • that literacy is an essential skill across all platforms and disciplines
  • that reading for personal information and enjoyment leads to lifelong learning
  • that respect for intellectual and creative property is everyone's responsibility
Our Mission
Teach, Inspire, Explore
The Lower School library support the reading, information, and research needs of all students PK3 - Grade 4 with a diverse collection of print and digital formats. Age-appropriate instruction and information literacy skills are taught at each grade level, and studetns often leverage technology to accomplish tasks.

PM Enrichment

After school enrichment courses free of charge offered to students in Grades 1 - 4. 

The class offerings vary from session to session. There are three nine-week sessions which meet during the fall, winter, and spring Tuesday through Friday from 3:00 - 4:00 p.m. Registration slips are sent home one week prior to the start of a session and are honored on a first-come, first-served basis and space availabilty.
Other options for after school programming are:
  • Junior Jackets Sports Program
  • Beyond the Bell Program
Both of these programs do require additional fees. Beyond the Bell runs until 6:00 p.m. and snacks are provided to the students.
Two girls programming a motorized robot

Sample menu is September 2019 Grades K-2

Sample schedules

Sample schedules are currently being revised. We'll have them linked soon!

The goals of the Lower School are to develop:

  • A well-rounded child with an enthusiasm for learning to their best ability
  • Self-esteem and self-respect
  • Mutual respect and appreciation of others
  • Social, physical, and intellectual awareness
  • A mentally resourceful child who demonstrates the physical confidence and skills to make the successful transition into any competitive sport or dance program
  • An awareness of health and safety principles
  • A confident child with a sense of independence, accountability, and leadership abilities in the pre-adolescent child
  • An appreciation of social responsibility and self-discipline
  • A well-adjusted child through programs for intellectual, social, psychological, and physical growth