An 8th grade students works on a project with the help of a faculty member.

Lower School

Grades JK-5 at a Glance


We pride ourselves on our engaging and challenging curriculum that helps children see the world through multiple lenses and understand the needs of others.

This plants the seed for a lifelong love of learning and compassion, embodying our school’s motto, “Live and Serve.” At North Shore Country Day, students not only develop their character but also build a solid academic foundation in the lower school. Small-group instruction in reading, language arts, mathematics and lab science allows each child to participate fully. Independent and cooperative group projects stress organizational and study skills. Our students learn to speak up and advocate for themselves. They also become comfortable speaking to their class and even in front of the whole school.

Core Homeroom Curriculum

Our lower school is a one-section program in junior kindergarten, senior kindergarten and first grade with two co-lead teachers and a shared assistant teacher. In second through fourth grade, we have a two-section model, and in fifth grade, a third section is added. The following subjects are taught in homeroom:

Literacy and Writing

The program is structured for students to read in small groups and receive individual attention. This curriculum emphasizes the development of grammar skills as well as the communication of concepts and ideas.


Math is taught based on the enVision Common Core math program—an intensive introduction to mathematical concepts, computation and problem solving, supported by other challenging mathematical materials. 

Social Studies

Students learn about different cultures and historic events in project-based and interdisciplinary teaching models. The importance of research and source evaluation is also emphasized in the older grades. 


Special classes, in coordination with homeroom instruction, ensure a range of experiences that help to drive the learning process. Students have two to three of the following specials per six-day cycle:

Alumni Chats with Sebastien B. '32 & Cy Oelerich '89

In this episode, they share their favorite ice cream flavors, reflect on what it means to be an Iron Raider, and challenge each other in a breath-holding contest! 

Behind the Scenes of Lower School STEAM

From designing mind-blowing electronic musical instruments to coding and wiring them to play, watch as our talented young creators are empowered to explore their limitless potential. 

Meet the Head of Lower School

Tim Sheehan came to North Shore Country Day in 2015 as the head of lower school, then in 2021, expanded his responsibilities to oversee the middle school as well. He holds a B.A. and M.Ed. from DePaul University, and an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania. Previously, he worked at Latin School of Chicago, where he taught fourth grade and served as curriculum coordinator, co-director of the lower school assistant teacher program and coordinator of the after-school program.

Have more questions about Lower School? We are here to help!


First Name
Last Name

Tim Sheehan
Head of Lower School