Lower School

North Shore’s Lower School introduces children to a love of learning while building a solid academic foundation. Our children are known, valued and stretched academically and explore ideas and learn from each other, all within a safe and nurturing environment. Our Lower School is distinguished by its creative and innovative curriculum where each child’s growth is understood and fostered.

Small-group instruction in reading, language arts, mathematics and lab science allows for the full participation of each child. Independent and cooperative group projects stress organizational and study skills. Classes in art, computers, music, reading, science, Spanish and physical education round out a stimulating and invigorating schedule that encourages independent inquiry, group-project skills and fun.


List of 5 items.

  • First

    In 1st grade, students continue to build upon the fundamentals and to develop the lifelong love of learning engendered in Kindergarten. Social studies provides the background that makes reading, writing and math come alive. Science, music, art and Spanish are also integrated into the curriculum, providing students with a well-rounded introduction into subjects and activities that continue to stimulate their intellectual, physical, social and emotional development.
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  • Second

    The 2nd grade reading/language arts program strives to build the students’ reading skills and allow them to explore their interests.  Students read for pleasure independently and also participate daily in small, theme-based reading groups. Daily oral language exercises solidify students’ mechanical and grammatical skills, while journaling, directed- and free-writing times provide additional opportunities for students to develop writing skills and share their creative work.
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  • Third

    Third grade is the transition year between the lower and upper elementary grades. Homework is a regular feature and work in all academic areas intensifies. The social and emotional growth of each child comprises an integral part of the curriculum, as do opportunities for self-expression and group participation.
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  • Fourth

    The 4th grade language arts curriculum hones students’ reading, writing, speaking, and listening skills.  Reading and discussing various literary genres both as a class and in small reading groups provides students with a rich literary background with which to model their own writing.  Composition is approached as a process where student journal, produce drafts, and conference with peers and with the teacher before using the computer to publish their pieces. Whether writing poetry, fables, persuasive letters, or fiction, fourth graders are given the opportunity to make decisions like authors.
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  • Fifth

    Fifth graders expand and integrate skills and knowledge learned in the lower grades. They develop an openness to learning and a willingness to consider new ideas. In independent work as well as in cooperative groups, the emphasis is on language arts, math, science and social studies concepts and strategies needed for the successful transition to Middle School. An emphasis on reading and writing throughout the curriculum make connections among those content areas. Students use their writing skills daily. Quality literature is the basis of the reading program. Group discussions and projects extend the literature into meaningful learning experiences and develop critical-thinking skills.
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Tim Sheehan
Lower School Head

North Shore Country Day School is a junior kindergarten through 12th grade, college-preparatory school founded in Winnetka, Illinois in 1919.  With rigorous academic pursuit as the cornerstone, North Shore provides many opportunities for all students to excel – in the classroom and the laboratory, on the stage and the playing field, in their communities and beyond.