At Shipley, we believe that students begin to discover the joy of learning at an early age. That’s why we have a Lower School program that provides a strong academic foundation, teaching students as young as pre-K to think critically about the world around them while encouraging them to explore their interests and creativity.

Our curriculum sets the stage for students to acquire the skills to be effective and engaged learners. They learn to analyze, synthesize and think critically, to listen carefully and ask questions, to appreciate diverse perspectives, and to cooperate and collaborate with others. These are the foundational skills that will prepare them for future success throughout school and in their lives beyond.


The Lower School curriculum balances rigorous academics with arts and athletics along a carefully designed, developmentally appropriate continuum. Even at a young age, we believe students can be analytical about a variety of disciplines, and the breadth of our curriculum sets our Lower School apart from others. It stresses the importance of play in learning social skills, and builds the academic, emotional, and physical skills necessary to set the foundation for independent and balanced learning throughout their years at Shipley. Visit the Lower School curriculum page to learn more.

An Apple a Day

Technology in the Lower School is totally integrated into each classroom. We use IPads in PreK through 1st grade and MacBook Airs in 2nd through 5th grades, with students in fourth and fifth grade each assigned their own laptop. We believe learning can happen anytime and anywhere, which is why we have replaced separate computer classes with a technology facilitator who works alongside the classroom teacher.

This collaboration between technology facilitator and teachers allows for an even more differentiated, individualized approach, one where technology can flow seamlessly throughout the curriculum. Students learn to use Google Apps for Education, digital photography and video, to blog, to do research and to connect with others via the Internet. They are also introduced to coding, opening doors to a multitude of new ways for them to learn, demonstrate and share their knowledge.

Character Education: Deeply Rooted Learning

A Shipley education is not just about academic success—it is about learning how to be your best self, and having the self-awareness to discover what character traits it takes to do your best work. We believe that this self-awareness and development of ethics and character begins as early as pre-K, which is why our Character Education program is fully integrated into every classroom.

In the Lower School, students are learning to be independent as their teachers work with them to set goals and determine action steps to achieve those goals. Each classroom develops a compact, which makes students feel respected and bonds the classroom community together through a shared sense of responsibility. Time is allocated each week to discuss conflict resolution and to develop empathy and communication skills.

Through this holistic view of social and emotional learning that empowers academic learning, Character Education is a thread that is carried through every class, and prepares students to be confident learners and friends in the Middle School years to come. Learn more about Think, Care, Act, Character Education’s capstone project.
At Shipley, learning continues even after the school day is over, and our breadth of programs and activities gives our students the opportunity to discover and pursue their interests, and to learn about the world around them. A few examples:

Exploring the World
  • Shipley Lower School supports its sister school, The Brain Tree School in Uganda.Students spearhead fundraising efforts while building relationships with students and teachers.
  • 4th grade students spend a day in Lancaster County, visiting Amish produce and livestock auctions and a one-room schoolhouse where they share and compare their culture, lives, and experiences.

Beyond the School Day
  • Later Gator after-school program, daily from 3:00-5:45pm
  • Encore Clubs: chess, sewing, cooking, and fencing after school
  • Private music lessons: before and after school, as well as during lunch or lunch recess
  • Learn more about Shipley's after-school programs

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Lower School News

The Shipley School is a private, coeducational day school for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students, located in Bryn Mawr, PA. Through our commitment to educational excellence, we develop within each student a love of learning and a desire for compassionate participation in the world.