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Learn more about Lower School

Lower School

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 communicate and ask questions, cooperate with others, and listen carefully, which are skills that will prepare them for future success throughout school and in their lives.


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 has made the leap to total integration in each classroom with the purchase of more than 100 Apple MacBook computers. 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 blog, create podcasts, use flip cameras, and more, opening doors to a multitude of new ways for them to demonstrate their knowledge.

Lower School Blog

Did You Know?

100% of Shipley graduates attend college within a year of graduating
Learn more about Shipley’s College Counseling Program

25% of Shipley seniors received National Merit recognition in the past eight years
Learn more about Shipley’s College Counseling Program

J.D. Salinger honored his wife’s alma mater with a mention in his classic novel, The Catcher in the Rye. Learn more about Shipley Alumni

Oscar-winning director Erica Rehl ‘89 is a Shipley graduate Learn more about Shipley Alumni

100% of Lower School students have hands-on exposure to string, woodwind, and brass instruments. Learn more about Music at Shipley

300% of Middle and Upper School students participate in theater. Learn more about Theater Arts at Shipley

90% of Upper School students play an interscholastic sport. Learn more about Athletics at Shipley

75% of Upper School students compete at the varsity level. Learn more about Varsity Programs at Shipley

50+ colleges have recruited Shipley athletes in Divisions I, II, and III.

There are 15 students in each Lower School class on average. Learn more about Lower School

10 adults will know your elementary school (or LS depending) child as a learner and a person each year. Learn more about Lower School

5 is the average age of Shipley students doing their first research project in the Kindergarten Knights and Castles unit. Learn more about this project

100% of Lower School students have hands-on exposure to string, woodwind, and brass instruments. Learn more about Shipley’s E/LS music program

100% of Lower School students build a foundation for future success through our challenging curriculum. Learn more about Lower School curriculum

100% of Lower School students learn how to resolve conflicts, negotiate, present their point of view, and serve the community in our internationally recognized character education program. Learn more about Character Education

100% of students benefit academically AND socially from developing emotional literacy skills. Learn more about Shipley Core Values Curriculum

200 real-world capstone service learning projects completed by Shipley students each year. Think Care Act in 5th grade, a Leadership Project in 8th grade, and the Senior Service Project in 12th grade.

5 key content elements of the SEED curriculum Pre-K through 12th grade: Self-Awareness, Social Awareness, Self-Management and Organization, Responsible Decision Making, and Relationship Management. Learn more about Shipley Core Values Curriculum

Shipley Has:

6 music ensembles in each division.

5 theater productions in the Middle and Upper Schools annually.

A 7:1 student-to-teacher ratio

55 athletics championships in the past six years

225 Shipley colleagues trained in emotional intelligence strategies.

14,490 minutes of class time devoted to Shipley's core values curriculum Pre-K through Grade 12.

14 years of integrated core values curriculum offered to all students.

61% of teaching faculty with advanced degrees.

10 art courses offered in the Upper School

The only high school emotional intelligence course in partnership with Yale University offered in the country, right here at Shipley.

46 honors courses to challenge students

6 specials (music, art, science, PE, character education, and world language) enhancing Shipley’s core curriculum.

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, and their teachers work with them to set goals and determine action steps to achieve those goals. Together, they develop a classroom compact, which makes students feel respected and gives purpose to each unit of study; in addition, time is allocated each week to discuss conflict resolution and 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.

Beyond the Classroom: The Confidence to Explore

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 their interests and learn about the world around them. A few examples:

  • Exploring the World:
    • Shipley Lower School spearheads fundraising efforts and building relationships with students and teachers from the Brain Tree School in Uganda
    • 4th grade students spend a day in Lancaster County, visiting Amish produce and livestock auctions and a one-room school
  • 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
    • Drama Club: after school for 4th and 5th grade students
    • Learn more about after-school programs at www.shipleyschool.org/afterschoolprograms


The Shipley School

814 Yarrow Street, Bryn Mawr PA 19010
T: 610.525.4300 F: 610.525.5082
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