Lower School

Our Everyday

Every day in the Lower School is filled with eager and engaged students, inspiring teachers, the joy of learning, exploration and fun.


All Lower School students begin their day, Monday – Thursday, coming together in the peaceful and centering setting of Chapel. They enter the doors and are greeted by teachers and administrators and sit with their classmates and teacher. In the Episcopal tradition, they sing, learn from a daily homily, pray, reflect and start the day anew. All are welcome and encouraged to participate, and often other religious holidays and traditions are observed.
St. Margaret’s chaplains incorporate one of our six character words: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship, into the homily messages. There are times each month when homilies are delivered by other members of our professional community. Each Monday, our student leadership teams deliver video presentations including events for the week, character trait reminders, action steps toward the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and special announcements. Beginning in grade 3, students serve as acolytes, readers, and assist with the Chapel technology. It is just one of many leadership opportunities in the Lower School.

Classroom Time

Following Chapel, students return to the classroom where they take part in a classroom meeting to connect with their teachers, classmates and the day’s work ahead.  The daily schedule is purposefully designed for each grade level to allow for the right amount of consecutive classroom learning as well as breaks throughout the day in the form of snack, recess, lunch and special subject classes.
The morning consists of classroom instruction and possibly one of the seven special subject classes: art, computer science and engineering, digital literacy, spiritual practice, music, science and physical education. Students take a break for snack and play time. They participate in a number of outdoor activities during recess and lunch including:  basketball, handball, soccer, kickball, builder boards, oversized Legos and wooden blocks, tetherball, reading, or in the Exploration Zone complete with arts and crafts, board games and more.  We realize that students need a variety of options to choose from each day during their free time.
After recess, most students have a large block for math.  The Lower School uses the Everyday Math program including math fact fluency, computer games and extensions. 
Lunch is followed by another large consecutive block of time for English Language Arts instruction. Kindergarten through grade 5 reading instruction follows Columbia University’s Teachers College Reading and Writing Project. These are research-based, student-centered approaches to teaching life-long readers and writers.   

Interspersed into the daily schedule is the teaching of social and emotional learning in the form of class meetings as well as social sciences taught in thematic units throughout the school year.

Classroom Design

Lower School classrooms were completely remodeled in 2014, specially designed for young learners. Each classroom is equipped with moveable tables and chairs to foster quick reorganization of the classroom for different kinds of activities and instruction. A classroom can be set in rows facing the front of the classroom, grouped into tables for cooperative work, or even stacked within minutes for a completely open floor in which students can be seated on the carpet for a number of activities. Each classroom has custom designed cubbies or lockers to house student books, sweaters, supplies and personal items. In order to reduce distractions within the classrooms, each room has a ‘distraction free’ wall in which only the interactive white boards (Promethean) are present. All other items are purposefully beautifully displayed on the thematic bulletin boards around the room.
Students use laptops in grades K-2 and one-to-one Surface Tablets in grades 3-5, and classrooms are equipped with document cameras.

Pawsitive Tartans!

We are committed to the social, emotional and academic growth of each and every child.  In terms of social growth, we have adopted the nationwide Positive Behavior Support (PBS) system in which pro-social behavior is thoughtfully taught to each student.  Students participate in a “Passport Walk” twice a year.  It is during these times, that expected behaviors in the classroom, Chapel, outdoors, on the bus, etc., are reinforced.  Students are recognized with PAWsitives whenever they are seen doing the right thing, which is often and all over!  They are then able to redeem these PAWsitives for special privileges throughout the year.

Lower School News

List of 3 news stories.

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An Independent Preschool Through Grade 12 College-Preparatory Day School in Orange County California

Non-Discrimination Policy
St. Margaret's Episcopal School does not discriminate on the basis of gender, race, color, religion, sexual orientation or national and ethnic origin in the administration of its educational, admission, financial aid, hiring and athletic policies or in other school-administered programs.