Lower School

Readiness first. Norfolk Academy in time.
Our first-grade entry point often surprises parents of younger children. Why not pre-k, or kindergarten?

At Norfolk Academy, the answer relates directly to our overall philosophy that all good things come to fruition in time.

Because we care deeply about the stages of childhood development during the elementary school years, we don’t take students before they’re ready to learn, live, contribute, and thrive within our campus community. That means we start with first graders, whose attention spans and curiosities, developmental milestones and capabilities our teachers know inside and out.

We also teach students in single-sex classrooms through fourth grade. After our students’ first four years of immersion within the Norfolk Academy community, where they explore, learn, and take risks among their counterparts of the same sex, we bring the boys and girls together for dynamic new co-ed classes. Our structure lets both boys and girls come into their own as they adjust to the rhythms of school, and transitions them at the perfect time.

And finally, sixth grade often gets bumped up to Middle School—but not at Norfolk Academy. We see clear benefits of using this year to cap the Lower School experience. Our sixth graders enjoy the glassed-off “mini quad”—a space to exercise more freedom and concentrate more deeply—and we open up a full spectrum of opportunities for our students to take charge and lead their younger counterparts.

As you can see, our Lower School isn’t quite like most other elementary schools. Intentionally so.