Organization, inspiration, and kindness are hallmarks of the lower school at St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s. Beginning in first grade and continuing each year, the program helps students to form the habits of good scholarship and citizenship.

One of the most important things that we can do is to help students understand that making mistakes is part of learning. I encourage them to experiment, to venture beyond their comfort zone, and the growth we experience together is amazing.

Bridget Lambert, Faculty since 2000

Second grade can be a challenging year emotionally and developmentally, so the curriculum is structured to bolster students’ knowledge and confidence. The faculty and I pay extra-close attention to our students at this age.

Virginia Connor, Head of School

An attentive girl in a lower school environment, sitting at a desk and engaged in her academic tasks

Lower School Opportunities

As learners, students grow in their ability to internalize routines and study habits. We introduce homework in first grade; age-appropriate assignments during the week are intended to gradually teach good study habits and reinforce what is learned in the classroom. Uniforms are required in first through eighth grades as a way of emphasizing our traditional curriculum and to assist children in developing the organizational skills necessary for successful learning.

Instruction combines whole class, small group, and individual learning experiences. Throughout the day, students enjoy special subjects such as science, greenhouse, world language (French, Mandarin Chinese, or Spanish), library, and music. Daily physical education class, outdoor recess, and Chapel ensure that body, mind, and spirit are nurtured and cared for each and every day.

Serving the global and local community continues to be a part of the curriculum as does practicing kindness in the classroom community. Field trips outside the school are planned to enhance the children's knowledge and curiosity. We believe that New York City and its surrounding communities provide unique resources for our students, and we utilize historic, cultural, and environmental sites on a frequent basis.