Lower School

Learning and Growing in All Areas

In Lower School, we develop creative, independent thinkers who enjoy learning as they discover truths about themselves and the world around them. Our PreK3-4th grade program is the perfect balance of a classical education combined with technology, innovation, and cross-cultural literacy. In our bright, open spaces children are encouraged to problem-solve, take risks, and be creative as they learn and grow in all areas—intellectually, socially, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

Deedra LaPlace

Head of Lower School & Dean of Faculty

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Employed at Dunham since
Undergraduate Degree
Louisiana State University, 1987
Masters Degree
Louisiana State University, 1996
Doctorate Degree
Awards or Additional Certificates
Apple Teacher, 2016
Coaching/Club Responsibilities
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Deedra LaPlace
Head of Lower School & Dean of Faculty
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Lower School Curriculum

Students in all grades enjoy project- and inquiry-based learning in math, literacy, social and global studies, science, and Bible. Enrichment classes include Physical Education, Art, Music, Library/Media, and Spanish. As an Apple Distinguished School, students have instant access to technology, which is integrated throughout our Lower School and STEM curricula, as well as in our Innovation Lab.

Lower School Curriculum

Reading/Language Arts


Our balanced literacy program incorporates phonics, spelling, guided and self-selected reading, writing, and grammar. Writing is an integral part of the curriculum as early as PreK3. As students progress through Lower School, grammar is incorporated within the writing program, with a focus on grammatical concepts and sentence structure and composition. During weekly library/media time, students choose books and participate in the Accelerated Reader program. Older students hone their research skills through online databases and other web-based applications.



Learning math is an active endeavor in the Lower School as children move from the concrete to the abstract in skill development. In addition to mastering basic math facts, students work with hands-on manipulatives to add, subtract, sort, classify, measure, and estimate. Abstract learning experiences focus on thinking and reasoning quantitatively, spatially, and logically.



Our inquiry-based approach to science capitalizes on children’s innate curiosity about the world around them. In addition to studying life, physical, earth, and space science, students actively participate in the scientific process through hands-on experiments using lab equipment to measure and quantify observations. Students routinely engage in STEM challenges in the Innovation Lab, with coding and robotics as key elements of the curriculum.

Social Studies


Our social studies curriculum focuses on the nature of people and the world, the connection between the past and the present, and explorations of other cultures and customs, fostering the knowledge, attitudes, values, and skills necessary for active participation in a democratic society and providing opportunities for cross-cultural engagement at all grade levels.



Students study the Bible in the classroom with a daily reading, discussion, and prayer. The curriculum in the early grades focuses on God as the Creator. As they advance through Lower School, students systematically study the Bible, discovering the ways that God manifests Himself through Jesus Christ.



Our Lower School Spanish curriculum builds vocabulary and conversation skills through developmentally appropriate activities. PreK3-2nd grade units of study include colors, numbers, shapes, and animals. In 3rd and 4th grade, students increase their knowledge of vocabulary and grammar so that by the end of 4th grade they are able to translate paragraphs and formulate sentences.



PreK3-1st grade students are introduced to the basic elements of music through singing, playing Orff instruments, and movement. In 2nd-4th grade, students continue to explore music and by singing, playing various instruments, and directed composition, with a focus on gaining and applying practical knowledge of basic music theory and proper vocal production.



Strong creative expression in the visual arts begins in PreK3 and continues through 4th grade as students are introduced to the elements and principles of art through painting, drawing, clay, collage, and other media. Art history is incorporated into the curriculum through a study of famous artists and styles. Students also develop their own ideas about art by discussing individual and peer artwork.

Physical Education


The goal of the Lower School P.E. program is to provide students with the opportunity to develop body awareness and physical fitness, practice cooperation and teamwork, and understand how to make healthy eating choices. Students in all grades participate in games, free play, and creative movement.

Explore Dunham


Our PreK3-4th grade program is the perfect blend of a classical education combined with technology, innovation, and cross-cultural literacy.



Our 5th-8th grade program balances academics with athletics and arts in preparation for the rigor and expectations of Upper School.



Our high school program prepares students for success in college and career through academic rigor, athletics, arts, and leadership.



Our athletic program unleashes confidence and enables students to compete at the highest level - on and off of the field.



Outstanding theater, dance, visual arts, and music offerings inspire creativity, confidence, and a lifelong appreciation for the arts.



The Dunham experience rests upon a foundation of faith as we strive to educate our students' minds and hearts for Christ.


We can't wait to welcome you!