Lower School

Nurture, play, and discover the world around you.

All members of the Lower School community - parents, teachers, and administrators - are focused on providing students with an education that will prepare all students for the world in which they live, while still protecting the joy that they so rightly deserve. Within classrooms, interactions are respectful, compassionate and authentic. The academic environment is one in which students are supported by exceptional teachers, who create experiences which allow students to explore concepts and ideas, and create their own knowledge through curiosity, inquiry, stimulating engagement and collaboration.


Learning through play is integral to the PCDS experience

Opportunities to Explore

A well-rounded experience with engaging "specials"

Signature Experiences

Time-honored traditions in the Lower School

At a Glance


"specials" daily in 3rd Grade


4th grade field trips in 2017-18


PE classes each week in kindergarten


Jaki Ivins

Head of Lower School

To Ms. Ivins, having the opportunity to care for students and teachers is a privilege, and she aspires to make a difference in every life she touches.

Love and joy are what define, inform, and inspire Ms. Ivins’ work as an educator. Ms. Ivins particularly appreciates the remarkable joy in Lower School community meetings, which convene the Lower School group, as parents, students, and teachers all take a few moments to be together. She is inspired by the joyous moments of witnessing a child or a teacher’s "aha" moment. Those are the moments that take Ms. Ivins’ breath away.

Álvaro Otálora

Spanish Teacher

For Mr. Otálora, every day spent with his students brings a new joy and opportunity for learning. He enjoys children’s curiosity, energy, and thirst for learning anything that attracts their interest.

Mr. Otálora’s child-centered instructional philosophy is that the foreign language should be comprehensible, repetitive, and interesting. He uses a myriad of linguistics games as teaching tools because games make the learning for the children a very interesting process, enable students to acquire basic structures using very few words, and help them practice the most basic structures of the language. Through games, common words are used over and over, and students hear those common verbs and nouns so often that they begin to understand them immediately. After they begin understanding with confidence, they become able to speak the different tenses and conjugations.