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Lower School

Three Lower School students working with a teacher at a table in a world language class

Providing a unique student experience

While play still occupies a formative role - especially in Kindergarten - it’s gradually replaced with carefully designed active-learning projects that students execute increasingly on their own.

We enrich the abilities and consciousness of Kindergarten to 4th grade students through our curriculum, teaching approach and learning goals. 

During Lower School we introduce students to a Learning Plan, which motivates them to take charge of their goals and achievements. We hold parent-attended Learning Plan conferences in the spring and fall, and beginning in 3rd grade, students play an active part in planning them.

By the time they finish 4th grade, students are acquainted with the foundations of the academic process. They enter Middle School equipped with the self-confidence, curiosity, and know-how to take on increasingly sophisticated work.

“EA enabled my son to bring all of his talents and strengths to the surface. I am not sure that would have happened at a public school.”

Current EA Parent

Michelle Matalone

Lower School Director

"As the Early Childhood and Lower School Director at Elgin Academy,  I am committed to providing a child-centered learning experience that is unique and individualized. I believe in fostering a nurturing environment where children can flourish and grow, not just academically but also, emotionally and socially. Together, we create a place where curiosity is celebrated, kindness is paramount, and learning becomes an adventure that lasts a lifetime." 
- Michelle Matalone

Meet Our Lower School Faculty & Staff

“We found some wonderful teachers who were caring, engaging, and personalized. You know those once-in-a-lifetime teachers you get? At EA, we got them multiple times.”

Parent of an EA Graduate

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Lisa Gallery

Lisa Gallery

Kindergarten Teacher
BA, St. Mary's College

I am excited to be a part of the creative and caring community here at EA. In kindergarten I love learning every day along with my students.
-Lisa Gallery

Heidi Hamilton

Heidi Hamilton

Lower School PE, Extended Day Coordinator
M Ed, University of Minnesota
BS, University of Minnesota

My hope is that my students will understand the importance of life-long physical activity and fitness. I want my students to enjoy participating in physical activities in the hopes that they will be life-long participants.
- Heidi Hamilton

Amy Maly

Amy Maly

Early Childhood Teacher
BS, Illinois State University

Each day I commit to challenging the children to grow and do so in a fashion that considers where each child is developmentally. By personalizing my interactions and facilitating opportunities for that growth to take place, I am delighted when they emerge into the young person that exemplifies their "true self".
-Amy Maly

Kiana McDarrah

Kiana McDarrah

Early Childhood Assistant
BA, Thomas Edison State University

Working with our youngest learners is a great joy and a chance to see the world through the passionate and creative eyes of a child. Each day at Elgin Academy, I strive to help our students reach their full potential, meeting where each child is developmentally to assist in creating memorable learning opportunities that will grow into a lifelong love of learning.
-Kiana McDarrah