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Lower School

Grades 1 – 4

The 1st-4th Grade years of a child’s life are a magical time when their sense of awareness of the world - and all the world’s potential - continues to develop. Students move from being concrete thinkers to incorporating more conceptual and abstract thinking strategies. Socially, Lower School students open up to new possibilities through friendships and collaborative partnerships.

Our dedicated and talented teachers provide opportunities for students to explore the world through hands-on activities. They engage in authentic literary, mathematical, scientific, and research experiences within and beyond the walls of the school. Our teachers value building empathy and celebrating diversity in our students and in other communities as they thread issues of difference into classwork.

Our students are given space and time to reflect on their efforts and accomplishments, and to collaborate with their peers. We integrate technology to support student inquiry and collaboration beyond the classroom, encouraging them to become confident, lifelong learners.


Head of Lower School
Kathy Gilmore

Before serving as Head of Lower School, Kathy Gilmore was Coordinator of Lower School Program and Teacher Assistants at Cook. For six years, Ms. Gilmore has helped develop Lower School divisional programs, professional development, and provided supervision/leadership of the teacher assistants. She co-led the Strategic Planning process to help develop the 2022 Strategic Plan. She is also a SEED facilitator and co-leader for the Lower School Students of Color affinity group.

Ms. Gilmore received her Master of Education in School Administration from North Park University and has her LBS1 (Learning Behavior Specialist 1) endorsement. This specialty includes teaching students with a wide range of learning differences, ages 5–21, in several instructional delivery models that include teaching in inclusionary settings through consultation and collaborative teaching. She also holds a Master of Arts in Elementary Education and a Bachelor of Science in Recreation, Sport, and Tourism. Prior to her time at Cook, Ms. Gilmore taught Preschool through 2nd grade as well as Physical Education in San Diego and the Chicago north suburbs. She brings 15 years of experience in the field of education.