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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
Sunni Kitson

Ms. Kitson has been part of the Catherine Cook School since 2002. She earned a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education, while teaching in an independent school in Lighthouse Point, Florida. After moving to Chicago, she taught at a parochial school in Chicago before joining Catherine Cook. Throughout her career she has taught 2nd through 5th grades. She finds elementary education her calling as she believes each year is an immense year of growth for the students: socially, emotionally, and academically. Helping students foster their curiosity and love of learning is crucial during these years.

Over the course of her time at Catherine Cook, Ms. Kitson contributed to many school improvement committees, served as a teacher representative to the Board of Trustees, developed progress reports, designed curriculum, participated on hiring committees for faculty and administrators, and mentored new and developing teachers.

Ms. Kitson is a passionate educator and leader of student-centered pedagogies and social-emotional learning. She believes in communicating and collaborating with all levels of administration, faculty, parents, and students to ensure an optimum learning environment.