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Lower School

Finding Your Way, Guided by Curiosity

As your child enters 4th grade, they have begun to notice the larger world of happenings and possibilities that exists beyond their daily experience.

We recognize that this is a crucial time to foster that curiosity and yearning for specialized knowledge while laying the bricks of a foundational education. Woodward's Lower School teachers prioritize your student's spirit of inquiry while making sure they learn the critical skills that will serve them in the years ahead and explore the interests that truly bring them joy. We guide them through this period of exploration and change, imbuing them with respect for and curiosity about others' differences. And at Woodward this stage continues through 6th grade, affording students extra time to acquire the tools that will facilitate their physiological, emotional, and social transition to Middle School.

Respecting ourselves, each other, our school and our world is the Woodward Way.

Academics

Students in 4th-6th grade are still mastering some of the basics while also taking their first steps toward more complex ideas and interests that will become lifelong passions. Woodward’s Lower School rises to meet those dual needs by providing your student with a challenging but adaptable curriculum where they have the freedom to learn as much from mistakes as they do from successes.

Learn more about Academics at the Lower School

 

STEAM

The Lower School’s cross-curricular STEAM opportunities are designed as a natural progression from concepts introduced in the Primary School. The curriculum includes two days of designated STEAM class time per seven-day class rotation, as well as the opportunity to engage in a variety of STEAM activities in core subjects through project-based STEAM and Maker projects. Fourth graders spend much of their year focused on learning the building blocks of coding in fun and engaging ways with a mixture of unplugged and hands-on activities. Fifth graders then apply those coding concepts to engineering challenges. Our 6th grade students round out their STEAM knowledge by using 3D printing to tackle design challenges. Your child also can participate in Robotics Club after school and Coding Club and Maker Club during recess.

 

Respecting Ourselves & Others

With a view of the wider world comes a greater capacity for empathy and for understanding of perspectives beyond our own. As part of one of the most diverse campus populations in metro Atlanta, your Lower School student will feel at home and supported while sharing experiences and building friendships with students from a range of racial, ethnic, religious, and geographic backgrounds.

 

Cocurriculars

Be it Animation Club, Handbells, or Yoga Club, Woodward’s widely varied cocurricular offerings ensure plenty of opportunities for your Lower School student to feel included and engaged. Your child will enjoy the opportunity to spend time with their classmates in after school activities, learning new things while having fun, while you benefit from the convenience and peace of mind of having school and activities in one place.

Explore our full range of cocurricular opportunities

PS students playing an instrument

Arts 

Regardless of their chosen form of expression, your Lower School student will have ample opportunity to develop their inner artist. Those who express themselves through music have access to orchestra, band, chorus, and dance ensembles, including more specialized groups like handbell choir and fiddle club. All Lower School students are exposed to the full range of visual arts. Your student will rotate through 12 weeks of 2D art (painting and drawing), 12 weeks of 3D art (ceramics, papier-mâché, etc.), and 12 weeks of digital art and photography. This provides your student ample opportunity to discern their affinity for the visual arts and, if so, their preferred medium.

P.E. & Athletics

Physical Education is an important part of our Lower School curriculum, and we offer a dance program as an option. Available intramural sports include basketball, cheerleading, cross country/track, flag football, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, volleyball, and wrestling.

 

 

Transition Learning Support Program

Our strength is our diversity, and that includes differences in learning styles. The Transition Learning Support Program offers the same curriculum as grade-level peers, but with more specialized instruction in smaller classes, to bright, creative students with challenges in reading (dyslexia), written expression (dysgraphia), math (dyscalculia), language, areas of processing, executive function, or attention. Learners with a specific diagnosis from a private or school psychologist can join our Transition classrooms in 4th, 5th, and 6th grades. Experienced, specialized teachers will give students the tools and strategies to convert different learning challenges into confidence, social and emotional stability, and academic success.

Learn more about our Transition Learning Support Program.

 

“I learn a lot more than I did at my old school. At my old school I didn’t always have the best experiences even though I had good friends. At Woodward they really show off what I have. They show off what everybody has. They don’t keep you in the dark. They have a lot of opportunities that some other schools don’t have. It opens up a lot of doors for kids who don’t get those doors sometimes.
And the lunch is really good!”
Lower School Student

FAQs

Our Stories

Hear from our students about finding their Woodward Way.

Sebastian is just starting out on his Woodward journey, but he's already got big plans.

Class of 2034 - Primary School

Sebastian

Class of 2034 - Primary School

Sebastian Issa is just starting out on his Woodward journey, but he's already got big plans. The kindergartener wants to make a robot that can do all his chores.

From his friends to his teachers to his bus driver, Sebastian loves the people who surround him at Woodward. And, if you walk the halls with him, you’ll see he is loved in return as so many students (even third graders!) greet him by name. “I feel great about my teachers,” Sebastian said. “I have two teachers, Mrs. Mathis and Mrs. Sweatman. They do so much for us. And I love my bus driver.”

So, what does Sebastian like best about school? “My favorite thing is Collaboratory. It’s cool! We had to draw a picture, and then we had to make it for real.” He also loves going to recess to play and making things in the classroom. “And art because you paint and make stuff. Also music. You use drums a lot, and we’ll do guitars in first grade.”

Overall, does Sebastian think Woodward is the school for him? “Definitely, yes.”

Sebastian’s Dad, Mark Issa, says he comes home each day confident and proud of what he accomplishes at school. “I’ve met facilities staff, teachers, administrators, bus drivers, coaches, and music teachers who all know my son by name,” he said. “They also know his interests and often have an inside joke with Sebastian. That’s an experience that any parent would call special. I look forward to seeing him grow in his educational, cultural, musical, and athletic journeys at Woodward.”

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Olivia's favorite place on Woodward North's campus is the playground. "I have so much fun there with my friends."

Class of 2034 - Woodward North

Olivia

Class of 2034 - Woodward North

In kindergarten at Woodward North, Olivia participated in horseback riding, golf, Art Club, and Math Club.

That seems really impressive for a 5-year-old, but it doesn't stop there. She also built robots and learned to play soccer and basketball.

For Olivia and her class, a typical school day would go like this: “We start with morning work and then homeroom, where there is a board with our schedule. Some days we will start with math, and then have other classes. We have lunch, recess, and then at the end of the day we get another recess as part of afterschool care.”

Olivia’s favorite place on Woodward North’s campus is the playground. “I have so much fun there with my friends.” From her friend Eric, she learned to play soccer, and she learned basketball by watching her friends Ira and Rohan play.

While the academics and cocurricular activities taught Olivia many, many things in her kindergarten year, perhaps the most important thing she learned was the Woodward Way: “It means being kind all the time.”

Her favorite thing about school? “I like that all my favorite people are in one place,” she said. And while she’s already building a solid foundation for her future, she’s just not quite ready to decide what she wants to be when she grows up. “I can’t answer that because I have a bunch of things in my head,” Olivia said.

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Carson envisions pursuing a degree at an engineering school like MIT or Georgia Tech and is mulling a career in aerospace engineering.

Class of 2026 - Middle School

Carson

Class of 2026 - Middle School

Carson comes across as a kid who is always looking for the next mountain to climb.

“I am inspired by my brothers because they always do their best. And if they can do their best then I know that I should do my best. I also am inspired by myself to become an overall better person.”

Like his brothers before him (currently in the Upper School) Carson attended Woodward North for first through sixth grade, then graduated to the College Park campus for Middle School. Outside of academics he enjoys playing baseball, practicing piano, and performing in the orchestra.

Carson said he envisions eventually pursuing a degree at an engineering school like MIT or Georgia Tech and is mulling a career in aerospace engineering. “But I still have years to decide” on a college and a profession, he added. He did admit it wouldn’t hurt if his eventual school of choice enabled him to extend his baseball career.

One of Carson’s favorite things about Woodward, he said, is the opportunities the school affords him to consider other perspectives. He said he appreciates the wide variety of class offerings and the diverse student body and faculty, and how both have helped expose him to unfamiliar ideas. He and his brothers frequently find themselves in deep discussions with other students and even favorite teachers about complex topics, often from opposite ends of an argument. “The most important lesson I have learned at Woodward is that it is okay to have a different opinion because that is how we learn from each other and understand all sides of a situation.”

While Carson evinces no shortage of ambition and maintains a chockablock schedule, he seems remarkably placid and self-assured. “Woodward has taught me to manage my time wisely, to make new friends, to listen to new ideas, and to do my best every day, regardless of the situation.”

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"Woodward is a place where all kids can have fun and be accepted no matter their race or gender or their religious background."

Class of 2031 - Primary School

Eva

Class of 2031 - Primary School

It's a question kids get all the time: What do you want to be when your grow up?

Eva Singleton has thoughts on that: “I want to be a doctor, an actress, a singer, a movie producer, a music producer, and an author, and I want to own a hair styling company, and I want to be a fashion designer. Oh, and I want to be the President.”

Eva enrolled in pre-K at Woodward when she was four. She’s now in third grade. At the Primary School, her teachers have both nurtured and challenged her. “They want you to succeed and do your best,” she said. “They are there to help you learn and to grow because you have to grow— you can’t just stay in one place.”

Science is one of her favorite subjects. “Right now we’re learning about the human body and how it operates. When I grow up one of the many things I want to be is a heart surgeon, and we’re learning about the heart,” she said. Eva also loves music, which she says makes her feel great. She played Simba in a Primary School production of “The Lion King,” and she loved it. 

“Woodward is a place where all kids can have fun and be accepted no matter their race or gender or their religious background,” Eva said. “And, another thing that makes me feel passionate about Woodward is that, as my mom says, we are leaders. We can accomplish anything and have fun. That’s just what we do here.”

Eva plans to stay at Woodward until she graduates with the Class of 2031. Then who knows what’s next? When she’s 35, she'll be old enough to run for the nation’s highest office.

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Brilliant. Welcoming. Kind. Those are the three words Woodward North fifth grader Lucas chooses to describe his school. 

Class of 2029 - Woodward North

Lucas

Class of 2029 - Woodward North

Brilliant. Welcoming. Kind. Those are the three words Woodward North fifth grader Lucas chooses to describe his school. 

“My friends are my favorite part of being at Woodward,” Lucas said. “They are fun and nice, and we like to do lots of things together. The teachers are kind, gentle, and helpful. They make learning fun and make me feel welcome. They teach me things so I can be smart.”

At Woodward North, Lucas has taken advantage of the wide array of opportunities. He’s involved in Science Club, Math tutorial, Chess Club, piano, intramurals, golf, and soccer. His favorite place on campus is the Multiplex. “That’s where we take PE and eat lunch! My favorite games during PE are Four Square and Capture the Football. Pizza is my favorite lunch; I wish they would serve it more often.”

He also loves the weekly assemblies, when classes take turns performing. “It’s cool to watch them be creative,” he said. For Lucas, the Woodward Way means being kind to his friends, himself, the school, and the world. “It means to be nice and treat others like you want them to treat you.”

It’s early days still, but what does Lucas envision for himself in the future? “When I grow up, I want to be a teacher… or a ninja.” Meanwhile, he’s happy at Woodward North, where he says school days feel like going to camp. “Woodward is great because I learn a lot and meet great people.”

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Ryan prioritizes the friends she has made at Woodward, and feels they will be friendships she will keep her whole life.

Class of 2027 - Middle School

Ryan

Class of 2027 - Middle School

Despite a demonstrated aptitude and enthusiasm for art, Ryan lists a slew of other passions before she even gets to her enjoyment of the Middle School's year-long art program.

“I plan to be the best college gymnast anyone has ever seen. I plan to major in Pre-Med and become a pediatric orthopedic surgeon.” She devotes 20 hours off campus per week to gymnastics, rounding out her schedule with chorus, Mosaic Club, and serving as a Peer Helper.

“Woodward provides me with the opportunity for authenticity and to be the very best version of myself. At Woodward, I am encouraged to go deep to discover my inner talent and skill without inhibition or fear.”

Ryan started at Woodward’s College Park campus as a kindergartener. Her mother teaches 3rd grade in the Primary School, and Ryan cites her as one of her heroes: “She inspires me because I recognize that the work she does in teaching her students will have a positive impact on them for the rest of their lives.”

The other person Ryan says she most admires at Woodward is her math teacher, Dr. Debra Smith. “She represents the ideal teacher and leader. She provides knowledge, insight, and instruction that I can apply in the classroom as well as in everyday life.”

Despite her busy academic and cocurricular routine, Ryan prioritizes the friends she has made at Woodward, and feels they will be friendships she will keep her whole life. “I have learned that being flexible and understanding are key to maintaining relationships,” she said.

The most important lesson Ryan said she has learned at Woodward?

“That striving to do the right thing is worthwhile.”

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"The beauty of Woodward comes not from the existence of our uniqueness, but rather the usage of our strengths to help one another."

Class of 2024 - Upper School

Hlina

Class of 2024 - Upper School

Hlina remembers being timid and soft spoken when she enrolled at Woodward in sixth grade. Now, she is a confident 11th graders who says she's had an amazing journey at the Academy

She plans to study chemistry in college to prepare for medical school, with the goal of becoming an oncologist and cancer researcher. “While working to make advances in the biochemical world, I hope to also make advances in the realms of diversity, equity, and inclusion. I specifically want to give back to my community in Tigray, the northernmost region of Ethiopia, where there is a humanitarian crisis amid an ongoing civil war.”

Hlina’s family moved to the United States from Tigray. At first, she said, making friends and finding her place among many talented students at Woodward was difficult. Time, and her growing relationships with teachers and friends, changed her perspective. 

“I’ve met many amazing people who have taught me how to embrace my differences. Woodward has given me the strength to respect and embrace my identity, while helping others do the same. The beauty of Woodward comes not from the existence of our uniqueness, but rather the usage of our strengths to help one another,” she said. 

On her Woodward journey, Hlina explored many different interests. In Upper School, she’s been a Peer Leader, Student Government Association senator, Black Student Union marketing Director, Pre-Med Club co-president, and a member of Jazz Choir and the Track and Field team. Outside of school, she’s served as social media director for the Tegaru Hope Foundation, a nonprofit that works to restore education access in Tigray’s rural areas that have been struck by war. 

Hlina said her teachers have been deeply invested in her growth as a person, inside and outside of the classroom. “Getting to know my teachers has been a rewarding experience that has provided me with support and guidance on topics beyond the scope of specific classes. I often find myself picking up on important life lessons while in class, and I appreciate the interdisciplinary approach that my teachers take in explaining concepts.”

She says Woodward has opened her eyes to many perspectives and taught her what it means to be a good citizen of my community. “With a multidisciplinary approach on academics and a dedication to service, Woodward has created an unmatched atmosphere for opportunity,” Hlina said.

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"To me the Woodward Way means to be nice to my friends and peers and treat them how I want to be treated."

Class of 2028 - Lower School

Gabe

Class of 2028 - Lower School

“I play flute. It's one of the smallest instruments in the band, but it uses the most air.”

Asked what he wants to be when he grows up, Gabe has a ready answer: “I want to be, first, a successful person in life. And probably either a professional dancer, an actor or movie star, or start my own little business.”

Given that drive, Gabe says he is especially aware of the opportunities he has at Woodward.

“At some schools they don’t get to do all of the stuff that we do. I’m in honors dance and a lot of schools don’t even have honors dance.”

Gabe takes dance seriously, and appreciates that his teachers do, too. He says they have helped him land dance opportunities outside of school, including spots in two commercials (which he had to turn down) and performing in a professional dance company production of The Wizard of Oz as a munchkin.

“We had funny, silly little costumes,” he laughed.

Asked to articulate what the Woodward Way means to him, Gabe said, “To me the Woodward Way means to be nice to my friends and peers and treat them how I would want to be treated and how they would want to be treated. And to be nice to each other. Most of the time we’re nice to each other, but every so often you’ll have your arguments.”

And it is those friendships that Gabe says most make him feel at home at Woodward. 

“I’ve learned from my friends that being silly and being yourself is perfectly fine when you’re around people who you trust. And the people are really trustworthy here. I tell people some of my secrets and they’ll keep them and won’t spread them around. I’ve learned that being weird isn’t a bad thing.”

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The first difference fourth grader Julia noticed when she moved to Woodward was the number of smiling faces around her.

Class of 2030 - Lower School

Julia

Class of 2030 - Lower School

The first difference fourth grader Julia Moore noticed when she moved to Woodward Academy was the number of smiling faces around her.

“There are a lot more people here than at my old school,” she said. “It’s nice to have more friends.”

Those friends helped her find her way around, and became one of her favorite things about Woodward. Another favorite aspect she cites is the diversity of educational opportunities.

“There are a lot more ways to learn,” said Julia. “You get to experience more art. You get to experience how to do more music. So it’s like a wider range of things you can do.”

She noted how that breadth of offerings helps meet students where they are: “If you need a tutor, they’ll come in during the periods, which is really nice. And there’s Transition [Woodward’s learning support program for students with mild to moderate learning challenges]. And you get taught other languages, which is helpful. You get more kinds of learning experiences.”

Julia, who adores art and wants to be an artist when she grows up, says she appreciates the opportunities to paint and pursue other subjects she’s passionate about during the school day, because outside of school she pretty much lives on the soccer pitch. She practices with the Inter Atlanta Football Club four days a week, not including matches and tournaments on the weekends. For good measure, she also recently took up volleyball intramurals and plays basketball in the winter months. But even her soccer life connects to Woodward: “Maybe nine people on the soccer team also go here, which means I get to play with them and know them more than just at soccer.”

Little wonder, then, that her favorite part of the day is mounting “World Cup” matches at recess.

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"I'm empowered to chase my passions. There are no boundaries here to what you can accomplish."

Class of 2022 - Upper School

Samuel

Class of 2022 - Upper School

Someone should put Samuel Jung in charge of the Internet.

One of four valedictorians in the Class of 2022, Samuel is planning to major in Science, Technology, and Society (STS) at the University of Pennsylvania. “STS examines science and technology from both philosophical and sociological perspectives,” he said. “I really care about our current issues in big data and technology policy, especially in the contexts of information privacy, free speech, and sociotechnical systems. I hope to make a tangible impact in this field. Everyone deserves a fair, transparent Internet.”

A National Merit Finalist, Samuel was named a top 300 Scholar in the 2022 Regeneron Science Talent Search, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious science and math competition for high school seniors. He believes attending Woodward has been vital to his academic success as well as his growth as a person. 

“I’m empowered to chase my passions. There are no boundaries here to what you can accomplish; you’ll rarely hear a ‘no.’ I feel like everyone at this school really cares about each other, and not on a superficial level. Woodward is a family.”

Samuel has taken advantage of Woodward’s many opportunities, taking part in Student Government, Boy Scouts, Varsity eSports, the Technology Student Association, and Music Research. He describes a typical day in his Woodward life: 

“I wake up, shower, grab toast, and run to school. I’m not the best morning person, and sleep matters a lot to me! I take my first three classes, and get lunch with my friends. That’s when we talk, because most of us don’t take the same classes. There’s so many options here. After lunch, I take my last two classes, then go to one of my clubs after school. When I get home, I go out to run for an hour or so and come home in time for family dinner. Then I wash up and have a few hours to study, depending on the night—and how much I use my phone!” 

As he prepared to embark on the next step of his journey at college, Samuel said he’ll always be grateful for his teachers and friends. “My teachers are thoughtful and insightful. They are always ready to help. From my friends, I’ve learned that it’s OK to speak your mind. Everyone’s different, and there’s a real value in that. The friends I’ve made and people that I’ve met along the way gave Woodward meaning.”

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Asked to define Woodward in three words, Svara chose, "Diverse, inclusive, and competitive."

Class of 2026 - Middle School

Svara

Class of 2026 - Middle School

When Svara isn't singing in the school musical (performing the titular role in "Moana"), she is singing her school's praises.

She has been at Woodward since kindergarten (beginning at Woodward North), and has two sisters who also attend the school.

“Woodward is so open to anyone, no matter their race, religion, gender, or other identifiers,” she said, when asked how attending Woodward has shaped her. “I think that has had the biggest effect on me. I don’t think I would have met so many different people at other schools. I love to meet new people, and I’m glad Woodward lets so many different people feel respected.”

Asked to define Woodward in three words, Svara chose “Diverse, inclusive, and competitive.”

Svara said she is going through a period of exploration, trying a range of different activities and figuring out what she’s into. “I did cross country as a fall sport, tried basketball as a winter sport–just for fun, it’s not something I want to continue into high school. And I am doing the school musical instead of a spring sport. I do junior thespians as my club, theatre as my cocurricular, and PE instead of dance.”

“The diversity and countless opportunities to find what I like has allowed me to be who I am and be proud of it. I found my hobbies, my sports, and my friends. I learned to feel comfortable with speaking out and giving my opinion.”

Asked to conclude with what the Woodward Way means to her, Svara said, “I like to think of the Woodward Way as a reminder to always respect yourself and the people around you. Hearing it reminds me to love the people I am surrounded by. The more respect people have for others, the more respectful our world becomes.”

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"Going to Woodward has changed my life, from the friends I have to my personal beliefs."

Class of 2024 - Upper School

Oscar

Class of 2024 - Upper School

Like new students everywhere, Oscar Rivera was a little apprehensive when he first entered Woodward Academy as a high school freshman, transferring from Inman Middle School. It didn't take long to feel at home.

“One of the first things I noticed was that I could be who I truly am; no one expected me to be anyone else,” he said. “Going to Woodward has changed my life, from the friends I have to my personal beliefs. My friends readily accepted me, giving me support and offering advice.”

Oscar quickly realized that high school meant more freedom and more responsibility. “The first lesson I learned was the importance of self-accountability. I learned how to allocate my time so that I could be not only a successful student but also a good friend, son, and athlete.”

Oscar found his way at Woodward by joining clubs and WA Serves, playing sports, and serving as a Peer Leader and Admissions Ambassador. “As they helped me acclimate to Woodward, my friends taught me the importance of kindness. I try to accept new students, especially freshmen, as my friends accepted me, which is why I serve as an ambassador.”

Oscar values Woodward’s inclusive community and teachers who are readily available. “One of my favorite teachers, Ms. Swannee Park, helped me improve my math grade when it had dipped down. My soccer coach, Coach Holmes, inspires me to be a well-rounded student athlete,” he said. “I feel as though I can get support from all of my teachers.” 

As a transfer student, Oscar learned really quickly that Woodward was the best school for him. “People here are generally less cliquey; I enjoy the academic rigor at Woodward; and I love the competitive environment of sports, especially on my soccer team,” he said. 

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Meet Our Team

Andy Phillips

Titles: Lower School Principal

Elaine Carroll

Titles: Assistant Principal

Damon Dawson

Titles: School Counselor

Carrie Lauchlan

Titles: School Counselor

Explore Further

Your child’s education is a unique journey of growth, enlightenment, and exploration as they find their way into the world. At Woodward, we provide the compass for that journey.