Lower School (K-6)


The Lower School encompasses the primary (K-3) and elementary (4-6) grades.

Students in the primary grades enjoy a nurturing environment with low pupil-teacher ratios. Much personal attention and positive reinforcement help to promote healthy self-concepts and sound educational foundations.

In the elementary grades, academic, physical, social and spiritual development begun in the primary grades continues. Students become more aware of their accountability to others as well as their individual aptitudes and personal qualities. The faculty is engaged in the total development of the children as they progress through the Lower School.

Students regularly attend chapel services and have opportunities to be scripture readers.

Primary Grades (K-3)

In the primary grades, students proceed at rates commensurate with achievement. There are minimal grade level expectancies, which most children far surpass. In addition the teachers provide a wealth of enrichment activities. Frequent assessments - quarterly evaluations, mid-quarter reports and conferences - apprise parents of their children’s progress.

Subjects in the primary grades include reading, mathematics, language arts, science, social studies, art, music, dance, religious and physical education. Beginning in Kindergarten, specialists in multimedia and STEM introduce basic technology concepts, systems, and operations pertaining to 21st century learning. Students in grades K-3 enjoy basic instruction in creative movement and dance.

Literacy instruction in grades K-3 is structured around a balanced literacy curriculum, which includes shared reading, read aloud, guided reading and a reading and writing workshop. In an effort to create a love of reading, students are taught beginning in kindergarten how to select just right books and select their own books for independent reading. All K-3 students receive instruction in foundational skills such as phonics and fluency, as well as how to be strategic readers who are able to apply higher order comprehension strategies such as inferring, summarizing and questioning.

In mathematics, students learn numeral recognition and formation, number values and mathematical vocabulary. Throughout the primary grades there is systematic review and expansion of skills and concepts in performing fundamental operations and solving problems.

The hours of the after-school program are 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, during the school year.

Elementary Grades (4-6)

Grades 4-6 are departmentalized, and students report to different teachers for their classes. The faculty and staff emphasize good citizenship, high moral standards, sound study habits, and basic skills and concepts. As in the primary grades, students advance when they master the material and receive additional attention when they encounter difficulties.

The curriculum includes reading, written and oral communication, mathematics, social studies, science, art, music, religious education and physical education. Students apply information and communication technologies and digital resources to engage in higher-order thinking and problem solving skills. All students have study hall—a quiet period to do homework, prepare for another class or read.

Visual Arts (K-6)

The major goal of art education is to cultivate students' abilities to create original and expressive art projects. The artwork students create reflects their overall level of social, physical and intellectual development. Many of the projects integrate concepts and topics covered in the various grade levels. Each project includes a brief history of the artistic concept, shared samples, a demonstration of working techniques, vocabulary terms relating to the materials and tools used in the creative process. While experimenting with the materials, creativity, craftsmanship, and the learning process is emphasized, not just the final product.

Performing Arts (4-6)

To provide students with exposure to the performing arts, all fourth, fifth, and sixth graders must enroll in a course under the Performing Arts Department. The following are the elective options.

  • Band (Grs. 5 and 6) -- Students receive instruction on woodwind, brass, and percussion instruments.
  • Chorus (Grs. 4, 5 and 6) -- This group will learn proper singing technique while exploring various genres of choral music, including but not limited to classical, pop, musical theatre.
  • Contemporary Jazz Dance (Grs. 4, 5 and 6) — Students study a variety of dance genres, including but not limited to jazz-funk, hip-hop, and contemporary jazz.
  • Hula (Grs. 4, 5 and 6) -- The students receive instruction from our kumu hula in ancient and modern Hawaiian dance.
  • Musical Theatre (Gr. 6) -- This class offers students instruction in the theatre arts of singing, dancing and acting.
  • Orchestra (Grs. 4, 5 and 6) Beginning -- Students learn to play an orchestral stringed instrument.
  • Theatre (Gr. 6) -- Students receive instruction in acting and storytelling through movement, improvisation, playwriting exploration, and more.

Lower School Library

The librarian works in partnership with classroom teachers to teach information retrieval, explore interdisciplinary units, and encourage the love of reading. Reference assistance is provided individually, as well as in regularly scheduled classes. Students may use the Upper School Library when the need arises. Parents are welcome to borrow from the “Parents’ Section” as well as the regular collection.

The Lower School Library welcomes donations through the “Birthday Book” program, which expands the collection.

  • Hours: Monday to Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Collection: 14,000 books, magazines and audiovisual resources.
  • Equipment: computers with Internet access.

Contact Info

The Lower School is situated at the Diamond Head end of the ‘Iolani campus.

Lower School Main Office:

  • Phone: 943-2227 or 943-2281
  • Fax: 943-2390

Melanie Pfingsten
Dean of Lower School
Email: mpfingsten@iolani.org

Natalie Hansen
Associate Dean of Lower School
Email: nhansen@iolani.org