NicheLower School
Grades 1-4

Welcome to MCDS Lower School! This is my 22nd year at MCDS. Many of those years I spent as a second grade teacher. Last year I enjoyed learning more about the International Baccalaureate (IB) as I served in the role of Primary Years Programme (PYP) Coordinator. The lower school has always been a place where students develop a love of learning. The IB PYP will add to this joy by allowing students to have agency and go on an inquiry based, transdisciplinary learning journey. Students get to explore many different disciplines such as learning Spanish, taking piano lessons, and conducting science experiments. In addition, students attend lower school assemblies twice a week during which time character traits from the IB Learner Profile are discussed. Every child is truly known in our engaging classes.

MCDS is a special place. It has been amazing to see it grow and evolve over the last 22 years. I have twin sons who will be sophomores this year and enjoy being active by hiking and playing sports. I am a lifelong learner who loves to read both professionally and for enjoyment. I’m happy to talk more about MCDS, so please reach out with questions.


Kristina Luedtke
Head of Lower School

Our son has felt supported, included, and safe. And, he has learned so much. No parent could ask for more.

MCDS Third Grade Parent


First Grade

Students in first grade participate in assemblies, classroom meetings, and multi-grade buddies. Our students and teachers come together to build a community through these meaningful collaborations. Reading and writing skills are developed through our exceptional language arts instruction. Through our math program students are given the tools to read, write, and discuss mathematics. Science, art, music, Spanish and PE continue to be taught by specialized teachers. The scientific method is introduced through hands-on experiments. Every student begins piano lessons, while continuing general music classes and choir.

First Grade Curriculum

Second Grade

In second grade students explore their own character and interests. In Language Arts they begin to read chapter books together and develop key analytical comprehension skills as they discuss the books. In math, students begin to build basic operations, eventually applying that understanding to fractions and decimals. In science, students are encouraged to develop a sense of wonder and curiosity about the world around them through the study of topics like the natural landscape of the MCDS prairie and the motion of the planetary objects.

Second Grade Curriculum

2nd grade girls
Grade 2

Third Grade

Starting in third grade, students are developing critical thinking skills and participating in constructive conversations encouraging positive character traits. In math, students learn to effectively communicate solutions including the ability to discuss and analyze their work for correct logic and procedure. In science, students begin using lab notebooks and start measuring and recording their own data, which they use to form their own conclusions. In language arts, students are writing longer compositions, with a focus on spelling and vocabulary, sentence structure and grammar, and writing paragraphs. 

Third Grade Curriculum

Fourth Grade

In fourth grade, students round out their last year in the lower school with a focus on creating a caring community where students feel respected and safe to take risks in their learning. Students learn about defending answers respectfully and listening to others with good intentions. New systems for homework are introduced, in preparation for their entry to middle school. Students apply higher level thinking skills such as analysis, synthesis, and evaluation to language arts. In science students practice analyzing data to formulate conclusions to experiments. In math students develop an in-depth understanding of concepts and give special attention to the reasoning and process of solving mathematical problems.

Fourth Grade Curriculum

4th grade