An independent co-ed day school for grades Pre K-12

Lower School


Building a strong community is a priority in our Lower School. We want every child to feel a sense of belonging, learn empathy, and take ownership and pride in being a part of a learning community. Our daily family-style lunch brings together kindergarteners through third graders for a family-style meal. Mixed-age students and a teacher sit together to share food while learning manners and engaging in conversation. They get to know each other by sharing stories and responsibilities: like setting up and clearing the table. Students also practice serving the food and composting the waste. The family-style lunch takes away the stress that can come with choosing friends at lunchtime, and everyone looks forward to talking with — and taking care of — students from other grades.


Twice a week the Lower School gathers to hear announcements, celebrate student accomplishments, and enjoy performances by peers and guests. In any given assembly, students may perform on a musical instrument, read a piece of writing, recite a poem, or make an announcement. In addition to teaching public speaking, confidence about performance, and good listening, assemblies help students see themselves as a valued and connected members of the community. Our assemblies have also been hosts to storytellers, puppeteers, dancers, accomplished musicians, and internationally acclaimed experts in their fields.

Community Service

Community Service in the Lower School is designed to plant the seeds of social awareness within the community (taking care of one’s surroundings) and beyond. Students sponsor two children through the Save the Children organization, raise money for victims of natural disasters, and send books and supplies to children in Mali. Fourth graders lead the younger grades in an annual Thanksgiving Food Drive and a Mitten Tree Assembly to donate food, mittens, hats, and scarves to the Bridgeport Salvation Army. Occasionally students perform at local convalescent homes and elder day care centers. These experiences help students to become more aware of the needs and diversity of their community.

Peace Teams

Peace Teams are a cherished tradition at GFA. Peace Teams meet once a month in cross-age groups to play cooperative games, sing songs, read books, and do community outreach. Peace Teams help us build a school culture that supports each child's sense of belonging and ability to give back to their community. Fourth graders take a leadership role for younger students, the activities help other children develop valuable connections throughout their Lower School years and beyond. Peace Teams culminate in a Peace Games celebration, during which each team represents a country in a full day of cooperative field games. 

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