Welcome to the Lower School

Welcome to the Lower School! The elementary years are an important time during which the foundational skills and knowledge that will support life-long success and academic achievement are laid. At Portledge, we believe that joy in learning is essential in cultivating a positive disposition toward life-long learning and scholarship. Our children LOVE school and we take pride in this fact. Learning can be, and is, a joy within the walls of Portledge Lower School. Our teachers dedicate themselves to the pursuit of the greatest rigor possible for each child while being mindful to create joyful learning environments and experiences. 

Within the Portledge Lower School, you can expect that your child...
  • will be known. Your child’s homeroom teacher will celebrate his/her strengths, encourage him/her to set goals and work to continually strengthen foundational skills for lifelong success. We approach each student with the mindset of educating the whole child.  
  • will feel safe, secure and confident to flourish academically. Our children love to come to school because it is a safe space to explore, create, and excel academically, socially, and emotionally.
  • will feel appropriately challenged. We design our program with the goal of employing appropriate rigor for each child. Children learn best when they are challenged in a manner that pushes them to excel beyond their current competencies without causing frustration or anxiety that can turn a child off from learning experiences. 
  • will participate in a small, personalized classroom in which the teacher knows each child as an individual learner. Our classrooms afford children the ideal environment to be challenged, supported, and to have a curriculum applied to their unique needs as a learner in order to achieve optimal learning and growth over the course of each, and every, year.
  • will have the opportunity to explore a variety of interests and pursue individual strengths. Our curriculum is not constricted by an arbitrary scope and sequence but rather is driven by how well we know our students and our drive to support their strengths and interests as well as by our commitment to ensuring they obtain all the necessary skills and knowledge they will need for higher learning. Our curriculum intentionally celebrates our students' interests, strengths, and needs. We do not believe in the one-size-fits-all curriculum as we celebrate and value individuality.
  • will participate in a robust schedule of ‘special’ classes. Pre-Nursery through fifth grade take physical education, art, music, drama, and library. Elementary students also take world languages and instrumental instruction begins in fourth grade. Time is allowed within the curriculum to pursue areas of study in which students express particular interest. 
  • will feel heard and valued. We encourage autonomy, student choice, and agency within bounds and independence in all things. Children who can independently engage academically and who have adults who believe in their competencies flourish academically and emotionally.
Within the Portledge Lower School, you can expect that the faculty will...
  • value each student’s voice while guiding them along a path that provides appropriate boundaries.  
  • listen and take feedback to heart. Your concerns are our concerns and we appreciate open, honest, proactive partnerships with parents. We actively work to collaborate with our students’ parents. 
  • be dedicated to the Portledge Pillars of Kindness, Purpose, Honor, and Respect and do all we can to support our students in their embrace of these ideals.  
  • nurture, know, and care for your children, every day, throughout their Lower School experience.
  • celebrate your child for who he/she is, unconditionally.
  • know your child and support his/her optimal growth and learning.
We pride ourselves on providing a joyful learning environment where our children develop a love of learning and we invite you to experience joy in learning with your child today!


List of 3 members.

  • Photo of Saralyn Lawn

    Saralyn Lawn 

    Director of Lower School
    (516) 750-3134
  • Photo of Leigh DeMaria

    Leigh DeMaria 

    (516) 750-3224
  • Photo of Lauren Domaradzki

    Lauren Domaradzki 

    Assistant Dean of Students for Lower School / Hiring Coordinator
    (516) 750-3195

School hours

Monday - Friday: 8:20 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

The Value of Curriculum Mapping

- Carol Tomlinson

“Excellence in education is when we do everything that we can to make sure they become everything that they can.”