Lower School

Grades 1-5

In Lower School, specialist teachers collaborate with our talented, loving classroom teachers to create a dynamic environment designed to engage and ignite young girls’ minds.

St. Mary's Lower School is a private elementary school for girls located in Memphis, Tennessee. The hands-on curriculum teaches students invaluable lessons about problem-solving, tenacity, creativity, and cooperation. Our goal is to help each girl become a capable, confident, and caring child and a lifelong learner.

Using creative problem solving skills, our private grade school program is designed to help equip each student with the ability to think critically, use technology and design tools, and develop the confidence to value the wisdom and flexibility that making mistakes provides. St. Mary’s promotes individualized learning and encourages elementary students to learn in community while discovering unique ways to explore, experiment, and excel.

Weekly Chapel and on-going character education program, fondly called the Bridge to Caring, not only nurtures our students spiritually, but allows students to reach beyond themselves to discover the importance of respect, kindness, courage, thankfulness, honesty, and cooperation. These timeless values are woven into our private elementary academic curriculum on a daily basis, creating a learning environment that honors the whole child.

Core Curriculum and Special Subjects

All students receive education in four core areas: math, reading and language arts, science, and social studies/geography. The classroom teachers collaborate with special subject teachers to create a dynamic learning experience.


Art celebrates each girl’s individuality and fosters self-expression and creativity through the design process.

Ballet and Creative Movement

Ballet and Creative Movement fosters creative expression by immersing students in classical ballet stories through role playing, scene reenactments, and both choreographed and improvised movement.


Spanish vocabulary and grammar are presented kinesthetically, aurally, verbally, visually, and literally to grades one through five.  Foreign language involves the learner in a technique called TPR, Total Physical Response.

Physical Education

Physical Education enhances coordination, strength, self-control, and cooperation.


The Library is a center of inquiry where information literacy skills are integrated with classroom content. Curriculum emphasizes the development of research skills, the discovery of the joy of reading, and the promotion of lifelong learning.


In keeping with our Episcopal tradition, Religion classes in St. Mary's Lower School explore stories from the Old and New Testaments, while encouraging respect for others' beliefs and teaching the values that unite us.


Music uses the developmentally appropriate Orff Schulwerk approach and includes choral experiences.


Robotics not only creates an opportunity for students to learn how to code, but it also enhances skills in leadership, community involvement, communicating across different technology platforms, and maybe even finding a passion for STEM related subjects. 

Marcisha Brazley-Keith

Head of Lower School

Dominique Gates

Administrative Assistant to LS Head

Lower School Office

41 N. Perkins Road
Memphis, TN 38117



Robotics is offered in science class and as an after-school club. Girls are challenged to work together to score points in teamwork matches and show off their skills individually in driver-controlled and programming robot skills challenges. Our Lower School VEX IQ Robotics placed 5th at the World Championship in 2022.


Kite Day

On Kite Day, 2nd graders and their parents fly kites at Shelby Farms. The project begins in science class to learn about birds, feathers, wings, and the principles of flight. With the librarians, girls each pick a bird to research. In the Makerspace, students measure and cut their sails and spars. In art, they decorate their kite sails with their bird of choice.


Cardboard Project

In a collaboration between counseling and science, our students are inspired to think about impacting the world around them. Students learn about an inventor who created foldable cardboard houses for people experiencing homelessness. Girls put their ideas to the test as they create a cardboard solution to help a person, animal, or the environment.


Shark Tank

Fourth-grade girls study inventors and simple machines in science and language arts classes to solve problems around them. Our teachers guide students through the engineering design process, a field trip to Lowe’s, and building time in the Makerspace. The project culminates with a Shark Tank-type experience in which students pitch their product to judges.