Vicki Swartz RoscoeLower School

Welcome to the Lower School!

I fell in love with Catlin Gabel when I first stepped foot on the campus in 2002, and my feeling remains unchanged.

Our teachers are masters in understanding how children learn and grow cognitively, emotionally, socially, physically, creatively and ethically. We are devoted to every aspect of a child’s development.

Teaching is about building relationships. Once teachers, students, and parents form healthy bonds, there is no limit to the learning that can happen. In the Lower School, we teach the children for up to five years so we take particular pride in getting to know our students well.

We know that children learn by doing, and we know that learning is a highly creative process where children build their own understanding. That’s why our students are given the freedom to make many of their own choices. Early on, children learn that with freedom comes the opportunity to take responsibility for their learning. We encourage calculated risks and expect children to behave responsibly toward others and their environment. We make sure our children have a strong foundation in literacy development, mathematical thinking, science, social studies, art, PE, health, woodshop, and music. Starting in first grade students choose to study either Mandarin Chinese or Spanish.

I invite you to come for a visit and see the Lower School in action!


Vicki Swartz
Head of the Lower School


Learn More

Learn more about our program from the people that know it best

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Take the first step

Interested in applying for grades 1-5?

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Quick Facts

40 students on average in each grade with two homerooms of 20 students

Each homeroom has one lead teacher and an assistant

Teacher specialists for science, music, art, PE, woodshop, library, and modern languages (Mandarin & Spanish)

Three parent-teacher conferences per year

Daily 20-minute mid-morning and 45-minute lunch recess

Field trips throughout the year and an annual class trip with at least one overnight stay

An independent preschool through 12th grade day school in Portland, Oregon
8825 SW Barnes Road,
Portland, Oregon 97225 |
503-297-1894 |

Explore why Catlin Gabel is a national leader in progressive education.

We welcome more than 100 new families annually to our inclusive community from the Portland area and beyond.


A demanding and engaging program in which each student is the unit of consideration

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