Lower School Curriculum Overview

The curriculum at Catlin Gabel is broadly defined to include:

  • content
  • skills
  • knowledge
  • the development of character
  • creativity
  • habits of mind (i.e. perseverance and thoughtful risk taking)

In addition to academics, our curriculum builds on creative thinking and imagination, social and personal competence, and moral and ethical development.

Learning Process and Content

A walk through the Lower School will reveal a high level of student engagement in learning. The Lower School curriculum focuses on the learning process as well as the content. Students are prompted to intelligently explore, use, and remember the content at hand. The teachers shape the curriculum to develop the students’ capacity to think critically and deeply, to infer, experiment and question.

Hands-on Collaboration

Our teaching provides direct hands-on experiences that bring students into contact with the ideas of their peers through collaborative work. In this way, learning is meaningful and contextual. The teachers foster supportive, mutually respectful and trusting relationships with their students and build a community in their classroom to empower students and create a safe space to learn.

Developmentally Appropriate

The developmentally appropriate curriculum provides age-appropriate challenges that stretch emerging capabilities. Teachers balance and consider the needs of each student as they guide students to meet curricular expectations. Rigorous critical thinking and problem solving is evident through all learning activities.

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

Playing sports involves life lessons in determination, grace, and resilience. We invite everyone to be part of a team.

Extensive support ensures our students are successful.

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