3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Lower School

Throughout our Lower School, there is much to celebrate. Joyful learning requires a sense of comfort and confidence in ourselves and the people, places, and things around us. Academics, combined with social-emotional learning, are significant parts of the whole that distinguish an authentic learning moment that should not occur in isolation. So each day in our Lower School, our faculty and students, both dedicated and passionate educators and learners, pave the way for meaningful and enjoyable learning opportunities.

Our Lower School students wonder, explore, discover, express, and celebrate in engaging classrooms, on our waterfront and woodland campus, and beyond our community through experiential, discussion and inquiry-based experiences, and project-based learning opportunities, while developing our Student Competencies and acquiring relevant academic skills and content knowledge. At this young age, our students are embracing our daily commitment to mindfulness and Responsive Classroom® practices, along with other approaches with a focus on respect and compassion for themselves and others. Our learning environments are designed for optimal learning for all, with flexible seating and spaces for group gatherings, quiet reflection, hands-on project work, collaboration with peers, and more.

Walk into our Lower School and let your senses guide you. We guarantee it will be a rewarding and joyous experience…ask any of our students!

Patty Pontarelli

Patty Pontarelli

Lower School Division Head

BA, Rhode Island College
MA, Catholic University of America


Rocky Hill Country Day’s By-the-Bay Preschool serves the emotional, social, cognitive, creative, and physical needs of 3 to 5-year-old children. Our nurturing and safe environment encourages

  • discovery  
  • open-ended learning experiences
  • integrated activities designed to foster a sense of wonder and excitement about the world in which children live

While offering challenging developmentally appropriate learning activities, students

  • develop and enhance self-help, readiness and social-emotional skills
  • develop a sense of independence, self-reliance, and self-confidence
  • learn and work cooperatively in a small community of children and adults

Appropriate readiness assessments provide beneficial information to ensure the most holistic educational and social-emotional goals for our students. Students entering our Preschool must be 3 years of age by September 1, vaccinated, and potty trained.

Grades K-2

Our Lower School enhances the academic and social-emotional environment that is most conducive to learning, development, and growth throughout the early childhood years. The integrity of the kindergarten, first, and second grade programs ensure

  • commitment to “knowing” each student, their strengths, areas of challenge, and potential through ongoing progress monitoring
  • formation of relevant foundational skills through developmentally appropriate “best practices”
  • opportunities for students to learn in flexible groups that foster modeling and collaborative learning with peers of the same and different ages, abilities, and interests to expand academic and social-emotional experiences

Grades 3-5

Our students transition from the early childhood years to the intermediate elementary grades where they begin focusing on, and becoming more responsible for, the study skills needed to support their academic success. Having developed a stronger grasp of their learning styles, areas of interest, and social awareness, students

  • demonstrate a deeper understanding of our student competencies and the importance of our school values
  • think more critically, make deeper connections, and stretch themselves both socially and intellectually
  • are empowered to take on leadership roles within our Lower School community and serve as role models and mentors for our younger students

The 5th grade year serves as the culmination of the elementary school experience and begins the process of transitioning students into our Middle School.


The Extended Day Program is a supervised program for Preschool-Grade 5. It runs daily 7:45-8:30 a.m. (Wed: 7:45-9:00 a.m.) and M-F 3:20-5:30 p.m. and is a combination of indoor and outdoor activities. 


The after school program offers classes (academic, artistic, athletic, etc.) to Preschool-Grade 8 students and is taught by Rocky Hill Country Day faculty and through outside partners. Registration is open to the public. Click below for available programs.


Rocky Hill Country Day School’s 84-acre waterfront campus on Narragansett Bay lends itself to exploration and discovery across all divisions and disciplines. Our marine and environmental education programs create memorable experiences and help develop new perspectives for all learners who will one day become the stewards of this planet.

The Student Competencies

At Rocky Hill Country Day School, we inspire each student to become a...

Learns with nimbleness, adaptability, perseverance, and resilience, with a curious and self-directed approach.

Asks meaningful questions, gains knowledge, and challenges research, analysis, and interpretation to evaluate evidence, arguments, and beliefs.

Seeks ways to model good citizenship through kindness and respect for others, and serves as a responsible, engaged member of the community.

Skillfully expresses ideas in many modalities for a variety of audiences and is a poised and resourceful communicator.

...who is...

A bold thinker, generating new and creative ideas, willing to take risks to solve complex problems, individually and as part
of a group.

A confident observer who understands their personal strengths and is attentive to their needs, empathetic to others, and honors their health and well-being.

An honest member of the community who speaks with integrity and has a focus on social responsibility.

An open-minded individual who values diversity and different perspectives with an understanding of global issues.