A coeducational day school serving students JK-12

Lower School

At Latin we are trying to create an atmosphere that makes the children feel engaged and challenged at the right level. I want them to know that it is o.k. to make mistakes and that it is o.k. to learn from them.

Danyelle Post, JK Teacher

The lower school is a place where children are treasured, where eager learners are encouraged to take the next step, to ask the next question and to discover the next truth.

Our students publish their own books, put on plays, host art shows, participate in interscholastic athletics, and work on community service projects, all while building the educational foundation that will prepare them for the rest of their lives.

Our lower school faculty are extensively trained in early childhood and elementary education. Our teachers use a team approach, gathering input from parents and on-staff learning resource specialists—as well as their own close observations—to customize their teaching methods and content to address each child’s strengths and interests.

Around the Lower School

LS Book Awards

Each year, students in 1st through 4th grades explore different book awards in the Lower School Library. Readers learn how committees work together toward a common goal, how to analyze literature with a critical eye and how the voting process works. Award units culminate in the Latin Book Awards assembly where winners are announced to the entire Lower School. View the 2023 mock book awards list

First graders studied the Monarch Book Award, Illinois’ readers' choice award for students in grades K-3. The Monarch butterfly was chosen to “symbolize the growth, change and freedom that becoming a reader brings.” We read many selected books, challenging students to think critically and familiarize themselves with a variety of books and their creators, ultimately voting on the book they like the best. This year, we had a tie with Friday Night Wrestlefest by J.F. Fox and Micah Player and Lift by Minh Lê and Dan Santat both taking the award!

Second grade explored the Caldecott Award, given annually to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children. We read six contenders for the 2023 Caldecott Award and discussed ways in which the books are excellent in quality, distinct in their design, and a singular achievement by the artists to create a complete “Oh wow!” contribution to our bookshelves. Readers flex their critical muscles as they look beyond the surface, choosing not only the book they like the best but one that meets the parameters of the award most fully. This year students chose Knight Owl by Christopher Denise as their Caldecott winner!

Third grade celebrated the Coretta Scott King Award, presented to authors and illustrators of African American descent whose works promote an understanding and appreciation of the "true worth and value of all beings." We read 6 distinct fiction and/or nonfiction picture books highlighting African American culture or history looking for excellence, information and inspiration as our criteria for “Oh wow!” CSK Award winners. After reading, discussing, and debating, the Third Grade Committee chose Bessie the Motorcycle Queen by Charles R. Smith, Jr. and Charlot Kristensen as the winner of the Latin CSK Award.

Fourth grade dove deep into nonfiction books for the Sibert Award. Students read 6 books featuring distinguished writing and illustration with a clear and accurate presentation in both text and illustration. Readers look closely at the informational contenders and vote using criteria that make them say, “Oh wow!” Ultimately, the Fourth Grade Committee chose Blue: A History of the Color as Deep as the Sea and as Wide as the Sky by Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond and Daniel Minter as the winner. 

  • Academics
  • Around School
  • lower school
lower school student, faculty and staff at The Circles Assembly on October 7, 2022
This fall, every lower school classroom received a copy of The Circles All Around Us by Brad Montague for the all-Lower School Read. The book is about understanding and expanding our circles of friendship, family, and community and was selected with our theme of #RomansTogether in mind.

On October 7, lower school students came together for an assembly to celebrate The Circles All Around Us. Students and teachers reflected on the circles of care that begin with our personal circles and extend out to our classroom and school communities. During the assembly, students participated in a mindful meditation exercise, tried a circle challenge with their grade level, and sang a heartwarming song about our circles of care led by the talented lower school music teachers.

Students and teachers reflected on the circles of care that begin with our personal circles and extend out to our classroom and school communities.The assembly wrapped up with a Circles Challenge, an invitation for the lower school community to continue creating both small and big moments of filling their circles with kindness. Some examples were offered to inspire the students such as singing, making art, and spending time with loved ones. And two examples of caring for our community circles were highlighted: (1) a “greeting committee”, initiated by the leadership of a current fourth and third grader, that welcomes fellow students as they enter the lower school in the mornings (2) Socktober, an invitation to participate in a drive to collect socks for people in the Chicago community during the month of October.
Learn more and experience the impact of The Circles All Around Us! Please enjoy this read aloud of the full book, these slides from the assembly, and the video below of our lower school singing The Circles song.


  • Around School
  • lower school
Homecoming 2022

Latin’s annual Romans Run filled Montrose East and West Fields on Saturday, October 1, 2022. Families, faculty, staff and alumni donned their best and brightest orange and blue for an afternoon of races in the park.

fans at homecoming games

Fanatic fans cheered on the Romans at the homecoming games on both Friday and Saturday. Check out the scoreboard from the weekend.

  • JV Girls Field Hockey vs. Francis Parker, W 3-0
  • Varsity Girls Field Hockey vs. Francis Parker, L 0-2
  • JV Boys Soccer vs. Francis Parker, W 2-1
  • JV Boys Soccer vs. Francis Parker, W 1-0
  • Varsity Boys Soccer vs. Francis Parker, W 3-0
  • Varsity Girls Swimming vs Trinity HS, W 84-81
  • Freshman Girls Volleyball vs. Amundsen HS, W
  • JV Girls Volleyball vs. Amundsen HS, W
  • Varsity Girls Volleyball vs. Amundsen HS, L
student with pizza from Billy Brick's standing in front of Aztec Dave's food truck

Cheering for these Romans worked up an appetite, so attendees dined on the go from some of the city’s tastiest food trucks, including Aztec Dave's Food Truck, Billy Bricks Food Truck, Cheesie's Food Truck and CheSa's Gourmet Food Truck.

homecoming 2022 collage

Over 250 alumni, faculty alumni and friends returned to Latin for Homecoming & Reunion Weekend. A virtual fireside chat with Head of School Thomas Hagerman kicked off the weekend, followed by the annual LGBTQ+ Alumni & Friends Gathering where LGBTQ+ alumni and allies collaborated on a community art piece featuring encouraging messages for students (currently on display in the upper school Learning Commons). Alumni and their families joined us at Montrose Field to honor the 2021 and 2022 Hall of Fame inductees.

Alumni in reunion classes, Golden Romans and former and current faculty celebrated their connections to Latin at the reunion cocktail party on Saturday evening. Highlights included 88-year-old former lower school teacher Pat Peterson reconnecting with the Class of '92, her former third graders! Throughout the night, faculty-led tours of the upper school, hugs and laughter abounded and the photobooth was in high demand. Many classes continued the celebration at class gatherings around the city, including at private homes, The Weiner Circle, Green Street Local, The University Club and Uproar.

On Sunday, Latin hosted two brunches: one for Golden Romans who have already celebrated their 50th reunions, and our annual homecoming brunch for alumni of color. We finished off the weekend with the alumni annual orange and blue soccer game.


  • Alumni
  • Features
  • lower school
  • middle school
  • upper school
Welcome Back Romans!

It’s a great feeling to be Romans Together! Our teachers, students, faculty and staff are all back together again and it’s such a great feeling. Experience the joy in this video.


  • Around School
  • lower school
  • middle school
  • upper school

Windows & Mirrors at Latin

We provide children with opportunities to see not only themselves, but also other people, cultures, perspectives and ideas.

Manners, Kindness, and Civility

- the Lower School motto

We value the potential that Latin will provide our children with the determination, resilience and curiosity to be successful in the world.

- Latin parent

How We Approach Teaching and Learning

Bliss Tobin

Latin's excellent caliber of teachers, coupled with strong resources, allows us to implement the best of research-based practices. At Latin, we understand that learning is not linear, and that often mistakes are the most important learning opportunities. We allow students to lead you in their own wonder, challenges and resilience.

Lower School Director Bliss Tobin 

In a responsive classroom, the exercise of naming hopes and dreams is critical to feeling personally connected to and engaged in learning.

Lower school students took the school's theme of action to heart and defined things they hoped to accomplish over the course of the school year.

hopes and dreams


Singapore Math

The value lies in the well-formulated question rather than on the right answer.

Singing the praises of Singapore math

As part of the lower school Singapore Math curriculum, fourth grade teacher Amanda Schirmacher noted that her students love sharing their methods, which she can project on a screen after taking a picture of the method with her tablet. "They are getting more comfortable with their speaking and presentation skills," she said. "It enables them to be confident in sharing their thinking," a skill that will serve them well as they enter middle and high school. "The earlier you find your voice, the better," she said.

Latin 360°

Latin 360° provides before- and after-school programming for lower school students in a fun and safe environment where they can try new classes or to engage in activities they love within the school building.

Families enjoy the opportunity for their child to engage in extracurriculars without having to organize extra transportation!

Please email asr@latinschool.org or extendedday@latinschool.org for more information on these programs offered at Latin.

Before and After School Care Options


Do you have questions? We would love to hear from you.

Lorraine Loomis

Lorraine Loomis

Titles: Assistant Lower School Director
Degrees: B.A. Wheaton College
MEd National Louis University
Bliss Tobin

Bliss Tobin

Titles: Lower School Director
Degrees: B.A. Yale University
MEd University of Chicago

lower school

Nurturing Inquisitive Minds

LS working on tiles together