Fostering Curiosity and Developing a Lifelong Love of LearningCanterbury gives preschool-aged through fourth grade students a balanced and challenging program wherein confidence, talent, friendship, and individuality can flourish. The academic curriculum is designed to give our students a solid foundation in core subjects while ensuring they also develop the powerhouse skills—collaboration, problem solving, creativity—needed for success. As a member of the Canterbury School of Florida community, each student:
- Helps build a class of compassionate, respectful, thoughtful students who value and learn from each other.
- Conducts hands-on experiments in a dedicated lower school marine science laboratory.
- Learns healthy habits in our daily physical education and Health andWellness programs.
- Begins to study Mandarin Chinese and Spanish in PK3.
- Grows in confidence through public speaking, theatrical productions, and research presentations.
- Creates a welcoming environment and helps visitors and new students feel at home.
- Plays an active role in service learning projects that teach the importance of acceptance, integrity, cooperation, and fairness.
or watch this video by our 2016 Kindergarten class, which pretty much explains what our Lower School is like . . .
- School Community
- Faculty and Administrators
- Character Education
- Extraordinary Opportunities for Students
- Academic Support and Enrichment
Our two campuses are like small neighborhoods, and Canterbury’s lower school is a close-knit community of students, parents, teachers, and staff that comes together to support each other at every opportunity and event. Our students encourage each other’s growth, interests and accomplishments, forging lifelong friendships.
This begins each morning, as all of our students (and most parents!) begin the day gathered around the American flag in our courtyard—a tradition that includes reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, singing our school honor code, and sharing announcements, personal celebrations and introduction of guests (and sometimes pets!). All parents are invited to attend and most stay to get to know each other and their child’s friends, starting each day in a spirit of community, modeling family values with their attendance. There is truly nothing like Flag--it’s just a part of the Canterbury experience you must attend to understand. Join us for morning Flag.
"Sure, you can drop your kids off in the morning without the experience, but why would you want to?" -- Todd A., father of two lower school students
Our teaching team is the cornerstone of our academic program. Here, students become strong, independent thinkers guided by expert teachers who encourage their natural curiosity and help them master essential skills. Student-teacher relationships matter, and they are fostered with intent. Both faculty and the student body gain wisdom in an environment of mutual respect.
All of Canterbury’s lower school teachers hold Bachelor’s degrees; many have advanced degrees. Their passion for teaching and nurturing our younger students is evident. Alums frequently share—even after they've gone on to attend top tier colleges and universities—that many of their best teachers and most valuable lessons were from their time at Canterbury. Learn more about our teachers.
ABOVE: Lower school teachers dressed up as book character Pete the Cat to celebrate the Lower School Book Fair.
The development of character has been at the heart of a Canterbury education since the school's founding in 1968. In the Lower School, LEADS, the character education program makes important aspects of character tangible and memorable.
The LEADS theme is created each year by the teachers, and lessons are woven into teachable moments throughout each day. Every grade level creates their own LEADS skit each month and performs it at morning flag for their peers. Words like honesty, integrity, responsibility, compassion, self-discipline, perseverance and confidence are part of our school vernacular. For instance, the PK4 class performed a skit at Flag in front of parents and their peers, to explain the importance of respect. Reese and Riley were Superhero Rs for RESPECT!
The students end each morning Flag ceremony--and thus, start each day--by singing the school honor code:
As a member of the Canterbury family
I pledge to uphold my personal integrity
Promote equality and be respectful, and considerate.
I will be honest and sincere, facing each day
with a positive attitude!
Learn more about our character education program.
Each day in Lower School is filled with remarkable opportunities and experiences. Here are just a few examples:
2nd grade class using their newly-learned skills about direction to go on a “pirate hunt”
Big Buddies Teach Acceptance and CompassionGrade 4 students are paired with students in PK4 (our 4-year-olds) to be buddies for the year. The fourth grade students stand with their buddies at our morning Flag ceremony every day, eat lunch with them once a month, and participate in buddy activities that include a t-ball game on the Knowlton campus, reading time together, arts and crafts, and more. The fourth grade students love their buddies, and the buddies--many of them in their first full-day school experience--love having a “big kid” to hug in the hallways. Grade 3 students partner with the PK3 students and read to them on a regular basis.
Chickens in the ClassroomPK4 students nurture eggs and raise baby chicks as they hatch.
Technology Helps Little Fingers Master Big ConceptsAs with all aspects of Canterbury, the applied technology program blends tradition and innovation. High academic standards remain constant while the school adapts, semester by semester, to better prepare students for a rapidly changing world. Today, technology is a key tool for learning, and both coding and STEAM projects are a vital and enthusiastically embraced part of the lower school learning experience. Every student spends time in our Makerspace building, collaborating, and creating.
Marsh Grass NurserySince 2012, Lower School students have monitored, by measuring water salinity, testing for alkalinity, and observing the general plant health of the marsh grass located on the playground of the Lower School. This is part of our marine studies program, providing hands-on lessons in horticulture, the environment, and marine conservation. Middle school students return to the nursery each fall to harvest the grass and replant it along Tampa Bay’s beaches to stop erosion.
Beyond a low student/teacher ratio in the classroom that allows for individual attention and dedicated time for extra help after school through our ASAP program, our teachers and Learning Specialist provide consistent academic guidance and actively support your child’s progress. Our Learning Center Specialist holds a Master's degree in education and is certified in both gifted education and specific learning disabilities. Learn more about our lower school Learning Center on the Lower School Curriculum page.
"Our family came to Canterbury in the Fall of 2014, and our youngest son needed some extra help with his reading and writing skills. [Lower School Learning Specialist] Anne Giles worked with him over the last year and half, and he is now an avid reader, and is doing wonderfully in school. We could not have been happier with the amazing progress he has made under Anne's guidance." -- Alicia W., mother of two sons at Canterbury