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At Nansemond-Suffolk Academy education begins in the Lower School. From Pre-Kindergarten through Fifth Grade, students are  nurtured and challenged in a home, a school, a community like none other. The early years in school are critical to establishing a strong foundation on which further learning subsequently can be built. Every child in Lower School is seen as a unique learner with strengths and areas for growth, who is engaged daily to find joy and excitement in the quest for knowledge.

Nurtured in body, mind and spirit, every Lower School student spends his days in a caring community with adults who know each child as an individual. While academic preparation is critical, equally important is a child’s preparation for the years ahead. Students learn early the meaning of “honor” and respect for self and others. Students are encouraged to be compassionate not only day in and day out in school but also through participation in a variety of community service projects throughout the year. NSA fosters an appreciation in students for the strengths and talents as well as the differences in peers. Relationships are important at NSA among students but between student and teacher as well. Lower School students form strong bonds with the entire Lower School staff. There are frequent opportunities for students in Lower School to interact with Middle School and Upper School students in learning activities but also in activities that are fun and community-building.

In Pre-Kindergarten, each child’s social, emotional and cognitive developments are expanded equally through a rich, literature-based curriculum which supports the acquisition of  solid pre-academic skills. Students spend the day in active learning in individual, small and large group settings. The day is filled with activities which offer opportunities for thinking critically and problem-solving, for collaborating, for creating, for negotiating relationships and for applying knowledge. In addition to activities in the Pre-K classrooms, students benefit from art, music, Spanish and library with Lower School resource teachers. Pre-Kindergarten students enjoy a specially designed play area adjacent to the Helen B. Holland Early School where they run, climb, crawl, balance, swing, slide, ride big wheels and tricycles and dig in an extra-large sandbox. A large multipurpose room allows an additional area where students come together for shared learning activities.

Learning in Kindergarten through Fifth Grade is structured to be academically rigorous yet developmentally appropriate to maximize each child’s potential. The Lower School curriculum provides balanced instruction in the core academic subjects of language arts, mathematics, social studies and science infused and supported by technology as appropriate. In addition, students have daily exposure to Spanish and physical education and weekly classes in library skills, art and music.

The Lower School engages in ongoing reflection and accepts the challenge to remain current in best educational practices. We take very seriously our responsibility to partner with parents in preparing our students for lives as compassionate and creative individuals who are masters at communicating, problem-solving and working collaboratively in our fast-paced world.

I look forward to working with your Lower School child and welcome you to the NSA family!


Nancy B. Webb
Head of Lower School