Lower School

Advancing Curiosity



The Department of Creative and Performing Arts at University Liggett School is dedicated to serving the mission of the school by offering a carefully curated series of creative outlets in an array of art forms. Our program is student centered and allows individuals to grow as creative artists. We do so by providing innovative teaching, excellent resources and materials, and an approach that values growth and progress as much as achievement. We scaffold and provide structures as we allow students to draw connections to the world, meaning, and a life lived in and through understandings in the arts. We cultivate and encourage engagement through relevance and depth while students explore the value of learning from old answers. We proudly present the arts as part of the core curriculum, and our successes are measured by our students ability to demonstrate ethics, excellence and engagement in a variety of arts forms.


The Lower School Music program is an Orff-based program that guides students from PreK through 5th grade to carefully develop musical skills through a hands-on, creative approach. Students learn and develop their musical skills by creating and composing their own music. Singing games, folk dances and traditional songs from around the world are used to create an engaging and joyful learning environment. Hand percussion and drums are the instruments through which rhythmic skills are explored and developed through all the grades. Beginning in second grade, the musical concepts of pitch, melody and ensemble are developed through xylophones.

Lower School students are exposed to music education through the Orff program. The Orff philosophy encourages children to experience music at their own level of understanding.

Children are encouraged to learn through their natural environment of play. Improvisation is encouraged to allow children to explore the possibilities in music. The music used in the classroom is based on the children's own heritage with a combination of folk and composed music.

Here at University Liggett School, our classrooms are multicultural. The Orff philosophy embraces the folk music of all cultures. It is essentially an active music experiential approach. Orff encourages creativity through the student's natural responses to music.

Visual Arts

The Lower School Visual Arts program begins in Prekindergarten and progresses through the fifth grade. Our philosophy, stemming from the Liggett approach, gives artists the knowledge and exposure to be creative, independent thinkers and problem solvers through the use of proper material exploration, art criticism of personal and public works of art, and the history of artists and movements.

Arts Wing and Manoogian Arts Gallery

Dedicated in 1996, the Manoogian Arts Wing is the center of the Creative and Performing Arts program at University Liggett School, housing a recital hall/band room, music rooms, art rooms, a photography studio, kilns, and faculty meeting space. It is also used for exhibited artwork, receptions, and community events. The Anderson Exhibition Center, dedicated in honor of Wendell W. Anderson, Jr., ’42 DUS, hosts the visiting artists and student art gallery. The gallery space hosts solo exhibitions of visiting artists, including opening receptions, which is open for public viewing during school hours. Student exhibitions, beginning in Kindergarten continuing through our advanced art program are also displayed in the gallery throughout the year.


The Orchestra program at University Liggett School is led by Rose Urbiel. Participation in strings is available to all Lower School, Middle School and Upper School students beginning in the 3rd grade. Students in 3rd grade may start on violin, viola or cello.

Physical Education

The Physical Education Department at University Liggett School strives to expose students to a variety of activities, games and sports that will encourage them to be active throughout their lifetimes. Our goal is to provide a safe, enjoyable and non-intimidating atmosphere in which all children are able to comfortably and confidently participate.

Physical education instruction focuses primarily on personal best, sportsmanship, teamwork, skill development and strategy. Students are taught that character, respect, leadership, communication skills and compassion for others are far more important than results. Instructional methods used to achieve the department’s goal include verbal demonstration, teacher demonstration, peer demonstration, questions/answers, music as a stimulus and modified games.

In grades 1-4 the students are exposed to eye/hand coordination, eye/feet coordination, stunts and tumbling, locomotor skills, ice skating at the school's own McCann Ice Arena, physical fitness units, spatial awareness, cooperative games, balls skills and station work.

The 5th grade physical education program is a stepping stone for the students’ transition to the Middle School PE program. Not only do the boys and girls meet separately, but they also change into a PE uniform. The emphasis of skill development and modified lead-up games are for the learning of the following sports: football (boys), field hockey (girls), soccer, tennis, volleyball, basketball, skating/ice hockey, floor hockey, softball, lacrosse and track and field.


The Lower School technology program supports University Liggett School's philosophy of learning to learn. By integrating the latest emerging instructional technologies, learners gather information and create digital media, transforming information into meaning. We have a 1:1 iPad learning environment for K-5 and a 5:1 ratio in PreK, where iPads are used only to document learning and while listening to reading.


A variety of after school learning enrichment classes are offered throughout the school year. Recent offerings include: choir, coding, visual art, golf, Lego, field hockey, soccer, chess, robotics, video production, yoga and young engineers.

Additionally, Extended Care (before and after school) is available.