Lower School

Creating self-determined learners.

The first few years of formal education offer the wonderful potential of expanding a child's natural thirst for learning. Delphian's Lower School provides a rich program that teaches important skills, all the while keeping that thirst alive and growing.

Since many of our students are just beginning their formal education, we focus on creating an environment that nurtures creativity, curiosity and an interest in learning in two key ways:

  • The care of our faculty for each student as an individual, and
  • A highly effective basics program integrated into a rich curriculum.

Our students receive quality personal attention, while our curriculum opens a wide world for growing children to explore. The greatest emphasis is placed on reading, writing and mathematics, surrounded by a broad experiential learning program. At Delphian, every day is an adventure.

Delphian's Lower School includes Beginner 1 and 2 and Form 1 and 2. These forms equate to kindergarten through third grade.

  • Caring faculty with lots of personal, one-on-one attention for every child
  • Small classes
  • After-school program
  • Hands-on learning, seminars and early reading program
  • Bimonthly field trips
  • Building strong foundations in reading, math and science

Delphian's Lower School is for local day students. We offer morning and evening bus service from and to McMinnville.

Financial aid and scholarships may be available for qualified families. Contact our Admissions Office for details.

Lower School Program


Lower School Students from the Delphian School

Academic basics are the footing upon which an education is built, and they are our primary focus in the Lower School. Rather than getting caught up in the "latest and greatest" trend for teaching the basics, we have held onto time-tested methods. No "whole language" or "whole math"—reading and math are not guessing games.

The Heron Basics™ Programs utilized at Delphian bring students to a high level of competence in the fundamentals of reading and math, as well as writing and spelling. With the basics firmly under their belts, students are able to tackle the rest of their education with greater confidence.

Delphian introduces our Lower School students to a wide variety of academic subjects. Our curriculum includes study of geography, history, science, foreign language, music, art, poetry and even communication skills. In addition, our teaching methods engage students in creative activities that encourage them to explore their surroundings and help them relate what they're learning to real life.

Learning How to Learn

A unique aspect of the Delphi Program is that all students develop good study habits—they literally learn how to learn. Delphian's study method is not based on memory tricks but upon a meticulously researched method proven to restore understanding in any context.

Delphian's program ensures students both understand and can use what they're studying. Creating self-determined, independent learners is our speciality. From the very beginning of their Delphian education, students become alert to the various signs of learning barriers and gradually gain the ability to overcome them as they move through the program—at first with considerable teacher assistance and then with increasing independence.

Hands-On Approach

Young children learn a great deal by observing and participating in the world around them. Delphian encourages this natural curiosity by getting students involved in activities both inside and outside of the classroom. Parents and visitors walking into a Lower School classroom will generally find a beehive of activity.

Field trips are scheduled regularly (three or four each month) and are a key element of the Lower School experience. Students might visit a fish hatchery, see a puppet show, explore botanical gardens, tour a post office or attend a musical concert. Our focus is always on helping children explore and learn about the world around them.

"Research" is a concept that helps children observe activities or phenomena in the environment, thereby learning first-hand about the world around them. Students may explore things in nature, determine how items work, or even learn by interviewing others. Students in the Lower School engage in a variety of research projects as part of their regular curriculum.

The Arts

Education in the arts is an integral part of Delphian's Lower School program. Students engage in music, drama, pottery, painting, drawing, mixed media and many other artistic forms of expression, including finger paints, clay, pastel, pencils, papier-maché, collages, and printmaking. Our students' artwork is always prominently displayed around the school.

Students participate in musical and theatrical performances from the earliest ages. In music, students become familiar with the concept of rhythm and are introduced to various types of musical instruments, even learning to recognize the sounds of different instruments.

In addition to traditional arts, our Lower School students begin an education in culinary arts through weekly cooking and gardening classes.

Watch our Lower School's adorable performance from last year's Spring Festival.

Physical Education

Emphasis in athletics in the Lower School is on development of physical skills, building strong bodies, learning how to play on a team and having fun. Each day, students get outside several times to play, build physical coordindation and explore nature.


Our campus facilities include a full-size gym housing basketball and volleyball courts, as well as a climbing wall; a large, fully equipped playground; areas for tennis, baseball, softball and soccer; and a running track. The campus's 740 acres of oak forest and farmland allow for classes to engage in a wide variety of outdoor activities.

Oregon weather being sometimes more conducive to indoor instruction, the Lower School is also equipped with a multi-purpose room. In this room, dubbed the 'tree room,' students build physical strength on a custom climbing structure with a 6' horizontal ladder, rock climbing wall, fireman's pole, climbing rope and Lower-School specific gymnastics equipment. Lower School students receive dance and yoga instruction in our facility.

Delphian Lower School students also participate in weekly off-campus instruction in swimming and gymnastics.

Video Tour