In the Lower School, we consider the “whole child” in the design of a curriculum that engages interest and intellect, invites inquiry and exploration, cultivates creativity, and develops habits of mind, study, and character. 

In this way, we prepare students for their roles as global citizens. Expert and accomplished teachers guide children to achieving the joy and confidence of learning in a nurturing atmosphere of warmth and care. Most important is an emphasis on the development of character through lessons incorporating universal values and citizenship.

Academics in the lower school are centered in an integrated curriculum with a solid foundation in reading, writing, and mathematics. It is combined with innovative theme, project-, and problem-based learning opportunities, which integrate all resource areas and disciplines. 

In addition to language arts and social studies, the core curriculum is extended through instruction by resource teachers in science, technology, media arts, Orff music, instrumental music, the visual arts and physical education.


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 Liggett, 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.


The Orchestra program at Liggett is led by Emmalyn Helge. 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. Beginning in 6th grade students can choose between band, orchestra and choir. 

The curriculum in Middle School is expanded to cover music history and music theory. In the Upper School the orchestra program is divided between students who are new to strings and students who have previous strings experience.


The Physical Education Department at Liggett 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. 

Following the Curriculum for Understanding, 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, 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 the Curriculum for Understanding’s philosophy of learning to learn. Through the integration of the latest emerging instructional technology, learners gather information and create digital media which turns their information into understanding. 

Offering various computing and creating platforms such as iPads, chromebooks, and Windows PCs while implementing the G-Suite (formerly known as GAFE: Google Apps for Education) intentionally designs learner voice and choice toward autonomous learning. In the Lower School we focus on global citizenship and digital literacy. 

A global citizen is someone who identifies with being part of an emerging world community and whose actions contribute to building this community both online and offline.

Lower School learners:
  • Demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology.
  • Collaborate and communicate using digital media,
  • Apply digital tools to gather, evaluate and use information.
  • Use critical thinking skills to plan and conduct research, manage projects, solve problems, and make informed decisions using appropriate digital tools and resources.
  • Understand cultural and societal issues related to technology and practice ethical online behavior.
  • Demonstrate a sound understanding of technology concepts, systems and operations.


The Lower School Visual Arts program begins in pre-K3 and continues through the fifth grade. Students are able to think, create, build, and design in a studio located in the Manoogian Arts Wing. The visual arts curriculum is based upon the exploration of fine arts through art production, art history, and art criticism.  

Students have the opportunity to experience and learn the skills of drawing, painting, ceramics, sculpture, fibers, and printmaking.  Students acquire a sense of ownership and pride for their artwork by having work installed and displayed around Liggett’s campus and in student art shows.  

Collaboration happens often between classroom project work and art class, making for a more meaningful experience for the student.  An exploratory, hands on approach to the many mediums of fine arts will give students the knowledge, creativity, and learning skills to grow not only as artists, but problem solvers in today’s world. 


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

In addition, before and afterschool care is available for an additional fee.


University Liggett School, a top Metro Detroit private, independent school, is located at 1045 Cook Road Grosse Pointe Woods, MI 48236 313-884-4444