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Lower School: Grades 1-4

The Sussex Lower School educational experience includes core disciplines language arts, mathematics, integrated social studies and science, art, music, and physical education. A Sussex education includes  multi-age learning which fosters a sense of community between teachers, parents and students. First and second grades are blended as are third and fourth grades. 


The lower school students are “Littles” to older students, the“Bigs.” Big & Little time includes literacy-based activities, art projects, holiday celebrations, and opportunities to develop a mentor-mentee relationship.


Beyond the daily emphasis on kindness, inclusion, and acceptance, first through fourth-grade students are taught interpersonal and positive communication skills through a nationally recognized social-emotional learning and development program.

In addition to their academics, Sussex Lower School students participate in service-learning projects throughout the year and enjoy our winter ski program. All aspects of our programs combine to create one of the best educations in Missoula, Montana.

1st & 2nd Grade


Student-Teacher Ratio 16:1

In their first and second grades, Sussex students are challenged to think critically, act responsibly, take ownership for learning, and appreciate the needs/beliefs of self and others. They work on projects to create a foundation of integrated-subject learning and collaborative processes.


With a focus on community that expands beyond the classroom, first and second grade student begin to explore how their interests and gifts can positively impact communities. This fits in with the classroom experience, where each student is valued as both a community member and an individual with unique capabilities.

3rd & 4th Grade


Student-Teacher Ratio 16:1

Students in third and fourth grades transition to more independent work through project-based learning.


They are encouraged to ask questions that hone research, non-fiction reading and writing, information synthesizing, and presentation skills. One of the highlights of the year is the independent research project fair that is held in the spring.


Students begin to experience leadership, consider the appropriate use of technology in research, and further  discover their passions.

Students experience place-based education, which embraces the community as the classroom and utilizes an interdisciplinary, inquiry base approach to learning.



“At Sussex, I had the opportunity to express my own opinion, but better for me, I learned how to listen and appreciate the opinions of my classmates.

I don’t think I had the open format of classes like Sussex again

until I was in college.”

Ted Souza, Class of 1995

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