The Primary Day Story
Primary Day is best understood by reading our stories. Each one details an important aspect of who we are and illuminates why we are such a special place.
How Can We Know Every Child & Family?
Small size. Big ideas. Primary Day is intentionally small with an intimate size of less than 150 students and a 6:1 student:teacher ratio. Our teachers and staff know every child and family. This knowledge allows us to appreciate the gifts and talents of each child in order to tailor their unique educational experience. Our small size provides an optimal setting for high-quality education to take place. Personal attention, curriculum integration and individualization, trust and respect, each student's sense of belonging, and the close-knit community create a unique environment where all children thrive.
Our Head of School greets each child every morning by name, and in doing so truly gets to know the entire student body by interacting with them on a daily basis. Each child is an important member of our community, and we value each of their unique contributions to our school. Warmth and caring make Primary Day a happy place where every child is nurtured, and is able to take risks, learn, and grow.
What Happens Next?
Pride and Accomplishment. A Primary Day education gives children the academic foundation, social skills, and confidence that will allow them to flourish as they move to Third Grade and beyond. Our graduates have an outstanding record of achievement in the area’s leading independent and public schools, showing a remarkable ability to succeed inside and outside the classroom. Primary Day students are sought after by area schools because they are well-prepared, intellectually curious, and compassionate. They are ready to meet the challenges ahead with determination and kindness.
Finding the right school fit for every child is very important. Our Head of School and next school placement team work closely with all parents and their children to help with the transition to Third Grade. We know each child and the regional school landscape and we use that knowledge to help guide each family as they determine the school their child will attend following Primary Day.
See a list of the schools where recent Primary Day graduates have enrolled.
Why Pre-K through 2nd grade?
It’s about Commitment. The Primary Day School in Bethesda, Maryland, is a school for boys and girls from Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 2. We are the only school in the area that focuses exclusively on children in this unique age group, and we do so for a very important reason. These are the most crucial learning years in children’s lives, a time when they are ready for quantum leaps of development. At Primary Day, everything we do focuses on helping young children flourish—as learners and as people—during this vitally important time of life.
The Primary Day curriculum is designed specifically to engage these very young learners. Children gain essential building blocks in reading, writing, mathematics, science, languages, music, art, social studies, and other areas, creating a firm foundation for ongoing school success and continued personal growth. In addition, the scale of our building, the classrooms and the playground are specifically designed for children under the age of eight.
And all of this happens in a warm and compassionate environment where children can take confident steps toward a future filled with promise.
What Others Are Saying.
Washington area educators know Primary Day. Uniformly they mention how well-prepared our graduates are and how kind each and every one of them is. Children graduate from Primary Day as capable, passionate, and inquisitive learners who are well-prepared as they move on to new schools. Schools offer acceptances to our students because they ask questions, take risks, work well with others, and think critically about what they learn. In addition, both current and former students and parents rave about their experiences here. Alumni choose to send their children here and even recent graduates attribute their further school success to their foundations at Primary Day.
“We love Primary Day students at Holton-Arms! They come to us well-prepared academically and socially. Ready to dive into the creative, vigorous educational environment that defines Holton, they show a true love of learning.”
– Susanna A. Jones, Head of School, Holton-Arms School
“Primary Day provided a warm and academically enriching experience for our three children, giving them a strong foundation that has helped them experience success at Sidwell Friends School.”
– Estie Portnoy, Former Parent, Primary Day School
“I used to say that I wished that PDS had a middle school and a high school because I loved my time there so much. At Primary Day, I learned how to be a good student, developed a love for reading and math, and most importantly made some of my closest friends. I remember playing around the world in Mrs. Shaffer's math class and checking out every single American Girl Doll book with Mrs. Lake during library. I cried during second grade graduation because I did not want to leave, but I still have a place at Primary Day and catch up with all of my favorite teachers when I go back for a Beako assembly once a year!”
– Lucy Goldberg, Cornell University, Primary Day Class of 2002
“Primary Day was not only the beginning of my education, but its foundation. I came to Primary Day a nervous kindergartener, and I left a carpool number (66), a confident student, a member of a community, and, of course, with some Beako powder. Primary Day gave me the confidence, knowledge, and organizational skills I needed to succeed.”
– Maxwell Fabiszewski, University of St. Andrews, Scotland, Primary Day Class of 2002
"Both of our first two children absolutely love Primary Day, and for good reason. Primary Day faculty and staff are empowered to address the individual talents, needs, and dispositions of each child while also leading them through a thoughtfully structured educational and developmental program. We want our youngest children to enjoy the same confident scholastic foundation and life-long love of learning that their older sisters have as a consequence of being a part of Primary Day."
– Kurt Zimmermann, Current Parent, Primary Day School
"We could not be happier at Primary Day. Our only complaint is that the school doesn't start younger and go through high school! We especially value the fact that each child is treated as an individual. It never ceases to amaze us that every single teacher, specialist, etc. knows our child and knows her well. It is so obvious how much PDS builds up the self-esteem in the students, while also giving them the best education. Any school can likely teach the ABCs and 123s, but what we think makes PDS so unique is all the other things, the less tangible. We love our daughter reaping the rewards of such a fabulous place."
– Ilana Cutler, Current Parent, Primary Day School