Christ Presbyterian Academy

Lower School

Foundational Faith and Intellect

The six years of lower school provide students with a carefully planned, but always flexible, program of learning and growth experiences for each student’s development -physically, intellectually, socially, and spiritually. Reading, writing, mathematics, Bible, history, scientific inquiry, learning experiences on the campus’ natural playgrounds, art, music, band, Spanish, technology, and daily physical education are part of each week.

Research indicates a child's early language experiences impact her/his later reading progress and time spent outdoors improves not only physical health and brain development but also mental and emotional health. Similar studies confirm a child's belief system—the personal view of the world—is formed by age eleven.

All of this information significantly confirms CPA's commitment to provide an academically challenging program of experiences that enhance our students' future school and life choices. The lower school program intentionally fosters the foundational understanding of what it means to live in the light of the truth that God made man for His glory. These early years are the critical foundation for students becoming lifelong learners, equipped with skills for living in the 21st century and knowledge that gives an understanding for eternity.  

Visit the Lower School

Lower School Parent Information Sessions are the best way to experience the unique and rigorous approach to education and child development at CPA. The session includes classroom visits where teachers engage daily in large-group, small-group, and individual instruction. Click here to fill out an inquiry and register for a parent information session. 

Fill Out an Online Inquiry 

Quick Facts

Teacher-Student Ratio

Lower school faculty is comprised of 43 expert professionals, 53% of whom hold advanced degrees. There is an average 16:1 faculty-to-student ratio in the lower school, however the ratio varies in each grade. 

Kindergarten: 1:13
First: 1:13
Second: 1:17
Third: 1:17
Fourth: 1:17
Fifth: 1:21

The lower school administration (non-teaching faculty) is comprised of more than 10 skilled professionals committed to parent and student engagement, academic standards and intervention, social-emotional development, learning services, and physical education and wellness. Led by Head of School Chris Harris, the lower school faculty and staff are dedicated to knowing, loving, and developing each and every student in the school. 

Community Engagement

CPA lower school participates in the campus-wide community engagement initiatives with sibling school New Hope Academy. Community engagement initiatives are year-round and often involve grade-level item drives for a specific goal, such as stocking the STEM Lab at neighboring Glencliff Elementary School or collecting winter clothing for Legacy Mission Village. 

A longstanding tradition of service and love for Nashville takes place in the first grade year. First graders partner with Habitat for Humanity to provide safe and affordable housing for a local family. Students lead an Academy-wide penny drive, have a meet-the-family day, and an on-site work day to support the initiative. 

Third graders participate in an annual project-based learning unit on solving global hunger. The unit involves research of and involvement in Nashville's own Second Harvest Food Bank. 

Off-campus Learning

The lower school participates in over 20 field trips each year, including one overnight trip for fifth grade. From visiting Nashville's historic and cultural centers, to team-building and self-discovery retreats, students are encouraged to experience the city and state we call home. Click here to see the trips and their curricular learning objectives. 

"WIN" Time: Daily Individualized Learning Time

WIN: what I need, an educational initiative unique to CPA Lower School that provides strategic time for every student to progress in the ways that he or she most needs. Imagine what we could all accomplish with 30 minutes daily, reserved for our immediate needs!

WIN has been successfully integrated into the lower school curriculum as a way to progress student learning, ensure curricular objectives, and allocate time for one-on-one, teacher-student connection during the school day. This intentional, individualized learning initiative was developed to engage each student, as God has designed each student with a different intellect. 


Science. Technology. Engineering. Art. Math. 

STEAM is a curricular endeavor at CPA Lower School, engaging students to be dynamic creators, engineers, and artistic problem solvers. Students spend time in the STEAM Lab every week. A key component of the space is collaboration and creativity- skills cultivated through unique exercises, endeavors, and challenges. Whether coding a computer game, constructing an aqueduct out of raw materials, or dissecting owl pellets, small moments of discovery happen in each class. Oftentimes, students name the STEAM Lab as a favorite in their daily schedule. 

Integrated Exploratories

Students K-5 experience multiple exploratories to their core academic curriculum. Exploratories include music, art, library time, Spanish, and STEAM Lab. Students in fifth grade participate weekly in exploratory band class with concert performances. Exploratory teachers grow student skillsets while also creating an atmosphere of excitement and self-expression in a day's schedule. 


Project-Based Learning

Project-based learning is a dynamic classroom approach in which students actively explore real-world problems and challenges and acquire a deeper knowledge. Lower school teachers often use students' own interests and passions to engineer multi-disciplinary units to solve a problem.

An example of this is the annual Global Hunger Unit in third grade. Third graders spend class time exploring the geography and economics of the global hunger crisis, serve with Second Harvest Food Bank, host a panel of local experts, then engineer their own solutions and start their own dialogues on improving food and water scarcity. 

Traditions and Celebrations

Passing of the Scrolls- at the beginning of each school year, in an all-Academy ceremony, kindergarten students receive scrolls of CPA's alma mater from the senior class. A symbolic transfer of vision and leadership from the graduating class to those beginning their journey at CPA. 

Christmas Program- an annual Christmas program both educates students and inspires families to the gospel message of the Christmas season. This program includes students K-5. 

Grandparents Day- each spring, students K-5 host Grandparents and special friends to campus, bridging the generations in a day of camaraderie and a special musical program. 

Fifth Grade Commendation- concluding each school year, fifth grade students are honored and commended for their journey through the lower school. A blessing is read over each student and the class is charged with servant leadership and excellence moving forward into middle school. 


A unique aspect of lower school at CPA: students attend physical education in every school day. P.E. faculty teach holistic physical, mental, and emotional wellness, incorporating creative play, life skills, and stretching students athletically in a nurturing and fun environment. 

Students have the opportunity to participate in the lower school cross country program or lower school cheerleading. Several after-school programs like CPA Ninja Warriors or Little Dribblers focus on athletic skill and exploration.

Summer at CPA also features athletic camps and clinics for students K-8 in over 7 varsity sports. 


Lower School Chapel is observed every week. Chapel features dynamic speakers, praise and worship, and Biblical teaching at age-appropriate levels. Students come to Chapel to know God and love Him, engaging in corporate worship and liturgy. 


CPA Lower School is housed in the center of the Academy's beautiful 58-acre campus. With a large playscape, two gymnasiums, a learning garden, a dining hall, a Chapel, a clinic, learning services offices, a STEAM Lab, a state-of-the-art dance studio, art room, a lower school library, and administrative offices, the facilities are outfitted for collaborative learning and recreation. 

Lunch Program

Lower school students have access to the Academy's meal plan program facilitated through Flik Independent School Dining. Meals are healthy, balanced, and designed to expand young pallets with local produce and dynamic entrees. A la carte items, salad bar, beverages, and snacks are always available. 

After-school Programs

CPA After-school Programs offer year-round enrichment opportunities for students grades K-8. The After-school programs seek to introduce students to diverse experiences, help them develop new interests, meet new friends, and learn special skills. Whether learning a new art technique or building a robot, offerings create a vibrant scene of exploration! 

Fall 2019 registration for lower school students is now open! Click here to view K-5 offerings and register. 

Safety and Security

The lower school is equipped with Raptor Security at front desks, campus-wide security protocols (locked doors and mandatory visitor check-in), a full-time Director of Campus Security Mike Norton, and routine emergency drills and trainings. 

Head of Lower School Chris Harris


Dear Parents,

We live in a time and place where the battle for the hearts of our children is strong. In such a time as this, the faculty of CPA Lower School finds purpose and passion. We commit to partnering with parents in helping our students come to know God. This is largely due to the way our faculty reflects Jesus through pursuant love and daily instruction.

In nurturing their relationship with Jesus, we want our students to grow in knowledge of Biblical worldview. We strive to guide them to evaluate every aspect of life according to God’s Word and love for them. Whether in academics, arts, or athletics, we lead students to glorify God through loving others, sharing God-given talents, and exhibiting His love to others.

By the time our students transition to middle school, we want them to step into the next chapter of life further transformed by God as vessels of His glory. CPA strives to become excellent in all that we do. Our desire for excellence comes out of a desire to love and glorify our Creator.

This calling affects how we craft our instruction and educate our students. We want to target and support the development of the whole child. In addition to a research-based core curricula, student learning is enriched by daily physical education and weekly classes in STEAM, Art, Music, Library, and Spanish. Research shows that these exploratory classes enhance student learning, critical thinking, and creativity.

Along with our curriculum, our greatest asset is our faculty and the way we collaborate as a community of educators. We firmly believe that we are stronger together, and thus work in relationship with each other. 

Thank you,

Chris Harris
Head of Lower School