Although we are a school that is always thinking about how we can grow and evolve, we also feel that it is important to be rooted in tradition. There are several Lower School traditions we like to celebrate each year.
Each Lower School grade takes part in at least one annual field trip that is tied to the curriculum.
The Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten students visit the Little Red Lighthouse during their study of the Hudson River. Likewise, the Grade 3 classes visit the Hudson River Museum during their study of water in science.
Grade 1 students spend time on the Science Barge in Yonkers, where they learn about renewable energy and sustainable food production.
When Grade 2 studies New York City and its ethnic neighborhoods, students enjoy visiting Arthur Avenue and Chinatown, and sampling a variety of ethnic foods on a Big Onion Ethnic Eating Tour of New York City.
Grade 4 studies folklore and Washington Irving’s Legend of Sleepy Hollow, so the students visit Sunnyside, his historic home, and Philipsburg Manor, a living history museum. They also visit the Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk, CT, during their unit on oceanography.
As part of their interdisciplinary studies, Grade 5 spends the day in Philadelphia,visiting the The Franklin Institute and the National Constitution Center. They also visit The Jewish Museum of New York during their study of the Holocaust and activism during WWII.
Homecoming is a day-long event, filled with athletic competitions, food, and fun activities for the whole family, culminating in a football game on the recently renovated Frank J. Bertino Memorial Field. Children’s activities, performances, and exhibitions are also organized.
Community Action Day
Riverdale alumni, along with the Alumni Office, initiated Community Action Day several years ago. It has grown into an annual event in which more than 100 alumni and parent volunteers, along with faculty and staff, give their time and energy to organize and run a full day of community service activities, attended by more than 500 members of the Riverdale community. They work together to give back to our broader community.
An eagerly-anticipated annual event, Carnival brings together the entire Lower School community for an afternoon of games, fun, and food. One highlight is the dunk tank, in which Grade 5 students (and sometimes even the Head of Lower School!) take turns on the hot seat.
The Pre-K/K Thanksgiving Feast
The Pre-K/K Thanksgiving feast is a long-standing tradition for the youngest members of the Lower School community. Each year, as children prepare to leave campus for Thanksgiving feasts with their family and friends, we take time to celebrate this important tradition with teachers and classmates. Each homebase class contributes a special dish, potluck-style, and we gather at one long table and share a meal together. Shortly after the meal, students return to one of the Kindergarten classrooms for a sing-a-long.
Grandparents and Special Friends Day
Grandparents and Special Friends Day is one of the sweetest days of the year on the River Campus. Guests are invited to join their grandchildren and special friends in the gym for breakfast and a musical presentation. Following this group gathering, each homebase class returns to its classroom for one-on-one time with our special visitors. Grandparents love seeing their grandchildren's work, playing games, and working on craft projects together. It is a special time for students to share their school and their classroom experiences with someone other than their parents.
LS/MS Family Ice Skating Night
A fun event for the whole family, the Riverdale Country School Family Ice Skating Night is a wonderful community event for our Lower and Middle School families. Wolman Rink in Central Park is reserved for Riverdale alone, with activities to keep both skaters and non-skaters entertained.
The Buddy Relays
The Buddy Relays provide Lower School students the opportunity to come together outside to have an active experience with their buddies. The Physical Education Department plans and executes fun relay races that incorporate interesting materials such as hula hoops, pool noodles, balls, etc. Older students guide their younger buddies across the field and provide encouragement. The Buddy Relays are a high-spirited, high-energy event that emphasizes fun and camaraderie over competition.
In June, as the school year nears its close, students in grades 4 and 5 showcase their talents for the Lower School community by putting together a Lower School Talent Show. Acts include singers, musicians, comedians, dancers, magicians, and even martial artists who demonstrate their board-breaking skills!
5th Grade Visit to the Hill
Each spring, as we prepare the 5th grade students for their move from the Lower School's River Campus to 6th grade, we invite them to the Hill Campus to experience a day in the Middle School. This visit coincides with the placement testing day for new students, providing an opportunity for new and returning students to get to know one another before their official orientation in August. The students get advice and words of wisdom from current 6th graders and have a chance to meet their 6th grade dean. They also enjoy playing games on the spacious Hill Campus.