Lower School (K-5)

at Portsmouth Christian Academy

Learning to Love Learning

The early years of students’ education are so important — for the academic foundation they will build, the character they will develop, and the worldview they will form. As a parent, you’ve poured into your child and want to ensure the values you’ve instilled in them will be reinforced, not challenged. At Portsmouth Christian Academy, we partner with parents to equip their young learners for meaningful lives, integrating biblical truth in the classroom and beyond.

The Lower School at PCA encompasses kindergarten through grade 5. We refer to grades K-2 as Primary and grades 3-5 as Elementary. During these formative years, our students experience the joy of community and develop a love for learning that will carry them through their academic journeys.

Below, you’ll find an overview of our program, including:

Commitment to Safety
Program Schedule
Download Our Lower School Viewbook!

Learn more about how our differentiated approach to learning helps students thrive in and outside the classroom. You’ll learn about what students will learn at each grade-level, and you’ll see what extracurricular offerings help students maximize their God-given potential.

Learn More

Differentiated Learning in a Christ-Centered Environment

We believe that God made each child unique and recognize that no two students learn in the exact same way. Because of our small class sizes, teachers can differentiate instruction to connect with students and maximize their learning. Through phonics-based reading, hands-on math, STEM-based science, and blended learning, students build a strong academic foundation as they become critical thinkers.

Bible study is not limited to one part of the school day. Teachers model biblical principles and integrate God’s word into every subject, instilling Christian character and values in their students. At PCA, we don’t just want our students to become good learners; we want them to become good friends and community members, who love God and their neighbors.

Meet the Principal!

Dr. Carrie Abood, Lower School Principal

Degree: Ed.D. Learning Organizations and Strategic Change, Lipscomb University
M.Ed. Administration and Supervision, Lipscomb University
B.A. English Teaching, Lipscomb University
Teaching Experience: 17 years

“I think students are different at PCA because of their family’s commitment to partnering with our school. The involvement of family in a child’s education can never be overlooked or undervalued. Because we encourage the family partnership, I can see how it pays off by how our students interact with each other and with teachers.”

Words from a PCA Family:

“We decided to send our kids to PCA because we are confident they will continue to be taught in the way we have raised them, both spiritually and academically.  Our children love their teachers and are very excited to get to know other kids and participate in school activities. After dropping the kids off in the morning (even after the 40+ minute commute), I am overwhelmed at God’s goodness that we get to send our kids to PCA.”

A Place Where Your Child Will Thrive

Download an Admissions Packet to learn more about our academics, character education, and extracurricular activities.

Why Do Families Choose PCA for Primary & Elementary Grades?

Parents who choose PCA value a strong academic program that will provide solid foundations across the core subject areas. Attitudes about school are formed early on, which is why our Lower School teachers utilize Whole Brain Teaching, a method that keeps young students active and engaged. As a result, our students develop an authentic zeal for learning.

In Lower School, core subject areas include:

  • Bible
  • Math
  • Phonics and Handwriting (Primary)
  • Reading, Writing and Grammar (Elementary)
  • Science
  • Social Studies

Learning Enrichment

Students begin exploring their God-given talents and discover new interests through our enrichment classes:

  • Music
  • Art
  • Library
  • Physical Education
  • Computer 
  • World Language (Mandarin and Spanish)

A Sense of Security for Parents & Students

Safety is our number one priority, and we go to great lengths to ensure that parents and students have peace of mind on our campus. Well-designed, age-appropriate classrooms and playgrounds allow students to learn and explore in a safe, high-quality learning environment. An on-site security coordinator, on-site nursing staff, and a thorough emergency operations plan set the foundation for safety at PCA. Our exterior doors are locked at all times and our interior doors remain in the locked position when both open and closed for quick response. Additionally, we run background checks on  all faculty, staff, and volunteers, so you can rest assured that anyone interacting with your child is known and trusted. 

Parent Involvement

We encourage parents to be involved in the life of our school and welcome them to campus often. A few ways for you to be involved include:

  • Serving as a class parent or helping with classroom needs and events
  • Preparing items for Chapel
  • Being a weekly surprise reader
  • Chaperoning field trips
  • Being a part of Moms in Prayer/Fathers in Prayer
  • Assisting with our Uniform Swap Shop 
  • Taking photographs or helping with the yearbook
  • Judging speech meets or helping with other special events
  • Assisting with extracurricular activities like athletics or theater productions
  • Serving at annual events and celebrations such as Christmas parties and end-of-year picnics

Discover PCA

Have some more questions? Schedule a discovery call with an admissions counselor today.

Day in a Life of a PCA Lower School Student

A typical day at the Lower School begins at 8:10 a.m. and ends at 3:00 p.m. Busy parents appreciate the opportunity to utilize after-school Kaleidoscope workshops or our before and after-school programs, which run from 7:15 a.m. to the start of the school day and end of the school day to 5:30 p.m, respectively. While the schedule for each grade level varies slightly, Lower School students generally move through the following daily activities:


Each morning begins with prayer and an engaging Bible lesson. On Fridays, students attend Chapel, worshiping with the campus community and hearing inspiring messages.


Our phonics-based curriculum promotes strong literacy skills and helps students become avid readers.


Young learners need brain breaks and plenty of fuel to keep their minds and bodies active throughout the day.


We create an early excitement for math using manipulatives and hands-on activities. Teachers differentiate learning to keep pushing students to the next level of proficiency.


Students are able to bring lunch from home or parents can purchase lunch through our Lunch Program at the beginning of each quarter.  Students love seeing their favorite restaurants offered at lunch time; vendors have included Chick-Fil-A, Panera, and local restaurants offering sandwiches, pizza, and Chinese food.


Whether in music class or P.E., students look forward to learning new skills, playing fun games, and interacting with our dedicated enrichment teachers.

Science/Social Studies

Students learn about God’s world through hands-on STEM projects, explore our country’s history, and discover how they can be good citizens.


Lower School students move from honing their handwriting skills to drafting their own short stories, an amazing transformation.

Meet One of PCA’s
Lower School Teachers

Ms. Shanna Ketchum

Educational Background: Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education, Secondary Focus in Psychology
Years of Experience: Over 13 years total; 8 years at PCA
Favorite Book: Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis
Words from Ms. Ketchum:

When students feel seen, known, and loved, it opens the door to learning in so many ways.

“For me, teaching starts with relationships. It’s such a joy to learn about my students so I know each one more deeply, and I believe it’s important for students to have moments where they see different sides of their teacher. The excitement they get when I join in a game of Gaga Ball, go sledding with them, or sing along to their favorite songs is fun for me, but also builds the connection we share.
The PCA community (co-workers, students, and families) is unlike any other I have been part of as a teacher. I have been so blessed to witness students pray for one another, raise money for charity at Christmas instead of giving each other gifts, make a prayer blanket for a sick student, be baptized, and so much more. These are moments that will stay with me for years to come.”

See PCA for Yourself

Schedule a tour and see first-hand why families choose PCA. During your visit, you’ll explore our beautiful waterfront campus, walk through our facilities and classrooms, and talk with a member of the admissions team to have your questions answered. Our goal is to help you get a feel for the heart and mission of our school so you can make an enrollment decision with confidence. Register for your tour online, or call us at 603.742.3617 ext. 121.

We look forward to meeting you!