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A Rowland Hall fourth-grade students takes notes on an iPad while her teacher, Marianne Love, instructs in the background.
Fourth-grade teacher Haas Pectol helps two students on their iPad during a class at Rowland Hall's elementary school.
Elementary school teacher with students on a field trip, pointing toward the mountains.
Two Rowland Hall students pose for the camera in front of the Salt Lake City, Utah, independent, private elementary school.
A group of elementary school students write in workbooks while laying on the floor of a Rowland Hall Lower School classroom.

Lower School: Grades 1–5

Welcome to Rowland Hall's independent private elementary school. This is a place of joyful learning and continuous growth. It's an inclusive community that inspires students to seek their sense of self, wonder about their world, and pursue their interests while supported by a caring faculty and staff.

It is truly an honor for me to be a member of Rowland Hall's Lower School team. Many factors drew me to Rowland Hall, from its mission to inspire students to discover a meaningful life of learning to its beautiful campus that gazes up at the Wasatch Mountain Range. But the thing about Rowland Hall that most excited and inspired me—and still does today—is the community of people: an energetic, talented, and tight-knit faculty and staff; a leadership group that aspires to the highest ideals of teaching and learning; warm and welcoming parents, guardians, and families; and, most endearing of all, a group of eager, joyful, smiling students. Together, we are building the next generation of compassionate, curious, and courageous humans.

I am proud to be part of the Rowland Hall community—our community.


Emma Wellman signature

Emma Wellman 
Beginning School and Lower School Principal

Two Rowland Hall second-grade students work together to solve a workbook problem in class.
Two siblings pose for a photo outside of the Lower School at Rowland Hall's Salt Lake City, Utah, McCarthey Campus.
Elementary school teacher helping students in science at Rowland Hall, an independent private school in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Elementary school students on the playground at Rowland Hall, an independent private school in Salt Lake City, Utah.
A Rowland Hall Lower School students peers through an origami loop that they created during an art class.
Elementary school student plays ukulele at Rowland Hall, an independent private school in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Two Rowland Hall Lower School students laugh together while eating lunch outside.
A Rowland Hall Lower School students poses for a photo while playing on the playground at recess.
A Rowland Hall elementary school student completes math exercises in a notebook.
A Rowland Hall elementary school student raises their hand to ask a question during class.
Independent Private Beginning School Principal - Emma Wellman - Salt Lake City, Utah

Emma Wellman
Beginning School and Lower School Principalget to know Emma

Contact the Lower School

720 Guardsman Way
Salt Lake City, Utah 84108

Lower School Stories in Fine Print Magazine

Emma Wellman and Brittney Hansen join host Conor Bentley to record the first episode of princiPALS' third season.

Good things are worth the wait. After a hiatus during the 2021–2022 school year, Rowland Hall’s princiPALS are back in office, ready to help families understand the preschool and elementary years and offer tips on how to raise children who thrive.

In addition to a new season, princiPALS is proud to present a new pal: Beginning School and Lower School Assistant Principal Brittney Hansen ’02 has joined Emma Wellman in the role first held by former Lower School Principal Jij de Jesus. (Jij is now Rowland Hall’s director of capital giving.)

“I’m very excited to join the podcast and help members of our community, and beyond, understand that they have support when it comes to raising young children,” said Brittney, who, in addition working as an educator, is a parent of three preschool- and elementary-aged children. “I truly understand the challenges of parenthood and believe we’re all in this together.”

For me as a parent, it’s time to recommit to giving my kids opportunities to struggle productively—to giving them chances to take risks, to get messy, to feel disappointment, because I know that that’s what they need. We couldn’t give our kids many of these things during the pandemic years, but we owe it to them to get back to this. They really deserve it.—Brittney Hansen ’02, Beginning School and Lower School assistant principal

In the first episode of season three, Emma and Brittney, along with host Conor Bentley ’01, revisit the topic covered in the podcast’s very first episode: resilience. Recorded in fall 2019, princiPALS’ inaugural episode was designed to help parents and caregivers learn what resilience is and how to build the skill in their children. But not long after the episode was recorded, the world changed. As COVID-19 quickly spread, parenting began to look completely different, and our overall tolerance for risk—a necessary component of building resilience—was dropped to make room for safety measures.

Thankfully, we’re now living in a different phase of the pandemic—one that’s ideal for caregivers who want to recalibrate their parenting strategies, including introducing the kind of risks that help build resilience in children.

“During the height of the pandemic, we forgot that it’s actually really good and important for kids to do things that may feel unsafe, like walking to a friend’s house, or going into a store alone, or, for really young children, even navigating something like a tall staircase by themselves,” explained Emma. “This is an important part of childhood.”

Join the princiPALS as they revisit what resilience is, discuss how it’s built in children (and how adults can keep their fears in check while building it), and remind listeners of the many benefits of this life skill—like tenacity, endurance, adaptability, and purposefulness—that make the work worthwhile.

“For me as a parent, it’s time to recommit to giving my kids opportunities to struggle productively—to giving them chances to take risks, to get messy, to feel disappointment, because I know that that’s what they need,” said Brittney. “We couldn’t give our kids many of these things during the pandemic years, but we owe it to them to get back to this. They really deserve it.”

Check out “Rebuilding Resilience after COVID” (along with other episodes of the princiPALS podcast), available now on Rowland Hall's website, Apple Podcasts, and Stitcher.


Rowland Hall fourth grader Sophie L. had a poem published in the FRIENDS of the Great Salt Lake fall/winter 2022 newsletter.

This September, when Rowland Hall’s fourth graders took a field trip to Ensign Peak, located in the foothills near downtown Salt Lake City, student Sophie L. wasn’t expecting to be inspired by the experience.

But as Sophie looked across the Salt Lake Valley—the Wasatch Mountains standing rugged to the east, the city unfolding below, the Great Salt Lake glittering in the west—she wanted to somehow capture the view before her. The students were given time at the peak to write and draw, so Sophie began to weave together lines about the landscape. Though she’d never written a poem before, she had expressed herself in a similar way through songwriting. “I like the way rhymes sound,” she explained.

As Sophie worked, she found herself especially inspired by the Great Salt Lake, which features prominently in the fourth grade’s Utah studies this year, and she wanted her poem to call attention to the urgent need to save the lake. Once the poem was completed, Sophie decided to share it with her writing tutor, who asked permission to show the piece to a neighbor who is a member of FRIENDS of Great Salt Lake, a local organization with a mission to “preserve and protect the Great Salt Lake ecosystem and to increase public awareness and appreciation of the Lake through education, research, advocacy, and the arts.” After reading the poem, the member asked for Sophie’s permission to publish it in an upcoming FRIENDS newsletter, which she granted. Her poem recently appeared in the organization’s fall/winter 2022 newsletter.

"Sophie's perspective is integral to our mission to preserve and protect the Great Salt Lake ecosystem," said Holly Simonsen, membership and programs director of FRIENDS of Great Salt Lake, who said Sophie's words will be read by more than 700 subscribers, in addition to those who receive the newsletter during outreach events or access it online. "We need as many voices as possible to join our chorus of concern. Sophie has given us an incredible gift; her words will certainly help educate and inspire others."

Sophie's poem beautifully provides a glimpse of life in the Salt Lake Valley, and reminds readers of the importance of protecting Great Salt Lake for generations to come.

When asked for her reaction to her poem being published in the newsletter, Sophie said, “I felt really good. I like writing, but I don’t really share my writing with other people.”

We’re thrilled she did, though, as the poem, written through Sophie’s unique perspective, beautifully provides a glimpse of life in the Salt Lake Valley, and reminds readers of the importance of protecting Great Salt Lake for generations to come.

“It’s this really nice place, and we still want to have this place to look at,” said Sophie.

With Sophie’s permission, we’re proud to share her poem, “Our Great Salt Lake,” with the Rowland Hall community.

Our Great Salt Lake
By Sophie L., Age 9

I love this place, our Great Salt Lake
The mountains they moan, they quake
They seem as if they are watching us
When in the car or on the bus
Each year weather changes form
From snowy, medium to warm
And every morning when I wake
I see this place, our Great Salt Lake
The wind brushes against my face
And then it leaves without a trace
It is a thing I cannot break
This is my home, my Great Salt Lake
Save our lake!

Student Voices

A Rowland Hall fourth and eleventh grader walk the shore of the Great Salt Lake in Utah.

On September 21, a line of Rowland Hall buses pulled up to Great Salt Lake State Park and dropped off a group of fourth- and eleventh-graders, who began making their way to the shoreline.

It was a longer walk than it used to be. For years, Great Salt Lake has been shrinking, and in recent months there’s been an increased outcry to protect the lake. And it’s not just adults who want to find solutions to the possible loss of one of the state’s most renowned landmarks. On this sunny fall day, the Rowland Hall students—who had the chance to come together thanks to Beyond the Classroom, an annual Upper School event that engages students with the greater Salt Lake community and its natural surroundings—were focused on taking away inspiration from the lake to power their own Great Salt Lake projects this year.

Kids are really motivated by problems and love to solve them. They think outside the box, they’re creative, they take chances adults won’t.—Tyler Stack, fourth-grade teacher

For the fourth graders, the day was extra special, as it was a chance to get personally familiar with the lake that will play a prominent role in their classrooms this year. While a study of waterways has always been part of Rowland Hall’s Utah studies curriculum, the pressing issues of Great Salt Lake, which many lower schoolers are well aware of, have given the fourth-grade team—Marianne Love, Cheryl Chen, Haas Pectol, and Tyler Stack—a natural opportunity to help students connect classroom learning to real-world conversations, delve into the role we all play in protecting our shared natural resources in the desert we call home, and search for solutions.

“Kids are really motivated by problems and love to solve them, and it’s cool to get their ideas about a bigger issue,” said Tyler. “They think outside the box, they’re creative, they take chances adults won’t. Maybe someone will think of a solution no one has thought of.” And reminding kids that they can make a difference also helps connect them to their community. “It gives them pride in where they live, and ownership and stewardship,” said Marianne.

A Rowland Hall fourth and eleventh grader explore the area around the Great Salt Lake.

The trip to Great Salt Lake allowed students to begin to connect to the lake as they discovered what about it most appealed to them and made them excited to learn—like why the lake is salty or what story its exposed waterlines tell. With the support of their Upper School buddies, they were asked to see, think, and wonder about the lake as they explored. “We want them to think about why they think we should save the Great Salt Lake, not just ideas they hear from adults or teachers,” said Tyler.

After visiting the lake, the students, with the help of their buddies, created slideshows that highlighted their areas of interest—the jumping-off point of research projects they will work on over the year. These slideshows also opened the door to another opportunity: the chance to present at Aridity and Great Salt Lake, a community discussion on water in the West held at Rowland Hall on October 12. Three students volunteered to speak, excited to share with a larger audience what they had learned and why it was important.

Everyone can help.—Hadley R., fourth grade

“I wanted them to know about how much the Great Salt Lake was drying up,” said Hadley R., who also wanted to remind attendees that they can make a difference. “Everyone can help,” she added.

These fourth-grade presenters also wanted to remind the group that many lives depend on the lake. Millie C., who is fascinated by Great Salt Lake’s well-known Black Rock and the creatures who call it home, shared, “I wanted them to walk away thinking about things near the Great Salt Lake.”

Fourth graders will continue to build on this early Great Salt Lake work with upcoming projects, including writing persuasive letters about the lake to state representatives (as well as visiting the Utah State Capitol during the General Session in January) and presenting their research to a panel of community experts. It’s certainly an exciting year to be a Rowland Hall fourth grader, and our school community is looking forward to seeing the many ways these students will inspire others, drive important conversations, and contribute to solutions to protect our shared home.

“This is a great place to live, and we want to keep it that way,” said Marianne.

Authentic Learning

High school students wave to the camera on the first day of school

Rowland Hall is excited to welcome students back to our two campuses for the 2022–2023 school year.

The first days of school are always exciting, and this year was no exception. As students and families arrived on Wednesday, August 24, they were greeted by an enthusiastic team of faculty and staff, and had the chance to say hello to friends, old and new. Some of our youngest learners also got to meet Roary, our school mascot, who was ready to give high-fives and pose for pictures as students made their way to class. Students also had the chance to come together this week at events like the Lower School's first community gathering of the year and the all-school Convocation.

Below, please enjoy some of the images captured over the first few days of school.

Back to School


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