Traditions are a very important part of The Elisabeth Morrow School experience and we are delighted to share these with you:

Activity Day: A tradition for more than 25 years, this on-campus event gives first through fourth graders an opportunity for fun and fitness outdoors.

Adventure Week: At the beginning of the school year, middle school students take part in “Challenge by Choice” outdoor educational experiences. Fifth grade students take day trips as well as familiarize themselves with the Morrow House building while sixth, seventh and eighth grade students travel on three-day, two-night trips to explore the outdoors.

Apple Bake Sale: This Little School Special Olympics fundraiser was started in the 1990s by beloved teacher Grace Muller to bring awareness to students with special needs.

Apple Tree Song: All students learn the school song and sing it together at assemblies and other celebrations. The song unifies students, faculty and alumni and promotes the ideal that our students develop strong roots while at EMS, and that they grow in unique and beautiful directions when they leave.

Assembly: Little School (first through fourth grade) and Morrow House (fifth through eighth grade) meet weekly in Assembly to share successes, solidify community values and celebrate students’ many talents. Middle school students wear business attire (Assembly Dress) in acknowledgment of the importance of the event. Periodically, the entire school meets in an All-School Assembly in order to unite the community.

Book Fair: is a spectacular multi-day event for all grade levels that includes presentations by visiting authors, a café and other activities and allows families to purchase books for themselves and to donate to our libraries.

Buddy Day: Throughout the year, students from different grade levels meet as buddies to engage in activities. Older students serve as mentors to their younger buddies while younger students enjoy the opportunity to share their enthusiasm.

Chilton House Sing-along: Weekly sing-alongs have been part of the Chilton House experience for many years and are one of the first community-building experiences for our youngest students.

Cocoa Party: Susan Graham, one of the first kindergarten teachers hired when the school opened its doors in 1930, began the Cocoa Party tradition. The Chilton House librarian invites small groups of students from each of the classrooms to a party in the library. The table is set with a china tea set, cloth napkins, tablecloth, special snacks and, of course, hot cocoa. For each of their years in Chilton House, students listen to a story, have a quiet conversation and enjoy their special time together.

Concert for the Chicks and Little School Violin Parade: A tradition for more than 20 years, this concert captures the interdisciplinary nature of an EMS education. Originally started as a way for young students to combat self-consciousness by practicing the violin for chicks that are part of their science studies, it is now a performance for friends and family that alumni remember for years to come.

Festival of the Arts: The final major middle school performance of the school year includes a student art show, poetry reading and music by bands, orchestras, ensembles and choral groups.

Field Day: Field Day is a coveted tradition for EMS middle school students during which they demonstrate athletic skills and sportsmanship, develop solidarity among their peers and have fun.

Founder’s Day Carnival: The Middle School Student Council sponsors a fundraising carnival in honor of the school’s founder, Elisabeth Morrow.

Greek Olympics: Sixth grade students write original myths, perform Greek tragedies, participate in sports of the ancient Olympics and other activities as the culmination of their study of ancient Greece.

Handshake: Each day, all students are greeted with a handshake from a school administrator or teacher. The handshake signifies the notion that each student is unique and known by caring adults in school, and that each day has purpose.

Handshake Up: At the conclusion of the year-end Little School concert, fourth graders say goodbye to Lower School are welcomed to middle school by shaking the hand of the Head of School and Lower and Middle School Heads.

Kindergarten Circus: Started in 1934, the Kindergarten Circus is a culminating, developmentally appropriate rite of passage for the kindergartners as they say farewell to Chilton House. The students choose their roles, develop their acts and collaborate. Alumni remember their roles in the Circus for years to come.

Kindergarten Flashlight Picnic: The event is a way of welcoming the parents and the students to participate collectively in the EMS Book Fair. Families are invited to eat picnic style in the kindergarten classrooms, after which students use flashlights to illuminate the pathways up to the Peter Lawrence Gymkhana, where the annual Book Fair is held.

Kindergarten Post Office: Set up in the hallways of Chilton House during February, the Post Office allows children to bring a real-world profession to life by collecting, sorting, stamping and delivering mail in the building and throughout the school. Along with hands-on experience, the students visit the Englewood Post Office.

Maker Day: At this yearly celebration of innovation and creativity, EMS invites the community to join our students in curiosity, entrepreneurship, and family bonding through design, exploration, and craft.

Mary Hawkins Fair: Using simple ideas and materials, children in the early childhood division transform a playground into a fun-filled carnival. The event is named after a long-tenured EMS teacher who was a passionate advocate for the importance of play in children’s lives.

Medieval Day: Sixth grade students dress, eat, dance, sing and perform to cap their study of Medieval Europe.

Peter Rabbit Assembly: The Peter Rabbit Assembly started in the 1970s with a former teacher who integrated music about the beloved Beatrix Potter character into what has now become a first grade cross-curricular study and exciting performance for families and students alike.

Playdowns: Culminating musical performances by instrument, these concerts include the Cello Rock Down, Violin and Viola Playdown, and the Superband Concert.

Waffle House: Several times per year, middle school students display their talents to their peers in this open mic after school event in the style of a “coffeehouse” performance.

Watermelon Picnic: The Picnic is an end-of-the-year celebration for students in Chilton House. The children gather together with the entire building to celebrate their achievements and enjoy this delicious summer treat.

Winter Musical Concerts: These concerts, in both Morrow House and Little School, are held before Winter Break and celebrate holidays throughout the world.