At Great Hearts Irving Lower School, we live to love and pursue truth, goodness, and beauty, to pursue truth, goodness, and beauty alongside our students, and to set them on a path lived in lifelong love of these the highest goods of human life. The chief way that we foster the love of truth, goodness, and beauty in our students is through the work of our teachers who embody a life lived in pursuit of knowledge and virtue. But it is in our rich and rigorous, liberal arts curriculum in which one will find the truth, goodness, and beauty we love so much, and it is the visible and energetic love for that curriculum and content which our teachers daily model for our students and encourage them to imitate.

In In Tune with the World: A Theory of Festivity, philosopher Josef Pieper writes:

The inner structure of real festivity has been stated in the clearest and tersest possible fashion by [John] Chrysosotom: “Where love rejoices, there is festivity.”

If celebration is about a community rejoicing in what together they love most, it is only right that, here at Great Hearts Irving Lower School, our curriculum should reside at the center of our yearly festivals.

Since our very first year in 2015, grade level curriculum celebrations have been a core part of our school and student culture. Rather than Valentine’s Day or other holiday parties, instead, our festivities are centered around our course of study. Each year, Kindergarten hosts their Community Helpers celebration where students delight in seeing their hallway decorated like “Main Street, U.S.A.”! At the conclusion of their History unit on the magical land of Egypt, first graders dress up like Pharaohs, make golden collar necklaces, mummify apples, snack on dates and cucumbers, and practice writing hieroglyphs. Similar celebrations with themed refreshments, crafts, and experiences happen on Ancient Greece in Second Grade, Ancient Rome in Third Grade, the Middle Ages in Fourth, and the Renaissance in Fifth. In recent years, it has been a special treat to host these six traditional festivals on the same day in January as one big schoolwide celebration we call Western Civilization Day.

Other historical periods and literature selections that lie at the center of traditional celebrations throughout the grade levels include “Around the World” Day in Kindergarten, Animal Kingdom Day in First, Pioneer Day in Second, Explorers in Third Grade, Texas History in Fourth Grade, and A Wrinkle in Time in Fifth. But perhaps the biggest celebration of all is our annual Storybook Festival in October, in which the entire school comes together to celebrate our shared love of books, reading, and the magic of stories and storytelling.

These experiences, flowing from and upholding our curriculum and learning unite our school community and deepen our understanding and appreciation of the world around us. Parents are invited to support our teachers in putting on our fantastic curricular celebrations by volunteering as well as donating to each grade level’s celebrations fund to help us cover the cost of these enriching events and special visitors.

To give of your time or talent, or for questions about curriculum celebrations, we encourage you to reach out to our Dean of Culture Mary Pantin at


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