Mary K. Chapman Primary School
Academic foundations, intellectual adventures.
In their earliest years, your child is learning how to learn — and the experiences in PreK and Primary School shape their overarching educational trajectory. At Holland Hall, our early learning experts ensure that your child builds the academic foundation — and the foundational relationships with teachers and among peers — they need for the future.
Our Primary School houses PreK through 3rd Grade in unique open-concept classrooms, in which multiple classes within a grade level share separate sections of the same lively space. The sounds of one class’ discussion can be heard in the background of another’s group activity — a layered sensory experience that teaches young minds focus and discipline, preparing them for a world of constantly competing information streams.
The learning environment extends far beyond our airy and welcoming Primary School, to the expansive outdoor classroom of our 162-acre wooded campus, where our students can observe nature, test scientific principles, and make valuable early connections between academic ideas and the world we inhabit.
Meet the Mary K. Chapman Primary School Head, Mr. Bert Bibens.
This past summer, I attended a magnificent leadership conference in Denver for new Primary School Heads. Attendees visited from as far away as San Diego and New York and represented some of the best independent schools in the country. I was encouraged to sum up the Mary K. Chapman Primary School in seven words or less, and this is the phrase that I employed to describe our vibrant environment: “In this special place, we all grow.”
And, it’s true. Every person associated with our Primary School is constantly growing, changing, learning, developing, and becoming all that they can be. This includes our students, who range in age from three-year-old Preschoolers to nine or ten-year-olds completing 3rd Grade. It also implies that our faculty members, parents, administrators, and even grandparents are all experiencing life-long learning, well beyond the confines of the Primary School years!
As a college preparatory school, some might wonder how Holland Hall’s Primary School could possibly reflect that overriding mission. It’s really quite simple. We are laying the bedrock foundation upon which will be built a multi-layered set of curriculum, relationships, and experiences leading to the ultimate goal. Also, the word preparatory means so much more than just getting a student ready for the college years. We are preparing our young people to be great neighbors, great leaders, great spouses, great managers of time, and, last but not least, great citizens.
Our secret, and the secret of all good teachers, is that extensive and in-depth lessons are so wrapped up in fun and excitement that students sometimes do not realize they are learning! It is not unusual for a Holland Hall Primary School student to love reading so much, that, while others might be bored on a long car trip, our boys and girls take several books along, engaging sometimes for hours on end without complaint. Rarely do our parents hear their child say, “I don’t want to go to school today.” Instead, our students often bound out of bed and cannot wait to arrive each morning! After spring break or summertime, most of our students are thrilled to return to their teachers and friends — all in a culture where everyone values education.
The combination of magnificent facilities, the best collection of educators in Oklahoma, and a warmth that reminds many of an extended family, all make the Mary K. Chapman Primary School a stimulating and rewarding place. Borrowing from Disneyland verbiage, our Primary School has been referred to as ‘the happiest place on campus,’ or ‘the Magic Kingdom.’ I have every confidence you will agree!
When you have time for a visit, please stop by and allow us to be your host for a few hours. I know you will enjoy every moment.
Mr. Bert Bibens
Mary K. Chapman Primary School Head