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A Conversation with Lower School Principal Monica Padmanabha










Nardin Academy Lower School Principal Monica Padmanabha shares her expertise and vision for the Academy’s premier Kindergarten through Fourth grade program.

Why is a strong Kindergarten educational experience essential in starting a lifetime of learning?

Outside of a child's parents and guardians being their first teachers, Lower School educators play a huge role in a child's life. Kindergarten, especially, serves as the foundation for a child's formal education. Since this may be the initial educational experience for a child, one must strive to make this a positive, enriching, and engaging experience for them.

What makes the Kindergarten program at Nardin exceptional?

The Kindergarten program is truly personalized.  The amazing Kindergarten team knows each child individually and can address their needs according to their readiness. The "Kindergators,” as they are lovingly referred to spend their day in a joyous environment where new adventures in learning happen daily.

Nardin Lower School prepares students academically and personally. What is the Nardin Lower School difference in achieving this?

Nardin recognizes the importance that social emotional learning plays in a child's total educational experience. Schools are no longer about test scores, rote memorization and teacher directed classrooms. Nardin believes in encompassing the whole child in their learning experience and understands how one's feelings of self are critically relevant to one's learning.  

How does Nardin Lower School build and promote community?

In the Lower School, we refer to our students as "friends" and not "boys and girls.” This is a part of our positive communal language. We gather as a Lower School community for monthly meetings where all friends in grades K-4 and their teachers are present. The meeting highlights curricular happenings and celebration of life while encouraging the students to develop their public speaking skills. We also have a character education initiative entitled "Giving Gator" that focuses on those friends who are always "giving of themselves.” They do not do it for a reward, they do it because it is in their nature.

Nardin Lower School has rich programming to complement its academics. How would you define this?

The program in the Lower School is student-centered where the learning is experiential, hands-on, and relevant to our world. For any individual to truly learn something, they must be a part of the process and provided opportunities to work through the process at their readiness level.

Parents of K-8 students, now is your chance to take a private tour of Nardin Academy. Contact Danielle Dodman, Director of Admissions, at 716.881.6262 x1030 or via email at

Monica Padmanabha earned her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education with a Concentration in Mathematics from the State University of New York College at Buffalo, Master of Education with a Concentration in Educational Administration from the State University of New York at Buffalo and Master of Science in Education with a Concentration in Curriculum from the State University of New York College at Buffalo.

Prior to her position at Nardin, Monica served in leadership and teaching positions at The Park School in Amherst, New York, and the Convent of the Sacred Heart in New York City. Monica is a New York State Certified Teacher in PreK-6 and brings more than twenty-five years of classroom and administrative experience for grades K-8.