(Pre-K, Kindergarten & 1st Grade)
Young children learn through exploration and play. Our early childhood program provides a unique responsive classroom experience for children through hands-on, discovery-based methods of learning and interaction with peers. Our students develop strong academic skills and knowledge and a curiosity for learning. Most importantly, they have fun while they grow in resilience, creative thought, and resourcefulness. Classrooms are joyous places for learning, equipped with centers for literacy, science, engineering, manipulative work, sensory play, and exploration.
Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten students enjoy learning through purposeful play and constructive learning activities. They learn skills and concepts in math, literacy, handwriting, social studies, and science in one-to-one or small groups. Upon graduating from our Early Childhood program, every child is prepared for the more structured academic experience found in our lower school.
Highlights of Our Program
Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten students share responsibility for themselves, their peers, their classroom, their teachers, and their community. This participation teaches leadership, responsibility, perseverance, resilience, and stewardship and helps to build a sense of excitement, belonging, and ownership of the classroom.
Our students come together each morning for a Responsive Classroom-based meeting. During this time students greet each other warmly, engage in sharing and community-building activities, and read a morning message composed by the teacher. The morning message is an important means for developing students’ abilities in using language by encouraging them to listen and talk to others within the group, and begin to build their knowledge of reading and writing. Morning meeting activities also show students what it means to be part of a learning community as they take turns, help each other, and appreciate the accomplishments of their peers.
Special Area Classes
Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten students attend special classes weekly, including art, Spanish, engineering and design, library/research, music, and physical education. Students also attend all-school assemblies, and enjoy outdoor excursions and frequent field trips.
Writing and Reading Workshop
Students engage in balanced literacy activities that are designed to build their reading and writing skills, through daily writing activities, conferencing regularly with teachers, listening to stories, participating in small group guided reading groups, and dramatic play. Literacy skill acquisition is developmental so students accelerate at their own pace while still being challenged to meet benchmarks and beyond.
Our students learn math concepts through hands-on activities, preparing them to easily transition to the Math in Focus (Singapore Math) curriculum that is used beginning in first grade. Students are exposed to all types of math (number sense, number stories, measurement, money, geometry, estimation, sequencing, classification and patterns), and conceptual understanding is further developed through doing individual work with the teacher or in small groups.
Fine Motor Skills Building
Students practice hand and finger activities that support the development of fine motor skills. Activities such as sewing, small object manipulation, cutting, working with clay, and using tools to screw, lace, or string beads help our students work on dexterity and finger strength. These activities are the basis for developing proper pencil grasps for use in handwriting practice.
Twice daily, students participate in active and creative play outdoors with their peers. They spend time each day at the NEST where they can enjoy the dirt digging area, mud kitchens, waterworks, climbing stations, and play field. This also provides an opportunity for teachers to encourage socialization and to mentor students in using appropriate problem-solving skills.
Lunch and Snack
Eating together in the classroom provides time for socialization and practicing proper mealtime conversation and table manners.