Early Childhood (PreK - 1st Grade)

The Early Childhood curriculum is based on the belief that each child is a competent, eager learner who has already made many discoveries about the world. Our teachers provide an environment rich with oppportunities, and nurture each child's ability to grow and develop emotionally, intellectually, and physically. We strive to affirm and stretch each child's individual potential, while helping her or him to understand the benefits and responsibilities of belonging to a group. Together, we develop a community of learners with classroom routines that build a safe and nurturing setting in which children feel comfortable taking risks in their learning.

The development of social and emotional skills provide the framework for children to get the most out of any learning experience. Early Childhood students come to school with a wide range of knowledge and skills, and our teachers are experts in building on what they have already learned, while also introducing new concepts.

Teachers use the Project Approach to engage students in dynamic investigations about high-interest topics, tapping into the passions and curiosities of a particular class, while assessing how a topic will further the students' understanding of themselves and the world in which they live. Thus, students take an active role in their learning as they frame questions, propose ideas and strategies for research, conduct field work, and build a repertoire of ways to consolidate and share their understandings. Recent prekindergarten and kindergarten topics have included a study of breads around the world, rocks and minerals, construction, weather, and transportation.

Classrooms are print-rich environments, inspiring and supporting students as they create their own books about field trips, read recipes, act out stories, and write messages to family and friends. Reading in prekindergarten and kindergarten is about getting meaning, and writing is about giving meaning. As First Graders, students read independently, with a partner, in a small group, with the whole class, and with teachers during daily read-alouds. To encourage comprehension, students discuss and write about what they are reading - characters, setting, and other details. Teachers approach reading instruction on an individual level, tailoring reading activities for small groups of children.

Early Childhood students use mathematics as a tool to explore and describe their environment: figuring out how much snack to set out, or which block will fit into a structure, voting and taking surveys, creating patterns with shells, taking attendance, and cooking. First Graders continue to develop number sense - a building block to understanding more complex mathematical concepts. With a focus on problem-solving, First Graders are presented with number-based problems and given opportunities to solve them in ways that make sense to them. They then share strategies in a group, developing flexible thinking for future problem-solving.

First Grade topics of study include patterns, balance and motion, and the life cycles of plants and animals. The emphasis is on discovery and recognition of patterns through observations, experimentation, and discussion.