Beginners, Prep I, and Prep II
Beginners, Prep I, and Prep II comprise our preschool and kindergarten classes for three- to six-year olds. Our early childhood program is characterized by its emphasis on open-ended learning activities that follow the interests of the children, dialogue and cooperation between children, teachers, and parents, and the belief that each child is a strong and competent individual.
Our Prep program features:
Our Prep program features:
- A project-based curriculum that taps into children’s own interests and curiosities and promotes creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills
- Plenty of opportunity for free, open-ended play within an overall flexible structure
- An emphasis on learning how to learn, how to question, and how to communicate
- A spirit of inquiry, curiosity, experimentation, and risk-taking in a safe and supportive atmosphere
- A strong home-school connection, fostered through regular communication and frequent opportunities for classroom visits
- Community involvement and social awareness through service learning projects
- Freedom from imposed mandates, which allows our teachers to teach “in the moment,” guiding classroom activities in accordance with their individual students and their particular setting of time and place
- A technology-rich environment focused on using technology to learn more than learning to use technology
- Multi-modal learning activities, including art, music, dance, dramatization, reading and writing, physical education, and more.
Our Guiding Principles
Children as Collaborators
The Prep department is guided by the belief that children are dynamic participants in their educational experience. We give our young students a very active role in choosing topics and methods of study. With the guidance of their teachers, they engage in projects that incorporate literacy, math, science, art and design, dramatic play, music, and social awareness.
Children and Teachers as Researchers and Co-Creators
Our teachers do not just “hand down” knowledge to their students. Rather, they act as collaborators with their students, guiding and facilitating their learning as individuals and as a group. As their students learn and grow, so do the teachers, who view themselves as active researchers and reflective practitioners.
Children as Communicators
In our early childhood classrooms, learning is documented in other ways than grades and assessments. Children’s daily thoughts, questions, answers, and work are documented by teachers through photography, video and audio recording, journals, portfolios, and displays. These efforts validate children’s thought processes as they work and play, as well as communicate their discoveries with others. Children also take pride and satisfaction in seeing their own learning made visible.
Families as Partners
We believe that school, home, and community work in partnership to promote learning. Our Prep program maximizes this by informing and involving parents in the life of the classroom, by encouraging meaningful collaboration among students, and by enabling children to take part in the greater community through service learning. Furthermore, we encourage students to take responsibility, to make choices, and to solve problems for themselves, while providing a secure, consistent environment for their learning and personal development.
The Environment as a Teacher
In our classrooms, the environment is viewed as another “teacher,” as children learn through their interactions with their surroundings. Classrooms are inviting, child-friendly spaces that reflect the comfort of home. Classroom materials, often reflective of nature, are selected for their ability to stimulate students’ senses and imaginations and are arranged in ways to be orderly and accessible.