Program

  • Early Childhood: Pre-K-K
  • Elementary: Grades 1-6
  • Middle School: Grades 7 & 8
  • Before and After School Care
  • After School Enrichment Programs
  • School Vacation Programs
  • Program_earlychildhood
    The focus for our youngest students is on learning through play. We believe that by allowing children to explore their world through creative play, their natural sense of curiosity and wonder will lead them to learn in developmentally meaningful and lasting ways. By guiding young children to participate as responsible members of a classroom, we introduce them to the social skills they will need to succeed in school and beyond.

    Approach to learning

    We know from our years of experience, as well as from volumes of documented evidence, that young children need a nurturing environment that emphasizes hands-on play and carefully supervised social interactions. An overemphasis on academics at this stage is developmentally inappropriate and results in stress and frustration for children. Engaging children so that they love coming to school and are eager to learn is the surest path to long-term academic, and lifetime, success.

    For example, rather than ending a morning’s exploration in our gardens to bring children inside to have a math class, we count together out loud. How many of us are entering the greenhouse? How many tomatoes on the plant are starting to turn red? If we want to pick enough strawberries for each of us to have three, how many do we need? This exploration easily becomes a science class as well. Where does a plant come from? What do seeds need to germinate and grow? What can we observe about the life cycle of a butterfly? The children’s excitement and engagement stays with them when they return to the classroom to hear stories, draw pictures, and sing songs that reflect the morning’s experiences–activities that develop their literacy, small-motor, memory, self-regulation, and social skills.

    Assessment

    Teachers assess students by careful observation and interaction, and they use our learning goals to write narrative progress reports for parents twice a year. Parent-teacher conferences are scheduled four times per year and are also available upon request throughout the school year.

    In September we begin enrolling children who have turned three by the prior June 1. Our preschool program is designed for children who are three and four years old; it is expected that children enrolled prior to turning four will spend two years in the program.

    Enrollment and schedules

    For children who enter the program at age three, we offer a choice of half or full days. The half-day program runs three days per week (Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday) from 8:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. Children bring a snack to eat in the mornings, along with a lunch and drinks.

    The full-day program is available to all children aged 4-5 years old by September 1, and runs from 8:30 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. The three-day program is offered Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday and is available to children aged 3.3-4 by September 1. Children bring their lunch, drinks, and morning snacks from home.

    Extended-day program

    Our extended-day program (EDP) offers a variety of activities, play time, and healthy snacks. In addition to before- and after-school care, we run programs during the school year on curriculum days (when there are no classes and teachers plan curriculum) and during the February and April school vacation weeks. An after-school enrichment program providing instruction in music, the visual arts, and athletics is generally available at school during EDP for additional fees.

    Admission process

    Once parents submit an application, children are invited for an admissions visit. The visit usually lasts about an hour and is designed to give our teachers an opportunity to observe each child in a number of different settings (for example, during free play time, while a story is being read, and as a participant in a guided activity). Our goal is to make the best possible match between our program and each child.

    If a child is currently enrolled in another program, we ask for progress reports and/or feedback from the child’s current teacher.

    Admission decisions are generally communicated within a week of the visit, provided all materials have been received.

    Related pages:

    The Value of Play

    The Importance of Play (Video)

    A Day in the Life of the TCS Pre-School Program (Video)

     

    Books we recommend to parents of Pre-K – Kindergarteners:

    • Touchpoints Three to Six Your Child’s Emotional and Behavioral Development
      by T. Berry Brazelton, M.D. & Joshua D. Sparrow, M.D.
    • The Hurried Child: Growing Up Too Fast Too Soon (3rd edition)
      by David Elkind
    • The Power of Play: How Spontaneous, Imaginative Activities Lead to Happier, Healthier Children
      by David Elkind
    • Under Deadman’s Skin: Discovering the Meaning of Children’s Violent Play
      by Jane Katch
    • They Don’t Like Me: Lessons on Bullying and Teasing from a Preschool Classroom
      by Jane Katch
    • Bad Guys Don’t Have Birthdays: Fantasy Play at Four
      by Vivian Gussin Paley
    • You Can’t Say You Can’t Play
      by Vivian Gussin Paley
    • The Boy Who Would Be a Helicopter
      by Vivian Gussin Paley and Robert Coles