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.
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.
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.
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.
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.