The Preschool, nestled in a home built in the 1940s, is nothing short of a magical, nurturing and treasured place for children from all backgrounds to come as they are and feel at home. The Preschool was founded with the idea of providing an environment for children to explore the world around them through play. The Country School Preschool distinguishes itself through small class sizes and team teaching, which provides the opportunity for a myriad of individualized experiences for young children. A nurturing environment that values cooperation, respect, and diversity provides a haven for preschoolers to begin their schooling with confidence and enjoyment.
Our Preschool thrives on providing children with opportunities to explore, experiment and collaborate with their peers as they engage in activities and manipulate materials that promote socialization, higher-order thinking skills, and pretend play. Our play-based emergent curriculum offers teachers and children the chance to work collaboratively to connect the interests of the children to real-world experiences and lessons in the classroom. We recognize the unique skills and abilities of each student and focus intently on educating the “whole child,” including their emotional needs, social growth, physical development and cognitive capabilities.
Art for preschool children is a creative process that allows for choice, exploration and imaginative expression in a pleasant and supportive atmosphere. Because we actively encourage individuality and free expression, each child’s artwork is unique and recognizably different from the others.
These process (not product) goals are best reached not only through traditional preschool techniques such as painting, molding clay and finger painting, but also through collective classroom art projects that may be carried on for as long as the children require to complete their masterpiece. We approach art activities differently based on the developmental level and interest of children, and emphasize the process of their creation rather than the final product. Art in preschool provides children a means in which they can think creatively, use their imagination as they develop a sense of individuality and use their social, physical and cognitive abilities.
At The Country School, we appreciate and value children’s innate curiosity and desire to explore the world around them. We believe that through active participation with peers, experimentation with natural materials and an ongoing investigation of their environment, children can construct their own knowledge and enhance their problem-solving and social interaction capabilities. Science activities are designed to encourage observation, comparison, exploration, testing, inquiry and critical thinking. Children’s senses are stimulated while they engage in a wide variety of activities that support understanding of the physical world around them; developing concepts of sorting, measuring, and classifying; discovering a science vocabulary and observing similarities, differences and changes.
Preschoolers are naturally self-motivated and active explorers who learn best through discovery and personal experience with hands-on materials in their environment. We create opportunities that allow children to learn through direct experiences such as sorting, comparing and classifying. Hands-on lessons take learning a step further, rather than having children acquire math skills in a rote fashion. We do not use duplicated sheets (dittos and workbooks) in any of the math activities because they are not considered a tangible vehicle for learning that children can engage with. The math activities we present reflect the diverse needs of preschool children, some of whom may still rely on their senses to learn about the world and others who have mastered number recognition and symbols. Our math curriculum promotes the development of mathematical vocabulary, awareness and an understanding of real world uses for foundation math concepts and geometry.
During the preschool years, a child’s language development accelerates as their vocabularies increase and their early literacy skills begin to emerge. Our preschool curriculum focuses on a language experience approach that immerses children in an environment of formal and informal language. Finger plays, poetry, daily discussions, experience charts and creating books enhance the development of children’s receptive and expressive language skills. Children gradually develop their ability to learn how to read and write as their understanding of purposeful reading and writing grows. We provide age appropriate early literacy lessons that will increase children’s print awareness and knowledge, provide accessibility and availability of materials that promote reading and writing, encourage reading and writing as natural extensions of children’s desire to communicate in their world, and present opportunities for children to take part in meaningful literacy experiences where they can feel confident in their emerging abilities as early readers and writers.
Providing children with the opportunity to engage in pretend play gives them the chance to reenact reality in a safe and comfortable environment that recognizes and respects their interests and skills. Dramatic play not only helps facilitate creativity but also strengthens growth in cognitive, social, emotional, physical and language development. At The Country School, we provide children with a collection of opportunities to use imaginative play to extend their interests and understand their world through imitation.
At The Country School, we place an emphasis on social and emotional development and how to foster positive, meaningful and empathetic relationships, as emotional competence can be considered the key to strong social skills. During all facets of the preschool program, we incorporate important skills that will encourage positive social behavior among all children, while enabling them to label their emotions and interpret others, regulate their impulses, practice understanding different perspectives and role playing, and understand the causes and effects of feelings.
The teachers act as guides and role models to encourage the development of problem-solving techniques that provide many opportunities for children to learn independently and in cooperation with their fellow peers. In addition, we set clear and easy-to-understand guidelines to promote success and confidence at all levels.