At the age of four, children already have an extensive listening vocabulary and a sophisticated knowledge of spoken language and its underlying grammar. This information is learned rather than taught. The school's task is to enhance and extend the child's ability to listen and speak, and to teach the child to read the ideas of others as well as to express his/her own ideas. Children in Early Childhood learn by doing. Children expand their receptive and expressive language by telling stories and engaging in conversations and class discussions with teachers and peers. Teachers read to children every day. Students develop letter recognition through games and stories. In a systematized progression, the children focus on handwriting skills and begin writing stories using their developing phonemic awareness. Varied classroom experiences provide the basis for the acquisition of these skills. In addition, students have a library class each week and they also meet with the Head of Early Childhood to learn about authors and explore literature.
Teachers incorporate math into lessons during dedicated math periods and as part of other classroom activities. Children learn math concepts through counting games, manipulatives and interactive problem-solving. An introduction to patterning, numeracy, classification, and sorting establishes a foundation for future math study. Through hands-on guided exploration, children become problem solvers using basic skills such as adding, subtracting, measuring and estimating.
There are two teachers in each section of about 16 children. An occupational therapist visits regularly and is on call for advice and consultation. A speech screening is conducted for every Kindergartener. A school psychologist visits the classrooms on a regular basis and is available for parent meetings. The psychologist also holds parenting workshops throughout the year.
A key component of the classroom experience is instilling respect and consideration for the ideas and feelings of others. Individual accomplishments are shared, fostering pride in one's own work and the work of one's classmates.