Early childhood students use a wide range of facilities of the larger school each day. In the art studio, they are encouraged to explore techniques and expression through painting, drawing, collage and creating books. They work in clay on both pottery and figurative projects. They learn to organize thoughts into narrative picture telling and progress to producing representational images from their daily experiences and from the natural world that surrounds them.
In the dance studio, students explore rhythm, tempo and elementary vocal and movement skills. Through group singing, dancing, improvisation, music and movement games, the children gain confidence, skill and pleasure in self-expression.
Children are naturally inquisitive about the world around them, and Early Childhood science is designed to satisfy their innate questioning nature by giving them hands-on experience. For instance, while studying whales in Junior Kindergarten, students create large paper whale sculptures to get a sense of their enormity. This study culminates in a visit to the New York Aquarium at Coney Island.
Kindergarteners go to the science lab for weekly classes. They learn about dinosaurs, explore matter and energy, study the solar system and visit the Digitarium (a digitized planetarium). They learn about animal groups, grow plants, and witness caterpillars turn into butterflies, celebrating with a butterfly release in the spring.
Physical Education classes are held in the Early Childhood gymnasium where members of the P.E. department lead the children in activities allowing them to have fun while increasing strength, agility, flexibility, eye-hand and eye-foot coordination and balance. They start with elementary motor skills using balls, hoops, ropes and targets and develop large motor skills through structured and unstructured games and play. The staff emphasizes the importance of safe behavior, fair play, cooperation and kindness. Later, Yoga and Pilates are incorporated to enhance body strength and agility.
Junior Kindergarten and Kindergarten children have many opportunities to share experiences with the entire school community. They eat lunch in the dining room along with the first grade. They attend regularly scheduled classes in the library for story time and to check out books. They meet “Book Buddies” from other divisions who read stories with them each week. Occasionally the children perform in assemblies for the wider school, the JK Variety show being a highlight of the year.