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. Students meet with the Head of Early Childhood each week to learn about authors and explore literature.
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.
Teachers incorporate math into lessons during dedicated math periods and as part of other 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 15 children. An occupational therapist visits regularly and is on call for advice and consultation. A speech screening is conducted for every Kindergartener. School counselors visit the classroom on a regular basis.
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.