The Nursery and Kindergarten years set the tone for learning at Town.
In colorful classrooms, filled with inviting materials, children blossom intellectually and socially. Teachers encourage and challenge them to make choices and take risks, try new activities, and explore friendships, but are always nearby for support and comfort. Much of the learning is organized around concrete themes that have relevance and meaning for young children—school and family life, transportation, nature—enabling them to better interpret and find their place in the world. Engaging them in developing these themes, children are able to connect books, songs, discussions, artwork and excursions, and to apply their growing skills.
Together on one floor, with kitchens in their classrooms and play roofs outside their doors, the Nursery and Kindergarten classes have a cozy niche of their own but can also enjoy the many resources of the school.
The Nursery 3 class transitions from home, develops skills.
The Nursery 3 class completes the transition from home, learning the routines of group life and finding a comfortable place among their classmates. Because children this age are sensory learners, they are provided with a wide variety of materials for exploration including, blocks, paint, sand, water and manipulatives. Activities are designed to foster the individual’s developing skills and also focus on being able to share materials, take turns and begin to listen, as well as to express their feelings and ideas.
Nursery 4 students can work more independently but are also ready to collaborate with their peers.
The Nursery 4 class uses many of the same materials but with greater skill and in more complex ways. They have become more competent with language and can dictate stories, participate in group discussions and solve problems together. These youngsters can work more independently but are also ready to collaborate with their peers on group block building projects, plan story reenactments with friends, or construct a wooden house for the class guinea pig. They assume greater responsibility for their classroom through assigned daily jobs and can direct their increasing attention spans and developing work habits to delve into selected curriculum units. In addition, they are ready to move out from their classroom to go to the gym, the music and dance studios, and the library.
In Kindergarten, the core approach to curriculum is formally introduced.
Kindergarten activities in language arts, math, science, social studies and the arts are integrated in a yearlong study of community—the school’s and the Yorkville neighborhood surrounding Town. Starting with the geography of our building and the location of key places, children identify the elements essential to a community and compare our school services with those in the neighborhood. Visits to the post office, the bank, a fire station and local library give students the opportunity to develop their observational skills and introduce them to the many ways of collecting and recording information (e.g. charts, maps, graphs, drawings, block buildings, trip books, dioramas and murals).
The daily schedule allows time for both small group and individual work to reinforce and expand children’s reading and math skills as they emerge. Classroom teachers collaborate with the reading and math specialists to organize that portion of the program and to monitor individual skill development.
Parents and teachers working together
Nursery/Kindergarten parents and teachers are usually in close touch in informal ways and a weekly newsletter is sent home for general class information. Parents are also invited to participate in various classroom activities. Formal conferences are held twice during the year to review children’s cognitive and social development and a written narrative report is sent home in June.