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Frequently Asked Questions


Why do you offer a 4/5 day preschool?

Young children benefit from consistent routines, so attending an early childhood program on sequential days for more than half the week (Monday through Thursday or Friday) makes the home -> school transition easier than in alternate day programs (e.g., M/W/F or T/R) or programs with fewer sequential days (e.g., T/W/R). Many parents question whether their children will be uncomfortable away from home on so many days and whether they will be over-tired. Most are surprised to discover that the children beg to go to school on the weekends! Other parents are concerned that they will not have enough time to do informal educational activities with their children, such as visiting a museum or playing in the park. Again, most find that school holidays and other non-school times are sufficient for these activities, particularly as children mature and need fewer or shorter naps.


Are there opportunities for mixed age interactions?

We believe that both younger and older children have much to gain from mixed age interactions in a variety of contexts. In our preschool, 3 and 4 year old children mix at the Discovery Area centers and on the playground almost every day. At times, they also encounter each other in the children's bathroom and visit each others' classrooms. Preschoolers and kindergartners interact informally in the hallways and bathrooms, but they have no daily interaction time scheduled. Recently, we have been creating more opportunities for the older children to share their learning with the younger children, and vice versa, via visits to each other's classrooms to share songs, stories, and projects. shorter naps.


How do you balance structure and choice?

Balance is the key term in this question. Young children need clear and consistent structure in order to feel secure in their explorations, but they also need variety and choice in order to learn broadly and be creative. We begin each year with explicit discussions and demonstration of the daily routines in each classroom and behavior expectations that are consistent throughout our school. Children practice these until they are comfortable and essentially automatic so that they can devote their full attention and energy to the actions and interactions that will facilitate their development more deeply. During much of the day, children are invited to choose among a wide range of engaging activities at our learning centers. At other times, all the children participate in the same activity at the same time. For example, an educator leads circle time for the whole group, organizes a large motor activity in the gym for everyone, serves snack to the entire class, or takes the group to visit another area of the campus. Even during these whole group activities, children are invited to contribute their unique perspectives, dance in the way they choose, or indicate preference for one drink as opposed to another, as long as they are following the established routine and meeting the behavior expectations. This balance between structure and choice, together with explicit instruction initially and responsive feedback from educators, helps to prepare the children for similar balance in future schooling and life. shorter naps.


Do you offer PreK or Kindergarten or both?

The Children's School kindergarten program serves as BOTH a pre-Kindergarten and a kindergarten, depending on the age and developmental level of the child. Because our December 31st cutoff for enrollment contrasts with most other schools' September cutoffs, children with fall birthdays are typically too young to enter public, private, or parochial kindergartens in the year they are turning 5. For these children, our kindergarten serves as a pre-kindergarten because they will enroll in the kindergarten class of their chosen elementary school in the subsequent year. Many parents of children who turn 5 prior to September also choose to enroll them in our kindergarten. Some are uncertain about placing their children directly into an elementary kindergarten, so they stay in our program and postpone the decision about whether to do another kindergarten year or go directly to 1st grade the following year. Still others are certain that their children will go directly to 1st grade after our kindergarten but choose to keep their children in our program to allow additional growth prior to making a transition or simply because they want their children to experience the full three years of our high quality program. Occasionally, we have space in our kindergarten for a few children from outside the school (i.e., who did not attend our preschool program). These children may fall into any one of the categories described above, depending on their ages and unique circumstances.