Pre-Primary Program: age 2-4
The pre-primary program at Blue School buzzes with activity. Our days open with a morning meeting, where children greet one another, sing, and review plans for the day. Then they are off: pursuing their group's growing study of construction or plants, moving through light and space in the Glow Hall, learning letters and the ways they make words, and creating sculptures with wood, exploring color with paint. During the course of the day, children may discover how letters can be made with their bodies, how water changes and moves, or how stories can be developed dramatically through make-believe. They might practice a quiet moment in movement, listen wide-eyed to a read aloud, or build an animal rescue center with our soft blue building blocks, which were invented by advisory board member David Rockwell, who also thoughtfully designed Blue School's building renovation. They discuss, investigate, discover, play, get to know one another, learn to resolve conflicts, and grow.
During these years, we seek to teach children that school is home base for their explorations. At Blue School, teachers pose positive challenges and respond to children's ideas - using their perspectives to create meaningful studies of the world. A question about a colorful window becomes a study of stained glass; a look out at the skyscrapers blossoms into a study of buildings. In our classrooms each day, children learn from "hands to heads," turning real-life experiences with materials, relationships and stories into ideas and concepts.
Each classroom and each child's work are comprised of three core components:
A great deal of children's work at this age is self-expressive and creative and, as a result, the arts and materials curriculum is at the very center of each child's experience. The classroom studio environment is enriched further by visits from our music, movement and dramatic arts teacher, depending on their age level.
Self and Social Learning:
In our 2s, children attend with a parent or caregiver, and are introduced to social and learning experiences alongside a trusted grown-up. In our 3s program, children explore their independence and autonomy, begin to build their own relationships with others, negotiate conflicts, and establish bonds. Teachers support the negotiation, conflict resolution, and relationship building skills that children develop as they grow through this developmental phase. As children move into the 4s, the concept of community takes hold, and they become increasingly responsible for shaping their classroom culture with their friends.
In each year, teachers support children in how to think about their interactions with others, and how to help children move through new social triumphs and challenges that are all part of a natural progression of growing up.
Building Skills and Understanding:
Our pre-primary program has an academic goal specific to each year. This corresponds to the types of learning experiences children will have.
Our 2s program is built as a materials exploration laboratory, supporting self and social development alongside a close grown-up who can support and engage each child in their creative endeavors. In our 3s program, teachers support children to further become the protagonists of their own learning. A great deal of the work in the 3s classroom in based on play, developing big questions, and exploring the world with their bodies, both independently and with others. When children reach the 4s, their curiosities begin to extend to the conventions of the world around them, and teachers follow these interests with emergent work with letters, words and numbers. They also surface and explore questions with children, and naturally pose more complex challenges such as: an artistic response to a story; a frog in the form of the letter F; or graphing friends' ideas and interests.