Pre-primary: Ages 2 – 4
Young children seek to understand, create and connect with others and with the world around them. In the Pre-primary program, we encourage this innate motivation to explore and learn by listening and responding to children’s questions and ideas, offering dynamic environments and inviting materials that allow children to engage all of their senses, and creating opportunities for collaboration, discussion and meaningful relationships.
Our Pre-primary program is a place where young children:
- Experience school as a space that is both for and by them, encouraging a sense of ownership and agency in relation to their immediate world.
- Know that their ideas are valued and can be realized, even if it takes more than one try to make that happen.
- Deepen their awareness of themselves - what they love and believe, what they bring from their own world into the classroom.
- Learn to value being part of a community - considering other perspectives, building friendships, and developing a flexible, respectful and caring attitude towards others.
- Develop a nuanced understanding of materials and their possibilities, both in terms of their own properties and how they can be combined and transformed to express thoughts and feelings.
- Explore and expand their vision of what is possible in our world - through imagination, difference, even conflict.
While our goals for children from the 2s through the 4/5s remain consistent, our approach throughout the three years of the program is a progression that builds on previous experiences and evolves along with children’s increasingly complex and robust capacity for expression, collaboration and independence.
The world of the two year old is rich with discovery, where each moment or focus of their attention is as compelling as the next. While two year olds may look small in the outside world, they are in fact quite big. They have big ideas, big feelings and a deep well of curiosity about themselves, other people and the world. They are open to learning and thinking in ways that are surprising and new to us, and are constantly making connections and meaning about what they are noticing. In the 2s program we encourage play as a form of expression, whether with clay, paint, water, dramatic play or other open-ended and inspiring materials. 2s teachers will establish a clear sense of routine and expectations in the classroom from the beginning of the school year, helping children to develop the sense of comfort and trust that will allow them to freely explore, create and play. Music and singing are an essential part of the program and are seen as a way to unify the group, share a common language, facilitate transitions and engage in the joy of creating music together. Teachers recognize and foster moments of interaction and connection throughout the day, supporting children to express their needs and wants and be aware of others.
The year from three to four is one of tremendous growth and change, as children embark on the transition from toddlerhood to early childhood. With their expanding language abilities, they are brimming with questions and insatiable curiosity and engage in more complex play and social relationships. This rich play of three year olds often weaves together their emerging ideas about the world, characters or phrases from beloved stories, and their own hopes, fears, struggles and joys. Nurturing this type of play is the heart of the 3s program, as we support children to invent, solve problems, represent their world, tell stories and learn about themselves and one another through compelling play scenarios and engaging materials.
The 4/5s classrooms buzz with focused engagement as children discuss, create and learn together. Four year olds are able to use their expanded language abilities and awareness of the world to have meaningful conversations and create increasingly complex representations of their ideas. Their growing attention span and ability to collaborate can lead to exciting investigations and projects that they may work on over a period of time. Four year olds also have a more developed understanding of themselves and others, which allows them to forge deeper relationships and explore essential aspects of identity, friendships and groups.
Our 4/5s program is designed to nurture these emerging strengths and abilities, presenting opportunities for children to build independence, take risks, express their thinking and practice authentic collaboration and problem-solving. Curriculum experiences are built on teachers’ observations of children’s play, interests and curiosity as they guide children to pursue their ideas and questions, both individually and in groups, through a variety of materials and modes of expression. Passion for stories and narrative, playful engagement with language, curiosity about counting and quantity, and principles of scientific observation and wondering are all integrated into their days, along with exposure to conventional elements of early literacy and mathematics. At all moments we seek to amplify children’s invigorating sense of discovery and joy in learning, recognizing that children learn most deeply when they are truly invested in their experiences.