Early Childhood

A Better Standard for Early Childhood

When young learners see education as a place to experiment, create, construct, and connect, they develop a more expansive mindset about what school can offer them. They experience education as a path of discovery, understanding, wonder, and joy.

These ideas are grounded in the Reggio Emilia inspired, project-based teaching and learning practiced at King School, a private school for early childhood education. We encourage our PreKindergarten (starting at age 3) and Kindergarten learners to collaboratively explore intentionally created vibrant classroom spaces where children are actively engaged in the process of learning from the earliest ages.

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Project Learning and the Foundations for Self-Discovery

King uses a project-based teaching and learning approach in our PreKindergarten and Kindergarten classrooms to support the developmental range of our students as part of our private early childhood education program. 

King’s teachers carefully design learning opportunities by listening to students’ ideas and questions and then creating the corresponding curriculum that allows young students to ask questions, gather data, make models, develop hypotheses, and teach others about their learning. 

Academic emphasis areas include language, early literacy development, math, and science. Our teaching teams carefully curate the materials used in our classrooms. Children are encouraged to express their understanding of the world through a multitude of resources, including art supplies, building blocks, pencil and paper, and the tools of a scientist.

 

“We believe that curiosity is a natural ability that children bring to their learning – we encourage students to ask questions, make discoveries, think critically, analyze and solve problems, be good listeners, and have fun being involved in the dynamic process of learning. We value every child and build strong, safe classroom communities where exploration and discovery leads to mastery. ”

— Dr. Sandy Lizaire-Duff, Head of Lower School

 

PreKindergarten

When our youngest learners enter King classrooms at age three or four, they arrive as naturally curious and full of wonder and joy.

As they learn about problems and topics of interest to them, students interact with primary sources and share their knowledge through culminating projects and demonstration. They develop a deeper understanding of the value of learning, the importance of asking questions, and the value of research and inquiry to learn more about the world and about themselves. 

Kindergarten

Kindergarten students and their teachers take research in project work to new heights, as they look across the King campus to understand more about themselves and their school community. 

Project studies include problems and topics of interest to children; students interact with primary sources and share their knowledge through culminating projects and demonstration.  

Through project work, children are encouraged to be academic risk takers in a safe, secure environment. Within the context of a familiar, accepting classroom, they also try new activities such as acting in a play or standing in front of a group to perform a song. They learn that making a mistake is acceptable and part of the learning process. Children gain an awareness and appreciation of other people, both within our classroom and in the larger school community.

Early childhood students

Students are empowered by their natural curiosity in King's new Reggio-inspired Early Childhood program

The child-centric approach is evident in the setup of the classroom itself. In the shadow of the forest construction, children have access to activities that serve as vehicles for skill development including a watercolor station, a sewing machine corner, a light laboratory, and a cozy library nook. The setting allows children to practice fine and gross motor skills through creative expression.

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Early Childhood Overview - Coffee and Conversation from 11/3/20

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Lower School in Action

Lower School students grow as tuneful, beatful, artful, and musically literate musicians

Giana Mazotas, Grade 4 student, feels she "likes music class because there are so many songs that you can learn and instruments you can play. You can work with friends and practice independently when you're playing the ukulele. It helps me learn when we can talk to each other and move around the room to keep ourselves active. Because we know so many chords and songs, I feel like I can keep playing the ukulele even after we stop playing in music class."

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Lower School students explore the legacy of Dr. King and consider what it means to be a change-maker

Lower School students at King School learned about the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the long-lasting implications of his lifelong work toward justice and equality. Students tackled questions such as, “What does it mean to be a change-maker?” and “What kind of change-maker do you strive to be?”

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Dr. Sandy Lizaire-Duff, Head of Lower School at King School, embraces the Pollyanna Racial Literacy Curriculum and building relationships

Dr. Sandy Lizaire-Duff joined King School this year as Head of Lower School. In this conversation, she shares her perspective on how students benefit from the Pollyanna Racial Literacy Curriculum and from social emotional learning, plus more. Read part one of the Q&A with Dr. Lizaire-Duff in which she describes her perspective on her focus during her first year and on how students benefit from experiential learning.

Read more about Dr. Sandy Lizaire-Duff, Head of Lower School at King School, embraces the Pollyanna Racial Literacy Curriculum and building relationships
Experiential learning at King Lower School

King Lower School students this fall broadened their perspectives by engaging in a number of virtual field trips, conversations, and observations. Experiential learning provides authentic learning experiences for King Lower School students. Head of Lower School Dr. Sandy Lizaire-Duff explains, "Children learn best by doing, which in turn makes the learning personal and more meaningful. It's also a lot easier for the students to grasp the concepts and retain the information, because they have interacted with it. Research shows experiential learning teaches students not to fear mistakes, but rather to embrace and value their mistakes. The research also indicates that experiential learning bolsters critical thinking and self-assessment skills." 

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Global approach to teaching world languages in King Lower School

Hola! The Spanish class in Grades 1-5 takes a global approach to teaching and learning world languages. Rosalba Santander-Cervantes, World Language Faculty, describes her goal as "empowering students to build the tools necessary to cultivate an understanding, an appreciation, and an interest in Spanish-speaking cultures and peoples. It is by doing so that they can become global citizens." 

 

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Dr. Sandy Lizaire-Duff, Head of Lower School at King School, focuses on community well-being and experiential learning

Dr. Sandy Lizaire-Duff joined King School this year as Head of Lower School. In this conversation, part one of a two part Q&A with Dr. Lizaire-Duff, she shares her perspective on her main focus during her first year and on how students benefit from experiential learning. 

Read more about Dr. Sandy Lizaire-Duff, Head of Lower School at King School, focuses on community well-being and experiential learning
How do enemies get in to a castle? When will the dragon egg hatch? King PreKindergarten students lead their medieval quest.

King School's Reggio inspired Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten program employs an emergent curriculum where the children's own discoveries, questions, accomplishments, and challenges become the fodder for the classes' curricular scope and sequence. This fall, King Pre-Kindergarten students viewed a cardboard box as a castle, which propelled the class on a medieval learning quest, exploring architecture, dragons, armor, horses, tapestries, and more.

The students began by pooling their existing knowledge about castles and brainstorming questions to research. Jack shared that castles "have a gate to open at the entrance," Griffin added that castles "have water around them," and Savannah knew "we can make them out of cardboard." Then students posed their initial questions, including:  "What are castles made of?", "How would enemies get in?", "Where are castles?," and "Do castles have magic?" 

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