Overview

Every last detail of our preschool and transitional kindergarten program is designed to meet the children in a way that is appropriate for their specific age and stage: from flow of the campuses, pace of the day, layout of each space, to classroom materials and curriculum.

Thanks to our low teacher student ratios, our teachers join each child wherever they may be on their individual paths, and advance their learning and social / emotional growth from that point on. Teachers lovingly help each child to discover areas of interest, and develop a broad range of skills. They gently guide the children to express and self-regulate emotions and to becoming empathetic problem solvers with their friends. This lays the groundwork for successful academic learning and satisfying relationships later in life.

We have found that children’s creativity and self-confidence flourish within a predictable and stable schedule and simple physical environment. There are opportunities for exploration of their own interests and free play, in and outdoors, while at other times of the day children engage in inspiring teacher-planned activities centered around music, art, cooking, sports and games, world cultures, nature and scientific method. We enrich the core program with weekly specialists in music, ceramics, sports/yoga and movement. Also integral to The First School schedule are seasonal celebrations, and community and environmental outreach, which provide evocative lessons in cultural diversity and stewardship.

The First School is spread across three different campuses, which allows for a smaller more intimate environment focused on the developmental needs of each age group, while also providing families with access to the resources of a larger community. We find that children really benefit from the experience as they have the opportunity to practice transitions, while still supported in a familiar and nurturing atmosphere. As they grow from year to year, they progress with the same group of classmates and one of their teachers to the next campus. As the children grow and move from campus to campus, the curriculum and physical environment take on a more and more emergent and child-led, quality, while still providing the consistency and comfort of a familiar schedule and traditions. Parents find that this experience also prepares their children for a much more seamless transition to kindergarten.

At Toddler Group (16 months- 2 ½ years) they enjoy sensory play and learn to follow a simple weekly routine.

At Ocean Park Preschool (2 ½- 3 ½) children graduate from saying goodbye to parents, to developing their language and collaboration skills.

At Broadway Preschool (3 ½-4 ½) they learn to navigate social relationships and explore the wider world.

At Transitional Kindergarten (4 ½-5 ½) they profoundly explore a wide range of interests, expand team-building skills, while gently, according to each individuals path, prepare them for the demands of kindergarten.

…For children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.

Fred Rogers