Early Childhood-Threes and Fours Programs
Introduction to the Early Childhood Programs
Spacious, light-filled classrooms, outdoor patio spaces for additional play, wide hallways filled with art, a purpose-built playground, a library just their own, and amenities sized for young children: these are just some of the impressive hallmarks of Chilton House, Elisabeth Morrow’s Early Childhood facility. With a Director overseeing the program, each classroom is under the supervision of two fully qualified teachers.
Our comprehensive curriculum offers engaging and challenging hands-on activities in math, language arts (reading, writing and oral expression), social studies, and science. Students visit the library on a daily basis and music and physical education classes meet for all levels. Four year old and kindergarten students receive additional instruction in Spanish, while kindergarten students also have weekly specialized courses in computers.
At Elisabeth Morrow, social growth is as important to us as intellectual development in our Early Childhood program. We follow the guiding principles of the Responsive Classroom, which is based on the premise that children learn best when they are engaged in both academic and social-emotional activities.
Through constructing numerous two- and three-dimensional designs, students explore a variety of tools and techniques that foster hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills and motor control. Creativity and imagination are strongly emphasized, with inspiration originating from classroom stories and activities.
Language ArtsIn an enriching environment, with plenty of reading and writing activities, students are challenged as individuals and groups to participate in exercises designed to enhance vocabulary development and listening comprehension. Morning Meeting and story time provide further opportunities to practice these skills.
LibraryPuppet play, storyboard design, bookmaking, storytelling and research are all offered within a calm, cozy and inviting space. At various times throughout the school year, small groups of students are invited to Chilton House Library to join the librarian for hot cocoa and story time.
MathematicsAlong with the recognition and writing of numbers, three-year-olds are introduced to geometry and measurement, classification and categorization, graphs and charts and one-to-one correspondence of objects to numbers. Students develop a real sense of what numbers mean and how they can be used to explain the world around them.
MusicUsing traditional children’s songs, chants and movement, students are introduced to basic musical concepts, including beat, tempo, dynamics and timbre. Three-year-olds learn the names, sounds and proper care of classroom instruments on which they create simple improvisational rhythms. On Friday mornings, all Chilton House students come together for an exuberant sing-along in the music room.
Physical EducationStudents grow and develop physically, cognitively and affectively while participating in a variety of locomotor exercises, including animal walks and directional movement activities. They study shapes, numbers, letters and colors through movement that incorporates a wide range of equipment.
ScienceScience begins with an analysis of physical properties such as weight, shape, size, color and temperature. Students examine various plants and animals in the classroom and Little School science room as well as during on-campus nature walks. While forming observations and collecting items, three-year-olds learn to respect their natural surroundings, setting in motion a rudimentary basis for inquiry.
Social StudiesIn social studies, students develop an awareness of self and how their behaviors, words and deeds affect their community, exploring and identifying primary characteristics of good citizenship. Basic skills of listening and sharing are modeled and practiced as students engage with their classmates and teachers.
Students strengthen their creativity while continuing to practice hand-eye coordination, fine motor skills and motor control. Student artwork at this level often reflects a mix of imagination, personal experience and classroom stories. Four-year-olds experiment with a variety of media — paints, markers, collage, scissors, glue and paste — and display their creations on the hallway walls outside of their classrooms.
The language arts curriculum focuses on self-expression, listening comprehension, vocabulary development, pre-reading and reading skills. The power of the alphabet is explored as students develop visual recognition and the ability to create various letter shapes. Sounds are attached to letters; these letters are blended into words and then sentences, forming the basis for meaning. Teachers initiate conversations and students apply their newly acquired language skills to share ideas, make plans and predict outcomes. Teachers demonstrate how spoken words can be recorded and later referred to, which, in turn, strengthens memory and builds relationships between ideas.
Puppet play, storyboard design, bookmaking, storytelling and research are all offered within a calm, cozy and inviting space. At various times throughout the school year, small groups of students are invited to Chilton House Library to join the librarian for hot cocoa and story time.
At a more challenging level than the previous year, four-year-olds are exposed to geometry and measurement, classification and categorization, graphs and charts, one-to-one correspondence of objects to numbers and the recognition and writing of numbers. A strong emphasis is placed on counting and the relationships between numbers such as “more than,” “less than” or “equal to,” which students learn to express using graphs, predictions, estimates and comparisons.
Students learn to sing a wide-ranging repertoire of music by themselves and with others, use instruments, improvise melodies and listen to, analyze and describe music. The basic musical concepts of beat, tempo, dynamics and timbre are further explored. On Friday mornings, all Chilton House students come together for an exuberant sing-along in the music room.
Students grow and develop physically, cognitively and affectively while participating in a variety of locomotor exercises, including animal walks and directional movement activities. They study shapes, numbers, letters and colors through movement that incorporates a wide range of equipment.
Science goes into greater detail as the properties of matter — weight, shape, size, color and temperature — are investigated and incorporated into lessons and games. Field trips extend the focus on science and take students outside of campus. The goal is to draw upon four-year-olds’ curiosities and experiences, so they can reflect, inquire and develop a respect and understanding of the world around them.
Through a variety of themes, students’ sense of self and belonging continue to be nurtured and explored. As language develops, four-year-olds are given more autonomy to work through social conflicts while teachers empower them to resolve difficulties on their own. Through the newly formed All-School Buddy Program, Morrow House students visit Chilton House to play, read and converse with their younger buddies many times throughout the school year.
Four-year-olds are introduced to the Spanish language. During weekly classroom visits by an Elisabeth Morrow Spanish teacher, students explore and express beginning vocabulary through stories, rhymes and songs.