Early Childhood | PreK and K

Children are naturally full of joy and curiosity. At RCS, we nurture that love of discovery and embrace each student as a unique, individual learner. Our littlest students have access to all of the incredible facilities the Lower Campus has to offer including our Imagination Space, music rooms, art studios, science labs, gymnasiums, playgrounds, and athletic fields.

Every day, our expert Early Childhood educators guide students through engaging lessons and hands-on activities that promote joyful learning and exploration both inside and outside of the classroom. Our emphasis on both academic and social curricula ensures developmentally appropriate experiences that are crucial in these early years for acquiring skills, sparking creativity, and building the foundation for a lifelong love of learning. At the same time, our program fosters character skills with a focus on friendship, cooperation, and kindness.

- Penny Jennings, Head of RCS Lower Campus

RCS creates a nurturing environment that invites children to explore, learn and play. Young children thrive as they construct knowledge through experimentation in diverse settings. Here they experience the joy of learning and of being a significant member of a community.

Junior PreKindergarten

List of 4 items.

  • Overview

    Exploration of the world at a personalized pace, growth of language skills, and the use of imagination form the core of our PreKindergarten program. Teachers provide nurturing environments and opportunities for creativity that encourage every child to be curious, responsible, and happy. Additionally, our program is designed to foster social growth and self-esteem.

    The curriculum is divided into thematic units, which incorporate language, math, communication, and motor skills. Individual interests are cultivated through conversations, play, projects, and sharing. Students are immersed in rich language through poems, songs, and stories. All the while, they are learning to develop sensitivity to others and gaining an understanding of what it means to be part of a scholastic community.
  • Language and Literacy

    In JPK students are encouraged to “use their words” to communicate feelings, needs and ideas. An appreciation of language is developed through books, poems, songs and finger plays. Activities that promote language (dramatic play, meeting time, snack time and choice time) are included in our daily schedule. Listening skills are developed when attending to stories, listening for directions or participating in group discussions.

    Language and literacy skills developed in JPK:
    • predicting skills
    • story sequencing
    • identifying differences/similarities
    • rhyming
    • name recognition
    • upper case letter recognition
    • simple concepts of print (left to right progression)
    • understanding that printed words have meaning
    JPK uses the Handwriting Without Tears program as an introduction to upper case letters. Multi-sensory materials develop fine motor skills as they introduce letters that hold meaning to the children (the first letter of their name for example).
  • Mathematics

    The math program in JPK engages the children in hands on experiences and explorations. The children are exposed to a variety of concepts in developmentally appropriate activities. These concepts are presented in both daily JPK routines and teacher planned lessons. These concepts include:

    Matching and Sorting
    -clean up time
    -sorting math materials by various attributes such as color, shape, size
    -memory games

    Numeration
    -count with understanding and recognize “how many” in sets of objects
    -connect number names and symbols to the quantities they represent
    -counting the number of children for attendance
    -create counting books
    -counting jar activities
    -cooking activities

    Pattern Concepts
    -recognize, describe and extend simple AB patterns
    -theme related pattern projects
    Spatial Relationships
    -shape recognition
    -puzzle-block building
    -sharing physical space in the classroom

    Data Collection
    -activities using horizontal and vertical graphs (weather chart, favorite color, favorite winter activity, etc.)
  • Technology

    Students in the early childhood wing have access to iPads equipped with apps for exploring literacy and math concepts and critical thinking activities. Letter tracing, pattern recognition, counting and alphabet games, as well as reading readiness apps, offer ways for even the youngest learners to work with technology.

Senior PreKindergarten

List of 4 items.

  • Overview

    Exploration of the world at a personalized pace, growth of language skills, and the use of imagination form the core of our PreKindergarten program. Teachers provide nurturing environments and opportunities for creativity that encourage every child to be curious, responsible, and happy. Additionally, our program is designed to foster social growth and self-esteem.

    The curriculum is divided into thematic units, which incorporate language, math, communication, and motor skills. Individual interests are cultivated through conversations, play, projects, and sharing. Students are immersed in rich language through poems, songs, and stories. All the while, they are learning to develop sensitivity to others and gaining an understanding of what it means to be part of a scholastic community.
  • Language and Literacy

    Before children learn to read print, they must have an awareness of how sounds in words work. In SPK, students develop phonological awareness, which is the ability to hear, identify, and manipulate the sounds of spoken languages. The language and literacy skills of SPK students are developed through activities such as:
    • Listening to, reading, and acting out stories and poems
    • Writing their own stories using pictures and “inventive” spelling during Writer’s Workshop
    • Dictating stories to a teacher
    • Reading classroom charts and other print throughout their day
    • Making class books
    • Participating in dramatic play, Show and Tell, circle time, and other experiences requiring verbal communication
    Additionally, SPK students explore the elements of early literacy. Print awareness, sense of story, appreciation for literature, and understanding of the various uses of the written word are all important components. Through the Handwriting without Tears program, which uses multi-sensory materials, students receive instruction in correct uppercase letter formation. When recognizing words that are meaningful to them, students learn letter names and letter-sound associations.
  • Mathematics

    The math program in SPK engages students in hands on experiences and explorations. Students are exposed to a variety of concepts in developmentally appropriate activities. These concepts are presented in both daily SPK routines and teacher directed individual/small and full group lessons. Literacy and discussions are integrated into the Math program. Teachers ask the children questions such as: “What do you notice?”; “How do you know?”; and “Why do you think that?” Math concepts explored in SPK include:

    Sorting
    • Sorting math materials by various attributes such as color, shape, and size
    • Determining how things are alike and different
    • Deciding which things go together and why

    Numeration

    • Count with understanding and recognize “how many” in sets of objects 0-10
    • Connect spoken number words and symbols to the quantity they represent 0-10
    • Introduce calendar: days, weeks, months
    • Estimation activities
    • Board and card games

    Pattern

    • Recognize, describe, create, and extend patterns
    • Discover patterns in the natural world, in stories, and in poems

    Spatial Relationships

    • Recognize basic geometric shapes
    • Explore 2D and 3D shapes and structures using puzzles, cube, pattern and parquetry blocks and geoboards
    • Practice taking shapes apart and putting them together to create new shapes

    Data Collection

    • Ask questions and gather information
    • Make horizontal and vertical graphs
    • Converse about the concepts of more, less, and equal

    Measuring

    • Compare objects according to length: shorter and longer
    • Explore measuring weight: lighter and heavier
    • Cooking
  • Technology

    Students in the early childhood wing have access to iPads equipped with apps for exploring literacy and math concepts and critical thinking activities. Letter tracing, pattern recognition, counting and alphabet games, as well as reading readiness apps, offer ways for even the youngest learners to work with technology.

Kindergarten

List of 6 items.

  • Overview

    Kindergarten students advance their literacy, math, and social skills through a thematic curriculum of projects, discussions, literature, creative dramatics, and the arts. Our Kindergarten program balances academics, choice, and playtime.

    Decades of research tell us that play is an essential part of children’s healthy growth and development. Early childhood experts have long agreed that young children who are provided with rich play-based learning environments excel in all domains of development and learning. Play helps children increase their memory, critical thinking skills, self-regulation, social skills, oral language skills, literacy skills, mathematical and problem-solving skills, and lays the foundation for all academic learning. Play is truly the indispensable work of children.
  • Language Arts

    Our literacy curriculum follows the “balanced literacy model” developed through Columbia University’s Teachers College Reading and Writing Project. The curriculum provides components of instruction that develop students’ abilities to read, write, listen, and speak effectively.

    The instructional plan focuses on the five areas of reading: phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, comprehension, and fluency that are critical to student literacy success. Significant time is devoted to shared reading, read-aloud, and word study. In addition, through the use of increasingly complex texts, combined with a gradual release of responsibility from teacher to student, students are able to reach higher levels of achievement. Fountas and Pinnell’s Phonics Lessons are also incorporated into the curriculum. Students focus on a least two letters per week allowing students to apply what they know about letters and sounds to more “real world” applications such as reading and writing. This creates excitement, passion, and confidence in each student. Handwriting is taught for each letter that is introduced.
  • Mathematics

    The Kindergarten math curriculum begins with the exploration of math materials, using observations and discussions to build the foundation about how these materials work. Students gain familiarity with these manipulatives, which supports their ability to use manipulatives as math tools in later grades.

    Number sense is expanded throughout Kindergarten. Students develop their understanding of addition and subtraction, by having many opportunities to count, visualize, model, solve, and discuss different types of problems.
  • Science

    In Kindergarten, students are introduced to the scientific method and are expected to approach their investigations as a scientist would. The discovery method is used so that students find the answers themselves rather than being given the correct solution to the problem. They are asked to begin predicting and encouraged to develop a lifelong love of science.
  • Spanish

    Our Lower Campus Spanish program introduces students in Kindergarten through fourth grade to the sounds and culture of Spanish speaking countries. It is primarily an oral program with much emphasis placed on games, songs, and the cultures of Spanish speaking countries.
  • Technology

    Kindergartners come to the computer lab and also have access to iPads in the classrooms. Their time in the computer lab emphasizes technology as a tool not a toy. Mouse control, keyboard awareness and the proper selection of tools for drawing, designing and typing are reinforced in every class. Students also become familiar with different interfaces in both the applications used and different websites or apps. Opportunities for coding are offered throughout the year, using the hands-on Bee-Bots as well as online resources such as Kodable.com which can be accessed from school or from home.