Early Childhood Curriculum
At The Independence School, the Early Childhood program includes preschool and Kindergarten.
The primary goals of Early Childhood I (preschool age 3) and II (pre-K age 4) are for the children to comfortably be able to separate from the home environment, function effectively as members of a group within a warm, secure classroom and gain a sense of developmentally appropriate independence. These students are driven by their interests to understand and know more. We believe that children form an understanding of themselves and their place in the world through their interactions with others. There is a strong focus on social collaboration where each child is an equal participant, having their thoughts and questions valued.
We believe that children are naturally curious. Inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach, children can choose from a wide variety of materials, activities and equipment, whether indoors or outdoors. Developed by preschool educators in the Italian city of Reggio Emilia, this philosophy of teaching, learning and advocacy for children includes observing what children know, what they are curious about and what challenges them. Academic instruction takes place in ways that are engaging and playful for young children.
During much of the program, children are able to work and play individually or in small, informal groups. These critical group interactions help them form an understanding of themselves and their place in the world. Ample opportunities are also given to learn and apply skills in a meaningful context as children build comfort with language and literacy, number concepts and the understanding of new information about the world in which they live. Early Childhood classroom student teacher ratios are typically 7-1 in ECI and 9-1 in ECII.
The Kindergarten environment is designed to foster learning and creativity through a variety of indoor and outdoor experiences and the recognition that "play" remains important. As the transition point into the primary grades, classrooms are language-rich and utilize blended-learning tools to support students as they transform into readers and writers. At the same time, the children are immersed in activities that develop number sense and foundational math concepts. Small group instruction, where groups are fluid and ever changing, is one method used to facilitate the individual and collective growth and needs of the students. Each classroom has an instructional aide who partners with the teacher to ensure the presence of individualized attention.