Pre-Kindergarten

“My son started at Dwight in Pre-K, and the program has exceeded my expectations. The focus is perfectly balanced between academic and social/emotional development and his teachers are superb.
My son loves going to school every day and his educational
growth is a delight to see!”

- Kathleen, Mom of Winston, Pre-Kindergarten



MORE TESTIMONIALS

Children in our Pre-Kindergarten Program are enthusiastic learners. They are encouraged to ask focused questions and explore varied ways of learning. Themes and units of inquiry, based on student questions, build upon children’s interests and learning and expand their horizons.

 

Age: Children who turn four years old prior to September 1 of the academic year
Class size: Typical size is 18 students with two to three teachers
Curriculum: First year of the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Program
Languages: Spanish and Mandarin, additional languages available for a fee in after-school programs
Schedule: Monday through Friday, 8:30 am–2:30 pm; early-drop off, extended day, and extensive after-school activities are available

Transitioning to School

Before school begins, we offer classroom visits for all students entering our Pre-Kindergarten Program. This allows children to meet their new teachers in their classroom environment. The school year begins with a gradual separation and a “phase-in schedule,” working up to a full session by the second week of school.

A Day in the Life

Daily activities for Pre-Kindergarten classes include choice time/free play, small group work, circle time, outdoor play, snack/story time, lunch, and rest. Pre-Kindergarten students also enjoy weekly visits from their music, Spanish, and Mandarin specialists, as well as scheduled gym, library, and studio (arts and science) time.

Peek Inside the Classroom

You may find our Pre-Kindergarten students:

  • Sharing and listening to each others' stories and ideas during morning meeting
  • Composing a group letter to an author whose books we have enjoyed and to share our own stories inspired by his work
  • Watching a classmate's parent, a sculptor, demonstrate how she crates her pieces, and experimenting with our own creative sculptures
  • Creating squares for a Caring Community Quilt, which highlights ways to ensure a supportive and compassionate school community
  • Guiding their own learning experiences through open-ended play and exploration: collaborating on large-scale block structures, creating art work, or playing different roles in dramatic play

Explore the Curriculum

>>Download the Pre-k (4s) Program Curriculum Handbook

Dwight’s pre-­kindergarten classes follow the IB Primary Years Program. Children of this age are enthusiastic learners. They ask focused questions and make demands of the world around them. This curiosity is fostered as a central tenet of inquiry in the PYP curriculum. Themes and Units of Inquiry, based on student questions, build upon children’s interests and learning and expand their horizons.

Lively and imaginative four­year­olds tackle new tasks and adventures with delight. Socially, they are more mature and form strong friendships. They are able to relate to their peers and show empathy and understanding. Sometimes children of this age fluctuate from needing reassurance and security to asserting bold independence.

Teachers work hard to provide a warm and loving environment where individual strengths are nurtured and children feel valued ― and value each other.

Pre-kindergarteners are articulate and approach new vocabulary with enthusiasm. In class, children are encouraged to express themselves verbally as well as through pictures and drawings. Many children develop a natural curiosity for reading and writing. A language-­rich classroom provides many opportunities for children to explore and develop these emergent skills. They have access to various writing instruments: crayons, markers, pens, pencils, chalkboards, a variety of papers, notepads, and notebooks. Children are able to see many examples of written text through books, poems, and child-­authored stories. The acquisition of listening skills is also paramount and children are exposed to a range of early literacy experiences.

Dwight pre­-kindergarten students begin the IB Primary Years curriculum and can explain what it means to be a thinker, a communicator, and a risk taker, among others, and demonstrate examples of these attributes in their interactions with their teachers and peers.

Units of Inquiry

Pre-K (4s) students complete four inquiry-based units that allow for the children’s own curiosity to guide their learning. These units incorporate aspects of the science and social studies elements into the curriculum as well as areas of physical, social, and personal growth and development. Our units include inquiries into: Water as part of the world around us, who we are as families and friends, how we express ourselves through storytelling, and how living things share our planet. Through play, questioning, hands-on experiments and reading- and writing-readiness activities, students come to construct meaning and understand large themes within each unit and take action to demonstrate their learning. As the year progresses, students will develop communication, self-management, research, and social skills through whole group projects and individual activities both inside and outside of the classroom environment.

Math

Mathematics in the pre­-kindergarten program is an exploration of basic concepts through a wide variety of materials. Math concepts such as numeracy, patterning, geometry, and measurement are interwoven through our play, work, and Units of Inquiry. Children gain a deeper understanding of numbers, ways to represent numbers, relationships among numbers, and the number system. They learn to count, quantify, and connect numerals with their quantities (one­-to-­one correspondence). We scaffold upon the students’ ability to recognize patterns and assist them in extending and creating their own color and shape patterns. These pattern skills also help the children to understand the beginning principles of addition and subtraction. Data handling skills are introduced by sorting, classifying, and organizing objects by size, number, attributes, and other properties. In addition, we expand upon the children’s ability to understand, explore, and describe geometric shapes and spatial relationships. Children learn to understand directionality, order, and position. The children learn basic knowledge of measurement using an array of manipulatives, such as Unifix cubes, blocks, and traditional measurement tools. Through this experience, they learn to compare and measure everyday objects in their environment.

Language Arts

The Pre­-K year is an exciting and important step our the progress towards reading. Students participate in a variety of activities throughout the day that focus on the organization and basic features of print, offering exposure to emergent phonics and word analysis skills (i.e., letter identification and symbol­sound associations). Ultimately, students will demonstrate an emerging understanding of spoken words, syllables and sounds (phonemes), and display emergent reading behaviors with purpose and understanding (e.g., pretend reading).

The students use writing in a variety of ways. From drawing pictures to forming letters and words, they use their developing fine motor skills to communicate on the page. Students use a combination of drawing, dictating, or writing to express an opinion about a book or topic, to narrate a single event or to provide a reaction to an event. Students are encouraged to respond to questions and suggestions and add details to strengthen illustrations or writing, as needed.

Language skills are an important part of the daily curriculum. The students participate in collaborative conversations about pre­kindergarten topics and texts with peers and adults in both small and large groups. They demonstrate an emergent ability to express thoughts, feelings, and ideas and are encouraged to describe familiar people, places, things, and events, and provide additional detail. Through conversation, a student confirms his or her understanding of a text read aloud or information presented orally

through other media. On a daily basis, students are encouraged to ask and answer questions in order to gain information, seek help, or clarify something that is not understood.

Listening skills are a crucial component of early literacy development. Group discussions, read­alouds, and language classes are an intergral part of the daily routine. From understanding and following directions to listening respectfully without interrupting others, there are ample opportunities to develop these important skills. Students are encouraged to listen attentively to spoken language (e.g., books read aloud, rhyming words, songs) and to listen for a purpose (e.g., to track individual words as they are spoken or to gain information).

Pre-k overview

Dwight’s Pre-Kindergarten classes follow the IB Primary Years Program. Children of this age are enthusiastic learners. They ask focused questions and make demands of the world around them. This curiosity is fostered as a central tenet of inquiry in the PYP curriculum. Themes and Units of Inquiry, based on student questions, build upon children’s interests and learning and expand their horizons.

Lively and imaginative four-year-olds tackle new tasks and adventures with delight. Socially, they are more mature and form strong friendships. They are able to relate to their peers and show empathy and understanding. Sometimes children of this age fluctuate from needing reassurance and security to asserting bold independence. Teachers work hard to provide a warm and loving environment where individual strengths are nurtured and children feel valued ― and value each other.

Pre-Kindergarteners are articulate and approach new vocabulary with enthusiasm. In class, children are encouraged to express themselves verbally as well as through pictures and drawings. Many children develop a natural curiosity for reading and writing. A language-rich classroom provides many opportunities for children to explore and develop these emergent skills. They have access to varying writing instruments ― crayons, markers, pens, pencils, chalkboards, a variety of papers, notepads, and notebooks. Children are able to see many examples of written text through books, poems, and child-authored stories. The acquisition of listening skills is also paramount and children are exposed to a range of early literacy experiences.

Dwight Pre-Kindergarten students begin the IB Primary Years curriculum and can explain what it means to be a thinker, a communicator, and a risk taker, among others, and demonstrate examples of these attributes in their interactions with their teachers and peers.

Foreign Language

Chinese (Mandarin)

In the Pre­-K program, students are formally introduced to Mandarin for the first time. They learn basic vocabulary related to the Units of Inquiry through fun games, songs, story books, and videos, as well as practice basic communication skills. Students are encouraged to reproduce the sounds of Mandarin, pronounce syllables and words correctly. Students are exposed to Chinese character writing by coloring and tracing words. In addition to the Chinese language, basic Chinese customs and culture are explored.

Spanish

The Pre­-K Spanish program is an immersive exposure to the Spanish language. The program includes culturally rich and exciting activities, games, translated and original Spanish songs, books, vocabulary and flashcard projects, and an interactive and musical Spanish environment.

Music

In music, the pre-­kindergarten students focus on musical contrasts such as loud/soft and fast/slow, exploring steady beat, responding to music through movement, and recognizing basic rhythmic music notation. Students are also very involved in instrument exploration and improvisation. Throughout the year, they discover a wide range of classroom instruments with various timbres. Students also sing songs representative of different activities, holidays, and seasons in a variety of cultures.

Physical Education

Physical education classes for students in the pre­kindergarten program reinforce concepts, ideas, terminology, and skills introduced in the 3s program to help build a strong foundation for future years of physical education. Students will continue to explore locomotor and non-­locomotor skills, develop the ability to solve tasks individually, in pairs, or in small groups, become aware of some of the elements of a healthy lifestyle, use movement as a way to express themselves, and learn the importance of safety during exercise.

Explore the Program of Inquiry

Click here to explore the Program of Inquiry for students 3s-grade 5.


What’s Next?

Dwight's Kindergarten program or Kindergarten Placement support

LEADERSHIP

Chris Allen
Director of Preschool
(212) 362-2350 Ext 703 callen@dwight.edu

 

ADMISSIONS

Nora Thomson
Director Preschool Admissions
(212) 362-2350 Ext 748 nthomson@dwight.edu