BDS Teachers are Experts in Child Development
We integrate play-based and experiential learning, while nurturing students’ curiosity and imaginations. Students build community as a class and lay the groundwork for literacy, mathematics, and connecting with the larger world.
“During the early childhood years, play becomes a conduit for learning basic skills. Teachers craft experiences so that students construct knowledge through active engagement, which to young children can seem like joyful play. Foundational skills are embedded in everyday routines and activities.” —Minna Ham, Lower School Head
Early Childhood Has its Own Space
Bright, airy classrooms accommodate each whole grade—encouraging broad friendship networks. Meanwhile, our team-teaching approach provides flexibility to work with students in smaller groups. Pre-k and kindergarten students have their own outdoor courtyard, next door to their classrooms, with natural materials for creative play. They also enjoy exploring our campus woodlands.
Students Feel Part of the Larger Community
Our cross-graded partners initiative matches pre-k students with eighth graders and kindergarten students with sixth graders for engaging activities. Early childhood students are active in the school garden and also like exploring the school to visit the library, the gym, and for other specialized classes.
STUDENTS ENJOY SPECIALIST CLASSES
Pre-k and kindergarten students engage in
• French once a week for 30 minutes
• Music twice a week for 30 minutes
• Physical education two times a week for 30 minutes for pre-k and three times a week for 30 minutes for kindergarten
• Library once a week for 30 minutes
Kindergartners also visit the art studio once a week for 30 minutes.
FOSTERING LITERACY AND NUMERACY
Students explore a variety of center activities reinforcing sight words and phonemic awareness skills each week. Another literacy highlight is bookmaking, in which students sequence and compose their own story. Our reading specialist also meets each kindergartner and will continue to support their progress in future grades. The “Counting Jar” inspires a lot of conversation about numbers.
More Kindergarten Highlights:
Raise caterpillars into butterflies • Hatch chicks • Go on “field trips” around school or have classroom visitors to meet different community helpers • Become classroom helpers • Choose a poem to practice and recite • Watch video of poetry recitation at special event with parents • Faculty mystery guest readers • Chronicle the adventures of classroom mascot, Sheldon the Sheep, who spends each weekend with a student