Early Childhood

The Early Childhood Program at Erie Day School serve children ages 24 months (Toddler) through PreK. Our classrooms provide a learning environment based on the principles of developmentally appropriate practices. The needs of each child are nurtured and acknowledged as they are in the process of developing themselves to be engaged and avid life-long learners. We strive to prepare the whole child to be ready for their learning future through carefully prepared environments, which allow the child to construct his own learning. Focus is placed on the social/emotional development of the children. Self-regulation, following routines and rules, being kind and respectful, learning to work and play independently and with others, and learning to accept responsibility for choices and behavior are some important values.

We believe that an early childhood experience is the foundation for the child’s educational journey. This foundation is constructed by ‘hand to head’ learning, exploration and discovery, exposure to new ideas, skills, and concepts.

Toddler Program

The toddler years are the period of most rapid growth in a child only surpassed by the first twelve months of life. Recent research has confirmed what Dr. Maria Montessori told us at the beginning of the last century, that the first three years are crucial to a child’s development. She wrote that it is during these years that the personality of the child is formed. With that in mind, we begin to understand the importance of giving very young children an environment that provides them the greatest opportunity to develop to their fullest potential.

The toddler environment is especially created to meet the social, emotional, cognitive and physical needs of this age group. It is not a watered-down pre-primary classroom but one that parallels it. The ability to move freely within the classroom, choosing activities especially designed to meet a specific developmental need, is an integral part of our educational philosophy. Freedom of movement creates an atmosphere for optimal brain development. Allowing children the opportunities to make appropriate choices, builds confidence and self-esteem. The promotion of independence is of primary importance. We allow and encourage the children to do as much as they are capable.

The classroom is truly “their environment.” The teachers create the environment and then become facilitators to the children as they interact within that environment. Activities in the classroom are arranged on a tray or in a basket and placed on shelves arranged by specific area. These areas are: sensorial (activities that help develop the five senses, because it is through our senses that we absorb all knowledge); practical life (life skills of pouring, scooping, transferring etc.); math and science; language (which includes the reading of books in the library area); and art. Music and gross motor activities, either outside on our own playground or in the gymnasium as weather warrants, are also important elements of the daily schedule.

We believe that order, routine, and consistency are paramount to young toddlers. Providing these essentials creates trust within them towards the world that they are just beginning to discover. Since it is the real world in which they live, children are given activities that will ground them in that real world. For example, as often as possible, children are given child-sized versions of adult tools (i.e. brooms, dustpans) and real pictures of things instead of drawings.

As children acquire the desire to toilet learn, we are most willing to work with parents as their child begins to master this new skill. The move from diapers to underwear is certainly a developmental milestone and one that both parent and child will recognize as a great accomplishment! It certainly helps to remind us that they are growing, developing individuals and won’t be toddlers forever.

The toddler years are wonderful years marked with a child’s growing desire towards independence while still desiring the oneness that was shared with parents during infancy. The environment recognizes and supports toddlers in their development towards adulthood. 

Preschool/PreK Program

At Erie Day School, our Early Childhood educators take your child's readiness for school very seriously. When an accurate readiness assessment can be made, children receive the most rewards and benefits from their first school experience. They love to learn and learn to love school. That's what we think Preschool/PreK at Erie Day School is all about.

The Early Childhood programs at Erie Day School serve children ages 24 months through Kindergarten. Our classrooms offer a learning environment based on the principles of developmentally appropriate practice.The needs of each child are nurtured and acknowledged as they are in the process of developing their role as engaged, respected and avid life-long learners.

We strive to prepare the whole child to be ready for their learning future through carefully prepared environments which enable the child to construct their own learning.Using a hand-to-hand approach, children actively learn through the exploration and discovery of materials.Exposure to ideas, skills and concepts that broaden and strengthen their knowledge and understanding of the world around them are integral to our approach.

Focus is placed on the social/emotional development of the child.Self-regulation, following routines and rules, being kind and respectful, learning to work and play independently and with others, and learning to accept responsibility for choices and behaviors are some important values.

We believed that a quality early childhood experience is the foundation fora child’s educational journey.

Preschool:

  • Must be 3 years of age by September 1st
  • Toilet trained with minimal adult assistanceconsistently
  • Separates from parents with minimal anxiety
  • Attention span of at least 5-10 minutes forstory, song, etc.
  • Able to follow simple 1-2 step directions
  • Awareness of and verbalizes his/her wants or needs, asking for help appropriately
  • Recognizes primary colors and simple shapes

PreK:

  • Must be 4 years of age by September 1st
  • Separates from parents with minimal to no anxiety
  • Demonstrates age-appropriate attention span and ability to self-regulate
  • Demonstrates age-appropriate self-help skills (i.e. toileting, dressing)
  • Demonstrates and understanding of alphabetic principal and phonics awareness
  • Demonstrates number sense
  • We recognize children enter Erie Day School
  • with a wide range of experiences and knowledge.In some cases, it may be necessary for a child to attain 2 years of an early childhood education before he/she is admitted in our Kindergarten setting.

International Baccalaureate (IB) Candidate School

Erie Day School’s Preschool, PreK, Kindergarten and Lower School (Grades 1 through 4) are International Baccalaureate (IB) candidates. Students participating in the Primary Years Program will develop the intellectual, personal, emotional and social skills to live, learn and work in a rapidly globalizing world.The curriculum represents the best from many different countries rather than the exported national system of any one. The IB curriculum will be maintained with our high standards by on-going training for our educators. We believe that students must first develop an understanding of their own cultural and national identity. All IB students are exposed to a second language and the skills to live and work with others internationally which is essential for life in the 21st century. We encourage a positive attitude learning by encouraging students to ask challenging questions, reflect critically, develop research skills, and learn how to learn. We encourage community service because there is more to learning than academic studies alone. IB World Schools cooperate in curriculum development, student assessment, and the governance of the IB, making this a unique international collaboration.