Applying to the Early Childhood Program
Beginners, Nursery, Junior Kindergarten, Senior Kindergarten
The early childhood program is a lively, loving and intimate environment where our youngest learners are nurtured by experienced teachers in warm and inviting classrooms. Students as young as 2 years of age have access to spaces such as our 600 square foot greenhouse, Library with over 20,000 volumes and special events and programming.
Our full-time early childhood teachers plan days that use play to actively engage the young student. Each day's unique schedule provides time for indoor and outdoor play, special projects, classes with specialists, eating and rest.
Applicants to the early childhood program are welcomed and encouraged to apply and/or reapply at any of the four entry points.
More information about all of our programs can be found here.
Age 2 by September 1
Our youngest students join the beginners program at age 2. Beginners attend school from 8:35-11:00 a.m. either two or three days a week, depending on his or her birthday. We offer beginners a nurturing environment with specially trained teachers who focus on children's early language development and their need to learn to play together. Under our individualized approach, separation from parents is a gradual process.
In addition to their three full-time classroom teachers, the beginners are visited by teachers who specialize in music, movement and life sciences. As the year progresses and students adjust to their new environment, the class will begin to travel around the school with visits to our Greenhouse, Library and music spaces as well as visits from older students in our community for special events.
Age 3 by September 1
The nursery program begins our five-day a week schedule with families selecting either a half-day (8:30-12:30) or full-day (8:30-2:50) schedule with the option of after school or enrichment courses.
The nursery teachers carefully plan a curriculum that focuses on play while encouraging students to learn about one another other and to find his or her own voice within their classroom community. Nursery students are introduced to community service as a part of their curriculum and celebrate special events with the additional focus of considering how to incorporate compassion for others in our own St. Hilda’s & St. Hugh’s community and in our neighborhood community of Morningside Heights.
Nursery is also the start of many of our special subject classes. During this year, students will begin their study of secondary language (French, Spanish or Mandarin Chinese), studio art, music using the Kodaly style of teaching, greenhouse, movement and Library. Students also participate in daily recess on our rooftop playdeck.
Age 4 by September 1
The junior kindergarten is a five-day a week program with families selecting either a half-day (8:30-12:30) or full-day (8:30-2:50) schedule with the option of after school or enrichment courses.
Play continues to be a strong focus in the junior kindergarten as students work together to find more complex solutions using advanced language skills. Junior kindergarten students are also introduced to more defined units of study that require research through literature, fieldtrips and art and cooking projects. The Letter of the Week study is a highlight of this year and includes hands-on and exploratory projects. The teachers capitalize on the students’ innate interest in learning about the world around them to help them learn HOW to learn.
Junior kindergarten students enjoy special subject classes such as secondary language (French, Spanish or Mandarin Chinese), studio art, music using the Kodaly style of teaching, greenhouse, movement and Library. Students also participate in daily recess on our rooftop playdeck.
Age 5 by September 1
The senior kindergarten program begins our full-day (8:25-2:50) five-day a week schedule with the option of after school or enrichment courses.
Enlightened by a sense of independence and an enthusiasm for knowledge, senior kindergarten students boldly take on many new challenges. Daily choice time, recess and physical education classes provide boys and girls with the opportunity to invigorate their bodies, minds and spirits. In the classroom, students are firming up their letter-sound correspondence and learning sight words. Students in senior kindergarten are introduced to creative writing sessions where the focus is on creative expression and invented spelling (spelling using one’s phonological knowledge). During this important year of growth, it is our belief that reading is a developmental skill best nurtured through exposure and never forced. Students work with teachers in small groups geared towards readiness and an interest in meeting each child where he or she is and helping them to reach their next milestone.
Senior kindergarten students enjoy special subject classes such as secondary language (French, Spanish or Mandarin Chinese), studio art, music using the Kodaly style of teaching, greenhouse, science, daily physical education and Library. Students also participate in daily recess on our rooftop playdeck and join grades 1-3 for Chapel once a week.