The Preschool at Garrison Forest is a truly special place. The education and professionalism of the teachers, the amazing 110 acre campus and classroom facilities, the strong curriculum and the range of schedules designed to suit the needs of our families, are all contributing factors. Our unique position as one division of a school that extends through Lower School and Middle School to an excellent college preparatory Upper School means we can offer an educational program for young children that takes full advantage of the richness of the school as a whole, particularly as it applies to curriculum and facilities.
The classroom teachers’ language arts and math programs, the music, art, Spanish, library, science and Imagineering classes and the physical development that’s supported in physical education classes, all enrich the lives of our two, three, four and five-year olds. More importantly, when a teacher welcomes her students with a hug in the morning, when a Pre-K student helps a two year old on the playground, when children applaud the accomplishments of their classmates, the development of each and every student is being nurtured in a way that honors individual needs and celebrates the joy of learning that we find in each of our students.
We hope you’ll come see the day-to-day for yourself, come see how one hug, one helpful gesture and one cheer come together to build the relationships that make the Preschool at Garrison Forest an experience like no other.
Parent-Toddlers are 18 to 24 months old in September. In this class, parents and their young children have weekly opportunities to learn from each other and from a lead teacher. On Tuesday mornings from 9 to 11:00, freedom, discovery and spontaneity are at the root of the activities, and early socialization skills are nurtured with warmth and understanding. The teacher has a keen understanding of the developmental needs of young children and encourages exploration and play as the primary means of engaging a child’s enthusiasm for learning. Parents have opportunities to discuss topics of interest with each other and with the teacher, creating bonds that will last through their years at Garrison Forest.
The Twos Program, for children who turn two by September 1, meets 5 mornings a week; Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays; or Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 8:00 a.m. until 11:45 a.m.
In the Garrison Forest Preschool Twos classroom, our teachers nurture each child’s developing personality and interests. They provide numerous opportunities for exploration and discovery, guiding the transition from solitary and parallel play to cooperative play. The classroom is a secure, stimulating and caring community where the children are supported in their quests to try new activities and experiences and helped to comfortably follow routines with increased independence and responsibility.
They enjoy hands-on activities and projects, free play with materials designed to engage their interests, Circle Time, snack and gross motor play on the playground. Students attend Gym, Music and Art classes which offer additional opportunities for physical engagement, singing, music-making and creativity. From nursery rhymes, poetry, finger-plays, and Caldecott Medal children’s books to playdough and the rice table, time in the Twos class serves to reinforce and develop the cognitive, social and emotional gifts of each child.
The Threes Program, for children who turn three by September 1, meets either Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings or five mornings each week. Both programs meet from 8:00 a.m. until noon with an extended day option until 3:00 p.m. and after school care until 6:00 p.m.
In the Garrison Forest Preschool Threes classrooms, the children continue to explore their world and growing independence as part of a secure, stimulating and caring community where respect for peers, adults and materials is nurtured. The children learn to comfortably follow routines with increased independence and responsibility, enjoying an enriching classroom environment that is enhanced by Specials classes in Music, Gym, Library and Art.
The curricula nurture the inquisitive nature of young children. With a multi-sensory approach, they are encouraged to speak, listen, comprehend, follow directions, and develop a longer attention span. Stories, poetry, songs and related activities enhance vocabulary and expressive language skills, reinforce the ability to classify and sequence, nurture an appreciation for literature and introduce print and phonemic awareness. Fine and gross motor skills are developed as precursors to writing. Planned and spontaneous experiences foster the development of mathematical concepts such as spatial relations, shapes, patterns, counting, numbers and measurement. Through hands-on activities, skills are developed with a true enthusiasm for learning. The activities all serve to reinforce our academic, social and emotional goals for the children.
The Pre-Kindergarten Program for children who turn four by September 1, meet five mornings each week. Classes meet from 8:00 a.m. until noon with optional early drop off, an extended day option until 3:00 p.m. and After School Care until 6:00 p.m.
The teachers have specific classroom goals, and central to those goals is the premise that each student should be supported and challenged as an individual, participating in small group instruction that is flexible and personalized. The Language Arts program focuses on speaking and listening skills, reading readiness, writing readiness and oral comprehension. Vocabulary development and phonological and phonemic awareness are important aspects of the program. The children are helped to follow multi-step directions, comprehend oral stories and participate in group discussions. Activities that develop gross and fine motor skills prepare the way for letter and word formation. Children are exposed to more specific reading skills as they are individually ready, and all students are encouraged to value and understand the place of literacy in their world.
In Math, the children develop a conceptual understanding of the way numbers work. Along with Smartboard technology, the children use numerous manipulative objects as they participate in activities with classifying, sequencing, patterning and predicting, areas that are important to the development of logical thought. Number awareness and seriation are promoted in activities in which the children count, measure, practice one-to-one correspondence and learn to recognize numerals.
Specials classes in Music, Gym, Science, Imagineering, Library, Spanish and Art support and enhance the classroom goals.
- Specials classes in science, art, music, library, physical education, Spanish and Imagineering are taught by full-time specialists, typically in dedicated classrooms, labs, and studio space.
- Beginning in the Twos class, all students enjoy Gym classes with an exceptional teacher who is an expert in the physical education and development of young children. Threes and Pre-K students improve their stamina and physical coordination in a state-of-the-art gym, a Preschool gym, or on turf and grass fields.
- Our separate Preschool and Lower School Library houses 8,000 volumes and 35 subscriptions for young readers. Our librarian and special guest readers, including the Head of School, provide weekly story times for the children in the Threes and Pre-K classes.
- Our vibrant music program includes weekly classes that incorporate rhythm, rhyme, singing, experiences with instruments and participation in a musical play for parents.
- The Imagineering curriculum has an emphasis on creative design. The children use traditional resources such as blocks, LEGOs, Lincoln Logs, and Tinker Toys to manipulate, design, build and create. As they tackle challenges and problems, they develop resilience and perseverance alongside critical spatial reasoning skills and fine and gross motor skills. Science lessons focus on biology and the natural sciences that capture the interest of young children so well. Learning about spiders may involve a hunt for webs outside. Exploring plant growth can include forcing bulbs and charting their growth. Most importantly, everything is fun!
Early Birds, a morning drop-off program, is available at no cost to children in the threes and Pre-K beginning at 7:30 a.m.
Our afternoon program is available for Five day Twos, Threes and Pre-Kindergarten students from noon until 3:00 p.m. The children bring a lunch and spend the afternoon listening to stories, enjoying free play in the classroom and on the playground, and participating in projects, activities, and games. The afternoon also includes a short rest period with extended time to build, draw, paint, and play.
Three and Pre-Kindergarten students are also eligible for After School Care which operates from 3:00 until 6:00 p.m.
There is an additional charge for both the Afternoon and After School Care programs.