Early Childhood

Early Childhood: Beginners (ages 3-5) and Kindergarten

"The Early Childhood program is guided by a developmental approach to teaching and learning. It is our strong belief that children are social, confident, capable and creative thinkers. We believe that exploration is a child’s way of learning and that learning is an active, ongoing and experimental process."  

— Head of Early Childhood Beth O'Brien

An Inquiry-Based Program

Inquiry is at the heart of our teaching and learning in Early Childhood. We encourage children to wonder and explore, to step into the unknown, to take risks and to be unconstrained by right answers. Teachers pose questions to help children connect to previous learning, to engage conversations and to deepen and extend understanding. Our curriculum is deliberately designed to develop our students’ intellectual capacity and nurture their insatiable curiosity. We stretch our students and offer them opportunities to innovate, create and play together within a community of learners.

Learn more about our Beginners (ages 3-5) and Kindergarten programs and schedules. 

Our Bold Approach

In Early Childhood we are passionate about children believing in themselves and their great potential. We encourage children to work independently as well as collaboratively and to understand that they are the primary directors of their own learning. We devote time every day to creating a classroom community where children feel welcome, valued, known, seen and heard. We guide children to further their respect for the rights of others; and most importantly instill a lifelong passion for learning. 

Teachers are the Guides

Our teachers are passionate about what they do and believe fully in the mission. We are a place where imagination and curiosity is valued and childhood respected. Enter our space and listen to the language our teachers use with the children. You will hear the language of encouragement, support, stretch and challenge. They use phrases that develop a child’s intrinsic motivation- words that support a child’s developing sense of self. “Give it a go. You did it! Wow, you must be so proud.” We believe vehemently in the word, "yet." We know that children need to believe that we see their great potential. We strive to create space for children to see and celebrate what they can do and to help children see and work towards the development of new skills and accomplishments.

A Welcoming Environment

Teachers intentionally prepare a space that will excite, invite and encourage children to explore. The classrooms provide opportunities for cooperative experiences in large and small groups as well as independent discovery and investigation. The environment is always suggestive and never prescriptive. The children are encouraged to take risks in a safe environment where relationships are built on trust. Learn about our Exploratory Lab and 75-acre campus.

A Balanced Curriculum

Our Early Childhood curriculum is deliberately designed to develop our students’ intellectual capacity and nurture their insatiable curiosity. We offer them opportunities to innovate, create and play together within a community of learners. The teachers design a balanced day; one that includes direct literacy, math, science, and writing lessons as well as open explorations. We pose questions like “What do you notice?”, “What should we do next?”, “I wonder what would happen if?”, and “What is your idea?” to tap into the child’s natural curiosity, encourage the child’s awareness of the process and to see themselves as contributors to the learning experience. We encourage the contribution of all voices. We believe diversity of thought and collaborative pursuits strengthen us as learners. VIEW OUR CURRICULUM GUIDE

Early Childhood News & Views

New Canaan Country School admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin and are afforded all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, age, sex, sexual orientation, national origin or ancestry, or disability in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, financial aid policies or any other school-administered programs.