Early Childhood


Children in Kindergarten are viewed as competent, capable and creative contributors and seen as active participants in the learning process.

Our curriculum is deliberately designed to stretch each student and offer children opportunities to innovate, create and play together within a community of learners. When children are encouraged to explore possibilities in one discipline, such a mindset finds its way into other moments—in language arts, math, science and music.


8:15 – 2:50
8:15 – 2:50
8:15 -12:30
8:15 – 2:50
8:15 – 2:50
Optional Plus Program
3 – 4
3 – 4
No plus program
3 – 4
3 – 4
Optional Extended Day
2:50 – 5:30
2:50 – 5:30
12:00 – 5:30
2:50 – 5:30
2:50 – 5:30
Kindergarten Sample Schedule
8:15 – 8:45       Arrival
8:45 – 9:00       Morning Meeting
9:15 – 10:00     Recess and Snack
10:00 – 11:00   Half group specials in Spanish, Music, PE and Library; Small group lessons in Language Arts and Writing; *Groups switch on the half hour
11:00 – 11:45   Workperiod     
11:45 – 12:00   Read aloud
12:00 – 12:30   Lunch
12:30 – 1:00     Quiet Time and Recess
1:00 – 2:30       Outdoor Ed/Ice Skating in Winter/Project Work; Half group specials in Science and Motor; Small group lessons in Math; *Groups switch after 45 minutes
2:30 – 2:50     Read aloud
2:50               Dismissal

Our program has a variety of opportunities to extend your child’s day through our PLUS PROGRAM, including before and after school programs. 


Kindergarteners are eligible to ride the bus. Buses are available every morning and at 3:00 p.m., 4:15 p.m. dismissal after Extended Day, and Wednesdays at 12:40 p.m.

Kindergarten Curriculum

List of 9 items.

  • + Language Arts

    Kindergarten Language Arts fosters a love of literature and supports children as they grow more confident as readers, writers, speakers and listeners. Our curriculum
    is designed in a systematic and sequential way to develop the foundational skills essential for the child to become an independent reader. Starting in Kindergarten, we use a Balanced Reading Approach focusing on read-aloud, shared reading, word work, guided reading, shared writing, and writing workshop. The interactive read-aloud by the teacher exposes children to rich vocabulary, sophisticated sentence structure and an appreciation for engaging literature. During this time, Kindergarteners hear how a fluent and expressive reader sounds, and develop their phonological awareness skills by listening to books and poems read with rhymes and predictable patterns. Additionally, they develop listening and comprehension skills by listening to the teacher think out loud and connect to previous knowledge while reading aloud to the class. The read-aloud also provides opportunities for the students to continue to enhance their oral language skills as they share their own thoughts and predictions, and make connections to the books.
     Shared reading provides the teacher and students the opportunity to read together chorally. In Kindergarten, the teacher first reads the text aloud to model pacing, fluency and inflection. On the second reading, the students add their voices. Examples of shared reading in Kindergarten occur daily through the collective reading of the morning meeting message and working poems. The teacher uses a pointer to model voice print match. Over the course of the year, the teacher hands the pointer over to a child during the second reading. Additionally, these mini lessons offer the teacher time to focus on the repetition and reinforcement of phonics rules, point out high-frequency sight words, and model reading for meaning and information.
     During our small skills-based groups, Kindergarteners engage in word work and guided reading. Word work lessons focus on developing phonemic awareness skills—specifically, identifying rhymes and syllables, and blending and segmenting sounds in words. Additionally, children are explicitly taught the relationship between sounds and letters, and are introduced to high-frequency words through interactive games. Guided reading helps Kindergarteners develop their phonics skills by providing instruction and repeated practice in reading books at their independent level. Children also increase their reading accuracy and fluency, and develop their reading comprehension strategies by focusing on beginning story elements during their guided reading groups. Each child’s reading progress is carefully monitored both informally and formally through bench-mark assessments throughout the year.
     In the print-rich environment of our classrooms, opportunities for writing abound. Self-expression through writing is nurtured and encouraged as all students learn to use writing as an effective and creative form of communication. Teachers use shared writing to model an experienced writer’s thought process. During writing workshop, teachers focus on developing skills such as left to right orientation, capital and lowercase letters, spacing between words, and ending punctuation. Children use their developing phonics skills to identify beginning and ending sounds in words, and represent those sounds in their independent writing. Mini lessons also focus on the concepts of a story’s beginning, middle and end, adding details and using sentence starters to “hook” their readers.
  • + Social Studies

    The social studies curriculum focuses on developing a sense of community and an appreciation of the natural world. Children take advantage of the school’s surrounding fields, woods and streams to develop the concept of stewardship. The curriculum is designed to create a community where kindness, respect and empathy are fostered. Children begin to develop a deeper understanding of self. Each child is a valued and contributing member of a group learning to solve problems, collaborate, cooperate and take responsibility.
  • + Mathematics

    The Bridges in Mathematics program begins in Kindergarten. The curriculum builds a strong mathematical foundation while instilling an attitude that math is exciting, relevant, challenging and accessible. Through direct lessons, open-ended exploration and engaging games, students spend time representing and comparing whole numbers, describing shapes and space, joining and separating objects to understand addition and subtraction, and describing and analyzing attributes of the shapes they see in their daily lives. With the use of manipulatives and games, children are invested and develop a positive, confident attitude toward learning mathematical concepts. Problems & Investigations: Each day, the children are presented with a novel, complex problem and are encouraged to find their own strategy to solve it. Strategies and solutions are shared in a whole or small group setting, encouraging all students to develop flexible and efficient ways of solving problems. Work Places: Several times a week, students visit math stations that offer engaging, hands-on, developmentally appropriate and differentiated games that reinforce key math skills. Number Corner: Each day, students participate in a rich, mathematically advanced discussion through a variety of quick-paced activities. Activities involving calendar prediction, patterning, number lines and monthly collections are a springboard for advanced mathematical concepts and higher level thinking.
  • + Science

    The Kindergarten curriculum approaches science through direct experiences in which they form ideas, test them, see the results, revise their ideas and try again. In the Exploratory Lab, children continue to work with blocks, ramps, sand, water and wind to deepen their understanding of force, motion, speed, momentum and gravity. They are encouraged to design their own experiments, hypothesize, problem solve and analyze their results. With a variety of animals in our building and our 75-acre campus to explore with woods and a vernal pond, opportunities to interact with nature abound. Children learn about protecting habitat, and respect for our environment. In Kindergarten, the children learn about classification through interaction with vertebrates such as mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians and with invertebrates—specifically insects and crabs. An understanding and appreciation for the natural world is formed through meaningful and relevant hands-on experiences.
  • + World Languages

    Kindergarten Spanish classes are designed to engage the child’s multiple intelligences—visual, musical, spatial, kinesthetic and interpersonal. Through songs, books, poems, puzzles, dance, games and artistic media, students learn to structure and communicate words and phrases in Spanish. The following topics are introduced: everyday greetings, colors, numbers, body parts, animals and clothing.
  • + Visual Arts

    In Kindergarten art, children experience the creative process through the use of recycled and found materials with an emphasis on problem solving, resourcefulness and sustainability. Concepts of color, space, line, texture and design are taught in a manner that encourages individual thinking and freedom of expression. Children work on their own and in small groups, and the artistic experience takes advantage of the wide array of unique workspace environments and opportunities available on the campus.
  • + Dramatics

    Dramatics begins in the Early Childhood Program with a variety of activities that encourage self-expression, character observation and improvisation. Puppet shows, theatrical adaptations of favorite stories and other age-appropriate, group-based activities that respond to the classroom moment help students to make deep connections to curriculum and to their personal learning.
  • + Music and Movement

    Kindergarteners bring their creative, playful spirits to the music curriculum and are ready for more sophisticated song games. Their creative ideas come to play in reenacting a piece of literature or in different ways to move to a piece of music. By the end of the Kindergarten year, students can identify the eighth, quarter and half notes as they match their step to the drum.
  • + Physical Education

    In Kindergarten, children continue to develop their gross- and fine-motor
    skills for physical activity such as catching and throwing a ball, performing locomotor movements, and navigating obstacle courses, while building upper body strength. Group games are introduced as children participate in running games while learning to change directions, share equipment, take turns and demonstrate good sportsmanship.
    • Children skate every week during the winter trimester

    • There is a teacher and classroom dedicated to early childhood science.

    • Children spend a part of everyday playing and learning outside on our 75-acre campus, including in the NCCS woods.

    • Remarks by Head of Early Childhood Beth O'Brien

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.