Early Childhood


"Childhood is in itself an integral part of life to be lived fully and happily."
- Henry Welles, Headmaster 1938
Our Kindergarten Program is intentionally designed to harness the unique growth opportunities available to five- and six-year-olds during this developmental stage. We know our students are social, confident, capable and creative thinkers. Our curriculum develops their intellectual capacity and nurtures their insatiable curiosity, laying the foundation for future academic success as well as a lifelong passion for learning. Our teachers design a balanced day which includes direct literacy, math, science and writing lessons as well as open explorations. We are passionate about children believing in themselves. We encourage them to work independently as well as collaboratively, and affirm the contribution of all voices.
Our aim is for our students to:
  • Increase independence and autonomy
  • Develop a sense of self
  • Remain curious
  • Gain confidence in reading, writing and math
  • Love learning

A Day in Kindergarten

7:30 a.m. Optional Early Birds

8:00 a.m. | Arrival & Choice Time
Teachers intentionally prepare the classroom space to invite and encourage children to explore and experiment both independently and collaboratively.

8:30 a.m. | Morning Meeting
Every morning we come together for a daily morning meeting to build community, share news and read the message of the day.

9:00 a.m. | Physical Education
Through jump roping, ball catching and group game playing, children strengthen their bodies, develop balance and coordination and learn to demonstrate good sportsmanship.

9:30 a.m. | Language Arts
  • Word Work: Using the Fundations Program, Word Work develops each child’s phonemic awareness skills, specifically rhyming, sound symbol relationship, and blending and segmenting.
  • Guided Reading: Our fluid reading groups focus on phonics skill building, sight word recognition and reading comprehension strategies.
  • Writing: Throughout the year, children progress from drawing and labeling to writing narratives and how-to texts during writer’s workshop.

10:30 a.m. | Snack & Recess
A healthy snack is provided and the children play for 30 minutes outside each morning.
11:00 a.m. | Art or Music
  • Art: Sustainability is the foundation of our art Kindergarten art program. Children experience the creative process through the use of repurposed materials and projects provide opportunities for problem-solving and resourcefulness.
  • Music: Kindergarten music harnesses one of the most amazing musical resources: the voice of the child. Through singing, children perform alone and in groups; develop intervallic and rhythmic agility; improvise melodies and sing beloved community songs.
11:30 a.m. | Spanish
Using a multi-sensory approach, children learn to communicate Spanish words, basic greetings and conversational phrases through songs, stories and artistic mediums.

12 p.m. | Lunch
Children bring a packed lunch to school.

12:30 p.m. | Quiet Time & Recess
Children take a moment to pause for quiet time each day to listen to a story and quiet music before heading outside for the second recess of the day.
1:00 p.m. | Math or Science or Social Studies
  • Math: Through the use of manipulatives, games and independent and collaborative problem solving, children develop mathematical thinking and understanding as well as an excitement for the world of numbers.
  • Science: With a variety of animals in our Exploratory Lab to observe and care for and our 75 acre campus to explore, the children develop an appreciation for the natural world and their essential role as life-long environmental stewards.
  • Social Studies: Guided by the essential question: How are we alike and different? the children embark on a year-long study inviting them to think more deeply about themselves, others and their community.

2:30 p.m. | Quiet Time & Recess
Children take a moment to pause for quiet time each day to listen to a story and quiet music before heading outside for the second recess of the day.
(School dismisses at 12:30 p.m. on Wednesdays.)

2:50 p.m. | Closing Meeting & Dismissal
Closing meeting is an opportunity for reflection, celebration and expressions of gratitude.

3:00 p.m. | Optional Plus Programs (Learn more about our 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 Highlights

On Monday afternoons in the fall and spring, Kindergarteners explore and play along the nature trails of our 35 acre woodlands.
On Monday afternoons in the winter, Kindergarteners learn to ice skate across the street at the New Canaan Winter Club.
Kindergarteners explore race and identity through a multi-disciplinary “body mapping” study.
Kindergarteners learn the language of emotional intelligence which helps them recognize, label and regulate their emotions.
In the Exploratory Lab, children observe, question, tinker and test while studying physical science.
At the end of the year, each Kindergartener shares a portfolio of work with their family.

A developmentally aligned approach

  • Curious, eager, industrious, enthusiastic and imaginative
  • Beginning to learn empathy and considering other points of view
  • Social relationships are important
  • Time of dramatic growth and an openness to new learning
  • Capacity for logical thought emerges
  • Consider rules and behavior with a new found objectivity
  • Love novelty, silly jokes, goofy songs and guessing games
  • Daily opportunities for play, exploration and discovery
  • Clear and predictable schedule
  • Balance of individual and collaborative experiences
  • Encourage voice and choice
  • Celebrate effort, and encourage risk taking and mistake making
  • Need lots of physical activity
  • Thrive on encouragement and sensitive to criticism
  • Respond well to routines and clear expectations
  • Appreciate guided choice so they can make their own decisions
  • Will respond in more detail to specific questions...Who did you greet today at morning meeting? What did you do in the Exploratory Lab today? Where did you play on the playground at recess?
  • Seeks increased responsibility and likes chores

Our teachers

Our Kindergarten teachers are master educators who are passionate about what they do and the ages they teach. They create an environment 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 develop our students’ intrinsic motivation and growing sense of self. 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.

“I feel that with careful and positive guidance that I am teaching children to be kind, accepting, patient and building a strong foundation for their academic success.”
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.