PCDS Curriculum

Children learn through play and actively engaging with their environment. The classrooms at PCDS offer a variety of hands-on experiences and activities: dramatic play, block building, art activities, sand and water play, science, cooking and music. Each child is unique, and the teachers provide opportunities to stimulate their cognitive, physical, social and emotional development while taking into account children’s individual learning styles.

Park Children’s Day School believes that the most successful Early Childhood program is child-centered and provides a happy and nurturing atmosphere in which children can develop a positive self-image and a love of learning. The curriculum is diverse and flexible, offering a varied and developmentally appropriate choice of activities. The children are valued as capable, worthy individuals and are encouraged to explore, to embrace challenges, and to become critical thinkers.

PCDS advocates learning through experience and provides children with the skills to meet future educational demands. Children at every age level are given unlimited opportunities to learn and grow through play. This approach provides a sense of challenge and personal mastery for each child.

The PCDS faculty and administration believe that a young child learns and lives best in a well-organized environment in which he or she is encouraged to express his or her ideas, experiment, and move about freely in appropriately equipped and organized classrooms.

We believe that the education and well-being of each child is best accomplished through cooperation and communication among all members of the school community. Parents are encouraged to be in close contact with the school, to participate in their child’s school life, and to be involved in the many activities sponsored by the Parents Association.

An atmosphere of trust, shared concern for the welfare of the children and a sense of community are the most important aspects of the school’s philosophy and practice.

Curriculum Detail

Emergent Literacy

Emergent Literacy

The children are exposed to rich language and literacy experiences every day. The classrooms are intentionally designed as print and symbol-rich environments. Through listening to stories, the dramatization of stories, book making, and dictations, the children develop many skills including oral language skills, the connection between the spoken and written word, phonological awareness, alphabetic knowledge and conventions of print. We use a variety of literary genres to inspire the children and spark their interest and imagination. Curiosity is developed in the classroom through both teacher-planned and spontaneous child-initiated activities. The children begin to incorporate letters, words, symbols and numbers into their own work. As in all aspects of the program, the children advance at their own pace.

Social Emotional Learning

Social Emotional Learning

Social and emotional skills are the tools both children and adults use in social interactions to manage everyday emotional responses and make responsible decisions. Preschool social-emotional skills include self-awareness, social awareness, the ability to cooperate with others, manage feelings, feel and show empathy for others, establish healthy relationships, focus attention and persist at challenging tasks. These skills are emphasized at PCDS and given intentional support because they are critical for long-term school and life success.

Mathematics

Mathematics

Mathematical concepts are integral to the curriculum at all age levels. Through the manipulation and exploration of a wide range of materials, children gain an understanding of counting and number sense, basic addition and subtraction, sorting, patterning, comparing, sequencing, classifying and estimating. Teachers use charts, graphs, books and songs to support the children's math skills. Conceptual learning takes place in the context of play through activities such as cooking, counting games, block building and group meetings. One of our goals is to help children think mathematically and use language to describe, reason, and predict ideas and solutions.

Art

Art

The art program at PCDS focuses on the creative process rather than the product. Projects are child-directed and celebrate the experience of discovery. Children work with a variety of art materials to express their experiences, feelings and ideas. As children use familiar materials over time, they develop increasing dexterity, creativity and skill.

Science

Science

Children are naturally curious about the world around them. Our program emphasizes “discovery” as a way of gaining information. The children are provided with a variety of materials and experiences that allow them to use the scientific method of asking questions, making observations, forming a hypothesis, experimenting and drawing a conclusion. Science concepts include cause and effect, balance, measurement, nature, seasons and weather. Through activities such as, cooking, planting, the care of pets, and recycling of materials, children gain respect and a sense of responsibility for their environment. Our city children get a real “dose” of nature because Central Park is just across the street. Science activities in the park help increase descriptive vocabulary and allow children to gain a better appreciation of their world.

Music

Music

A music specialist works with each class weekly utilizing a variety of musical experiences, which include instruments and movement. The approach is expressive, imaginative and movement-oriented. Children feel joy and confidence as their musical abilities grow. Songs promote language skills rhythm and pitch. Music fills the classrooms and hallways every day, especially during transitions, meeting time, clean-up and dismissal.

Social Studies

Social Studies

The children are exposed to rich language and literacy experiences every day. The classrooms are intentionally designed as print and symbol-rich environments. Through listening to stories, the dramatization of stories, book making, and dictations, the children develop many skills including oral language skills, the connection between the spoken and written word, phonological awareness, alphabetic knowledge and conventions of print. We use a variety of literary genres to inspire the children and spark their interest and imagination. Curiosity is developed in the classroom through both teacher-planned and spontaneous child-initiated activities. The children begin to incorporate letters, words, symbols and numbers into their own work. As in all aspects of the program, the children advance at their own pace.

Physical Activity

Physical Activity

Physical activity is an important component of every child’s learning experience at PCDS. The children spend part of each day in the school’s gym or Central Park. Our gym is equipped with a climbing wall, tricycles, a rope climber, rocking boats, trampolines, a variety of sports equipment and large hollow blocks for building structures. In Central Park, the children have the opportunity to explore the natural environment and observe wildlife.

Additional Information

Home Visits

Before school begins in September, all children entering Toddlers and Threes are visited at home by their teachers, regardless of whether or not they are new to Park Children’s Day School. This is an important first step toward establishing a teacher/student bond and a feeling of security in a new classroom setting. The teachers will call the parents shortly after Labor Day to set up a convenient time for the home visit.

Daily Arrival

A teacher will be on duty at 8:30 AM every morning, beginning in late September, in the first floor reception room to read to children whose family’s morning schedule requires that they be brought to school early. The accommodation is for children in the Threes, Fours and Fives.

For regular arrival time, Mrs. Newell and/or Mrs. White greet the children in the lobby. The children proceed with their parent(s) to their classrooms with the exception of children in the Fives who will be brought to the gym to meet their teachers.

Parent / Teacher Conferences

Formal Parent/teacher Conferences are scheduled in the fall and in the spring. Additional conferences may be arranged as parents or teachers wish.

Daily Schedule

Children of two, three, four and five years of age are enrolled at PCDS. Toddlers attend either two or three sessions per week. Threes, Fours and Fives attend five sessions per week. The decision as to which session a child will attend is made based on the age of the child, his or her needs, and the availability of places.

• Toddlers: 9:00 AM - 11:45 AM
• Threes: 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
• Fours: 8:50 AM - 12:00 PM
• Fives: 8:45 AM - 2:30 PM (M,T,W,Th)
• 8:45 AM - 12:00 PM (F)

An optional Afternoon Adventures Program is available in the Four Year Old Program on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday until 2:30 PM.

Afternoon Adventures offers an in-depth exploration in the areas of bookmaking and literacy, science investigations, yoga and mindfulness and excursions in Central Park and the neighborhood. It also includes a focus on various art media such as ceramics, printmaking, collage, and sculpture.

An optional Afternoon Adventures Program is available in January for the Three Year Old Program on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday until 2:00 PM.

PCDS 2022-2023 School Year Calendar

Wednesday, September 7 Teachers return
Monday, September 12 through Friday, September 16 Children's Home/Classroom Visits
Tuesday, September 13 Parent Orientation - 6pm
Thursday, September 15 Fours and Fives begin
Monday, September 19 Toddlers and Threes begin
Monday, September 26 Rosh Hashanah School Closed
Tuesday, September 27 Early Morning Greeter begins
Wednesday, September 28 The Full Day Program for Fives and Afternoon Adventures for Threes and Fours begins
Wednesday, October 5 Yom Kippur School Closed
Monday, October 10 Italian Heritage Day/Indigenous People's Day School Closed
Wednesday & Thursday, October 25 & 26 Photo Days
Thursday, October 27 Curriculum Night Noon dismissal for Threes, Four and Fives
Wednesday, November 2 Virtual Open House 7:30pm
Monday, November 7 Parent/Teacher Conferences School Closed
Wednesday, November 16 Teachers leave for NAEYC Conference Noon dismissal.
Thursday & Friday, November 17 & 18 NAEYC Conference in Washington, DC
Wednesday Through Friday, November 23-25 Thanksgiving Holiday
Wednesday, November 30  Spirit Day (no photo-just for fun!)
Tuesday, December 6 In-person Open House 6:00pm
Tuesday, December 13 Teacher Appreciation Holiday Luncheon Noon dismissal for Threes, Fours and Fives
Thursday, December 15 Winter Break begins after Class Party
Monday, January 2 Teachers return after Winter Break
Tuesday, January 3 School reopens for Children
Monday, January 13 Marin Luther King Jr. Day School Closed
Monday & Tuesday, February 20 & 21 Mid-Winter Weekend
Friday, March 17 Spring Break begins after dismissal
Monday, April 3 Teachers return after Spring Break
Tuesday, April 4 School reopens for Children
Thursday & Friday April 6 & 7 Passover & Good Friday
Tuesday, April 11 Color Day
Wednesday, April 12 Ongoing School Discussion with Betsy 6:00pm
Monday, April 24 Parent/Teacher Conferences School Closed
Wednesday, April 26 Spirit Day All-School Photo 9:30am
Tuesday, May 23 Teacher Appreciation Luncheon No Extended Day for Fives
Thursday, May 25 Last full day for Fives and Afternoon Adventures
Monday, May 29 Memorial Day School Closed
Friday, June 2 Closing Day for Children