Preschool

Our PreSchool Program is an engaging, exciting, and wonderful experience of learning and growing.   During this program the students become independent participants and learners in the classroom.

This is a multi-age program for children two and three years before Kindergarten.  All children must be potty trained.  If your young child is potty trained we will consider admittance at 2 1/2 years old.  For preschool we offer very flexible schedules to accommodate family needs and child development.

The primary objectives of our preschool program:

Social – can wait their turn in action and speech; can acknowledge behavior and actions; practice kindness and empathy

Group – line up with a single auditory cue; participate in playground games (red light, green light); can make an independent choice of two activities

Manners – appropriate use of Thank You and Please, can “hold their thought” when requiring attention from a teacher

Reading Readiness – dramatize a multi-step poem/song; respond to multi-dimensional questions; interpret and use intonation appropriately, sequence two and three step actions; match three letter words with a control card;  identify beginning sound and letter

Mathematical Reasoning – identify and add on to patterns; compare groups of up to 5 and “make them the same” (add/subtract);  rote count 1-10


Daily Schedule Preschool

  • Drop off outside, meet teachers, and play
  • Line up for Morning Message with entire school
  • Morning readiness and first bathroom break
  • Center work including a morning snack center
  • Circle and story time done in small groups where the teacher invites a group of students to join her
  • Yoga every other week
  • Get ready to go home and second bathroom break
  • Outside to play
  • Dismissal

Full day students then:

  • Lunch
  • Wash up and third bathroom break
  • Nap
  • Afternoon Circle
  • Story time
  • Music Theater on Wednesdays and Music Class on Thursday afternoons
  • Get ready to go home and fourth bathroom break
  • Outside to play
  • Dismissal

Transition

Our Transition Class is a small classroom (physical space is small and there are few students) for students aged 3 to 5.  Historically about half the class goes to Kindergarten the following year and half go to PreK.

This classroom is a little more teacher directed than the preschool and PreK classroom, but the goal is to help students learn how to make their own choices and how to advocate for themselves.

Our objectives for the students are on the continuum between the preschool and the PreK classroom.

Pre-K

Our PreK class (one year before kindergarten) is great preparation for kindergarten.  Our goal is to ensure that students enter kindergarten as confident, eager learners.

The students have choice throughout the day to explore the different centers.  In the late winter we begin to have one or two must do’s so that students begin to practice meeting the expectation of completing work as determined by the teacher.  By the spring this transitions to three or four must do’s.

Our primary objectives for the PreK class are:

Social – can follow classroom rules and remind friends to follow as well;  can play games using sportsmanship; can accept consequences of their actions

Group Behavior – can line up and keep hands to themselves;   can move between the center activities in a self-directed manner

Manner – appropriate use of Excuse Me;  can clean up work area without reminders

Reading Readiness – give an oral description of a simple process; retell a story with a beginning, middle and end; identify rhyming words; use word family knowledge to phonetically decode words; short vowel sounds; inventive spelling

Mathematical Reasoning – sort on multiple dimensions; duplicate patterns with two alternating properties;   rote count and write 1-10; compare groups of 1-10;  sequentially write numerals 1-10; skip count by 5s and 10s

A note on conflict resolution

One of the social developments of our PreK students is their exploration of how words have power.  The classroom conflicts have moved from snatching what is wanted and slapping for attention, to using words for power and meaning.  “You can’t come to my birthday” or “Only Tommy is coming to my house for a playdate.”  We are very attuned to this behavior and recognize that students need be guided on how to appropriately resolve their feelings of jealousy, abandonment, and power.  Throughout the school and from the very first morning, we model and praise appropriate group interactions.  In PreK we also use a series of plays and picture sequences to explore different responses to friends and interpreting how our actions impact others.

Kindergarten

SOCDS offers a full day kindergarten.  Kindergarten is not mandatory in New Jersey and therefore we can accept students close to district age cut-offs – either older or younger.  The benefit of this is that children have one more year of growth in a small setting before families made a decision about their entry to an elementary school.  One note is that the health immunization requirements for a kindergarten student are dictated by the class and not by the age of the student.

Our kindergarten class has been historically small, approximately 9-11 students per year.  This ensures that students receive individual lessons and activities at their level, while at the same time developing independence among the students.

The majority of the learning experience in kindergarten is self-directed.  Students receive a lesson from the teacher and then are given the opportunity to practice and explore the concepts on their own.  The teacher then reconnects with the student to monitor understanding and offer additional direction.

The main objectives of our kindergarten program is to:

Social  –  recognize personal property and space;  display sportsmanship and lose with grace;  carry a flowing conversation with peers

Group Behavior –  positively respond to redirection;  invite friends to play and work together

Manners – Interrupt politely and when important;  can acknowledge behavior and actions

Reading – reading chapter books with comprehension; interpret colloquial sayings; identify missing step in a sequence of actions; top 100 sight words; spelling of three and four letter words with short vowels

Mathematical Reasoning – identify and add-on to patterns with multi-criterion; simple computations;  word problems

Before/After Care

Daily Schedule for SOCDS

  • Drop off outside and Sign In
  • Meet teachers and play
  • Line up for Morning Message with entire school
  • Morning readiness (enter classroom, hang up jacket, place lunch boxes on shelf, remove folder from backpack and place in folder box, bathroom and wash hands)
  • Morning circle
  • Center work including a morning snack center every day
  • Yoga (every other week)
  • Story
  • Dismissal readiness (pack up and get ready to go home)
  • Outside to play
  • Dismissal for half-day students

Full day students then:

  • Lunch
  • Wash up
  • Nap
  • Afternoon Circle
  • Storytime
  • Musical Theater on Wednesday and Music Class on Thursday
  • Dismissal readiness (pack up and get ready to go home)
  • Outside to play
  • Dismissal for full-day students

After-care students then enter aftercare:

  • Wash up and bathroom
  • Snack
  • Free play
  • Craft Activities
  • Clean-Up
  • Story Time
  • Dismissal readiness (pack up and get ready to go home)

Summer Camp

South Orange Country Day School offers a Summer Camp experience for our students.  At the preschool age, students require continuity in their routine and schedule, and our summer camp offers that continuity.  During summer camp we do take extra advantage of our playground with special structures created to match our weekly themes.

The one change to the regular school year is that all families can create a flexible schedule that suits their needs.  You can sign up for the entire summer or for individual weeks, half or full days, and a few days a week.  Click here for the 2017 SOCDS Summer Camp