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The Rio Grande School early childhood education program focuses on the child as an active, competent learner and recognizes the family’s important role in supporting this vision. Daily life in school is rich in experiences that draw on the student’s abilities and interests while stimulating new learning and curiosity. Attention to the growth and development of each child and family is a hallmark of the Early Childhood Program, one that forges strong relationships.

The role of play in early childhood is taken very seriously, as it not only is how students learn to be resilient, observant problem-solvers as they approach life and learning, but it also builds upon memory and skills. The development of self-confidence, imagination, and creativity is encouraged; play develops the foundations necessary for future learning and supports students in making meaningful connections.

Educators work collaboratively to create a rich environment where students' interests are valued and explored. This child-centered approach leads to the emergence of in-depth thematic studies. The integrated curriculum and hands-on approach are used to teach skills and concepts, fostering problem-solving ability and independent thinking. Every experience opens opportunities to expand the chosen topic depending on the shared experience or special interests of the group. Students are encouraged to ask questions and to find the answers through experimentation, observation, exploration, and documentation.

Educators includes specialists in science, library, technology, Spanish, art, music, movement, physical education, and experiential education. The classroom teachers and co-curricular educators all work closely together to ensure that the curriculum is well-integrated and age appropriate. The RGS program carefully balances the integration of literacy, math, science, music and movement. Community play, math games, journal writing, and outdoor time add to the richness of the experiences.

Parents play an active role in their child’s experience at Rio Grande School, from chaperoning field trips to celebrating their diverse backgrounds and cultural traditions in the classroom to participating in school-wide events. Educators communicate class information through newsletters, emails, and daily interactions. Parent conferences and individual progress reports occur twice per year. Parent education is supported through informal daily conversations, class coffees, and from the school’s consulting psychologist when needed. Parents find that a strong and respectful partnership with their child’s educator can help to establish the best foundation for both current and future success in school.