The Aspen Country Day journey begins with an essential element of early childhood education: play. When it comes to establishing a solid foundation for success in school, play is the essential building block. Children develop many skills — social, pre-literacy and math, fine and gross motor, as well as problem-solving — through playing with peers, playing independently, or interacting with their teachers. The Aspen Country Day School program offers children abundant opportunities to make discoveries and observations, act out stories, resolve conflicts, and construct meaning through play.

An outstanding education begins here

Preschool Twos (from age 2 1/2)

Children who are 30 months old on or before August 31 of the school year attend two days per week (usually Tuesdays & Thursdays) for a gentle introduction to the rhythms of school life.

From the very beginning of their ACDS journey, younger learners experience a warm and supportive environment that helps them discover the world around them. They learn to confidently transition from home to school and become a valued member of the classroom community. As a play-based program, we foster learning through play and social interactions. Daily schedules and routines provide varied opportunities for free choice play and small group activities. The classroom environment is intentionally designed to support children’s curiosity, imagination, social/ emotional skills, and pre-literacy and math knowledge. The Creative Curriculum resource is used for the younger learners; this theme-based model focuses on all areas of early childhood development.

Preschool Threes (from age 3)

Children who turn age 3 on or before August 31 of the school year attend a minimum of three days per week, up to five days depending upon availability.

From the very beginning of their ACDS journey, younger learners experience a warm and supportive environment that helps them discover the world around them. They learn to confidently transition from home to school and become a valued member of the classroom community. As a play-based program, we foster learning through play and social interactions. Daily schedules and routines provide varied opportunities for free choice play and small group activities. The classroom environment is intentionally designed to support children’s curiosity, imagination, social/ emotional skills, and pre-literacy and math knowledge. The Creative Curriculum resource is used for the younger learners; this theme-based model focuses on all areas of early childhood development.

PreKindergarten (from age 4)

Children who have turned four years old on or before August 31 of the school year attend up to five days per week, depending on availability.

The focus for this year is social-emotional development: learning how to understand their own and others’ feelings, regulate and express their emotions appropriately, build relationships with others, and behave pro-socially in groups. These essential skills are strong predictors of a successful Kindergarten transition and early school success.

PreKindergarten is an academically rich environment that presents opportunities to practice literacy and math skills. Our daily classroom schedule provides a nice balance between small and large group activities, free-choice, and teacher-directed projects. Curricula for older learners are Bridges in Mathematics, The Letter People, Creative Curriculum, and Handwriting Without Tears.

Academics

The Aspen Country Day School PreKindergarten program provides an early childhood educational experience that honors the whole child. Children develop in different ways and at different rates, so experienced teachers offer a variety of opportunities to foster each child’s strengths and interests. We strive to meet the unique needs of each child and his or her family.

Language Arts: finding your voice

Speaking, listening, and using your imagination are the building blocks of language arts. Our youngest students are introduced to more formal listening/speaking exchanges through circle time, read aloud, songs, etc. Children find their voice through their own storytelling, expressing ideas or needs, and role playing. Gradually, students connect speaking and writing by dictating their ideas to their teachers. Letter recognition and formation are gently introduced in PreK Three.

Math: developing early number sense

We begin with experientially based exposure to numbers, counting, and number concepts. There’s daily exposure to manipulatives, finger plays, and small-group math activities. Children develop a basic awareness of numbers, explore the concept of 1-to-1 correspondence, investigate sorting, measuring, graphing, patterns, and shapes. They begin to match quantities to numbers, laying the foundation for future math study. Four-year-olds are introduced to the Bridges in Mathematics program that we use throughout the Lower School at Aspen Country Day.

Social Studies: being part of a community

The focus of Social Studies in the primary grades is to develop an understanding of how individuals make up communities and societies. Exploring the groups to which children naturally belong (family, class, school etc.,) students begin to see that they are part of a greater whole — their community — and that the community is part of a greater society. We explore many holidays and traditions.

Science: inquiring & investigating

Each PreK classroom has a science interest area which helps children develop scientific intelligence through observation, inquiry, investigation and their own natural curiosity. One of the favorite activities of the PreKindergarten classes is joining their buddy grades to witness a science experiment put on by Middle School students and teachers. There are also plenty of hands-on outdoor experiments, such as measuring snowfall with a yardstick on the playground or observing a family of ducklings on the pond.

French & Spanish: discovering other languages

Students are exposed to a semester of each language three times per week, working with their own classroom teachers. They play games, sing songs, and do activities that build their pronunciation and listening skills. Language study continues with one semester each of French and Spanish through Third Grade, then in Fourth grade, students choose a language for continued study throughout their Country Day journey.

Arts

The arts open so many possibilities for children. Creative activities foster brain development, problem-solving skills, and the ability to “think outside the box.” Young artists find non-verbal ways to express their feelings, giving them more ways to be understood by their classmates, teachers, and parents. Plus, there’s something straight-up joyful about making a painting, putting on a skit, or singing a funny song.

Performing Arts: developing confidence

Country Day has long been recognized for the strength of its performing arts program. Children learn to sing, dance, perform, and play basic instruments. They perform in the annual Holiday Sing, All-School Play, and special PreK performances. These on-stage opportunities give them confidence and poise as well as a rich understanding of theater and music.

Visual Arts: expressing creativity

The arts are an integral part of education and of life at Country Day. Each classroom includes a rich art center so the children can express creativity and explore different mediums. Classroom teachers lead guided art activities throughout the year. The children bring home many wonderful creations, which are also displayed in the hallways outside the classroom.

Outdoors

The Aspen Country Day School commitment to learning outdoors starts in PreKindergarten. You will often see our littlest learners out for a walk on the paths around campus, taking their time to explore and observe the natural world around them. Wholesome days in nature fortify children’s spirits and build their confidence, resilience, and joy in learning.

Outdoor time & PE: learning in fresh air

Children have recess and lots of outdoor play time. They attend special PE classes three times per week. The program focuses on a variety of games to build foundational skills for success in later sports activities. Children develop their loco-motor skills and spatial awareness. They practice manipulative skills (rolling, tossing catching, kicking) and play cooperative games. Students begin to understand how activity keeps us healthy.