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-emotional, 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.
For the 2023-24 school year, there are two classrooms. Each classroom includes a mixed-age range of younger and older learners.
In a multi-age classroom, all students will be exposed, in an age-appropriate way, to programs such as Bridges in Mathematics, Creative Curriculum, and Learning Without Tears. We work with both the younger and the older learners to meet them where they are and gradually give them new challenges as they are ready.
An outstanding education begins here
Preschool Twos: children who are 30 months old on or before August 31 of the school year
Preschool Threes: children who are three years old on or before August 31 of the school year
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 consistent 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.
Children who have turned four years old on or before August 31 of the school year
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 and manage positive and consistent relationships. These essential skills are strong predictors of a successful Kindergarten transition and early school success.
PreKindergarten is supportive and well-balanced 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, Creative Curriculum, and Learning Without Tears.
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 Preschool.
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. 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. One of the favorite PreK elements is using the outdoors to motivate learning through activities such as comparing and contrasting snowfall and river volume, taking scientific nature walks, and canoeing on the pond.
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. Giving PreK friends the space to express themselves freely while experimenting with various materials and outlets is prioritized.
Music & Performing Arts: developing confidence
Aspen 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 on stage in larger school drama productions along with special performances for their grade level. These on-stage opportunities give them confidence and poise as well as a fun introduction to 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.
The Aspen Country Day School commitment to learning outdoors starts in Preschool. 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: learning in fresh air
Children have recess and lots of outdoor play time. Children develop their gross 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.