Early Childhood

Preschool - Grade 2

The Early Childhood Division at IDS fosters joy and an authentic love of learning. It is a safe place to try new things, make friends, and think beyond the ordinary. 
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The Preschool at IDS

The Preschool at IDS offers a Beginners (Age 3) and Pre-Kindergarten (Age 4) Program and is part of our Early Childhood Division. The theme-based curricula foster the social, emotional, physical, creative, and cognitive development of young children. Themes are integrated into various academic subjects including reading, math, social studies, science, design thinking, art, physical education and music. The children’s days are filled with joy and wonder as they take steps toward becoming active participants in their learning and in building community.

Our Preschool teachers are highly educated, experienced, and committed to the children and families they serve. IDS students benefit from our beautiful 33-acre campus as an extension of their classrooms. Our nature trails, pond, gardens, woods and open fields allow for countless opportunities in environmental exploration. Some Preschool students continue on at IDS for their full elementary education while others attend their local public school or another private school. No matter where your child may be headed for elementary school, the Preschool at IDS will build a solid foundation and nurture a joy and confidence in learning.

The Preschool at IDS Lookbook

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  • Beginners (Age 3)

    Beginners is where our youngest students start to cultivate independence, confidence, and cooperation. At IDS we believe that our Preschool program is an extension of a child’s home. A safe, collaborative learning environment that excites the imagination, supports the development, and lays the groundwork for future success. Our interactive theme-based curriculum taps into a child’s desire to explore the world around them. Beginners learn about their community and their school, of which they are an integral part. 
  • Pre-Kindergarten (Age 4)

    The Pre-K classroom is a child’s “playground” that builds self-confidence. The theme-oriented curriculum sparks the natural curiosity of small children about their world and their place in it. The Pre-K curriculum supports each student to grow into a kind, confident, inquisitive learner while heightening reading and math awareness and fine motor skills.
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Kindergarten at IDS is full-day and all about "how to learn" versus "things to learn." It is a time to build organizational strategies, to take on more responsibility, to increase confidence and independence and to strengthen the foundation for future learning. Here, we strive to facilitate learning in fun, exciting and meaningful ways, while remaining mindful of the fact that childhood is a journey, not a race. Pre-reading, Reading and Language Arts Skills are integrated throughout the Kindergarten curriculum through a balanced literacy approach. The Math Program sets an ambitious pace and Kindergarten Social Studies is integrated throughout the year.

First Grade

First graders take enthusiastic ownership of their learning and gain the basic skills necessary to become self-sufficient learners. Together, class guidelines are created to ensure a happy, collaborative community. First graders receive a balanced literary experience for sequential instruction of phonics, complemented by a variety of reading and writing activities. Daily reading workshops utilize the "Daily Five" format of reading to self, partner reading, word work, writing work and listening to stories, focus on phonics, word building activities, and comprehension through shared and independent reading. Writing is a corresponding focus, through a variety of experiences. The math program allows students to explore math concepts at the concrete level, gradually progressing to more abstract understandings. Students develop computational skill and mathematical thinking to solve real problems. Our yearlong, social studies focus on “community" consists of units integrated across the curriculum. Projects challenge the students to apply their blooming literacy skills to self-directed learning and build the courage and clarity to think and speak for themselves.

Second Grade

Second grade is the culmination of a child’s journey through the IDS Early Childhood program. Focused work on math facts and computation is balanced with the reinforcement of mathematical skills and concepts through diverse, multi-sensory games and activities that offer authentic real-life connections to form a with firm mathematical foundation. Reading fluency, vocabulary development and comprehension are the watchwords of our balanced reading program. Readers apply literal and inferential comprehension skills during class discussions and in written responses. Spelling and phonics activities expand and strengthen vocabulary. Second graders write across all areas of the curriculum, strengthening composition skills. They begin to self-edit with an eye on grammar and mechanics. In Social Studies we explore early Native American cultures and generate questions that guide independent research. Our inquisitive students learn enthusiastically about the first neighborhoods built around the Connecticut River.