Our teachers, pedagogy, and small class sizes combine to equip students with key academic competencies and preparation for Kindergarten. While the majority of our curriculum is taught in English, children learn French starting in Beginners, using the language approach of immersion and repetition that taught them their mother tongue. Shorter learning periods—interspersed with periods of music, physical playtime, learning centers, and outdoor exploration—allow our students to flourish emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually. Our Preschool gives students an extraordinary preparation for Lower School.
The Geneva Preschool program envelops our children in joy and love. At the tender ages of 3 and 4, my son mastered the fundamentals while simultaneously learning to show his friends love through respectful play; to know the joy and pride of making good choices; and to freely create in a place where he is cherished. He could have learned his ABCs, 1-2-3s, music, French, etc. many places, but the development of his heart is something truly magnificent and so beautifully integrated into his life at Geneva School. I am forever grateful for our partnership."
—Lucy G. (P'36)
Age 3-4 years (AM or PM class)
The Beginners curriculum is designed specifically to inspire our very youngest students to love learning and thrive at school. With an early emphasis on play-based learning in a teacher-directed environment, children discover the joy of learning while gaining a new sense of independence. Class sizes are small and provide a nurturing environment of free play, discovery, song, outdoor play, and exposure to structured learning.
Children are introduced to phonics and reading readiness through word play and daily exposure to great classical children’s stories. Writing readiness occurs through intentional pre-writing activities such as kneading playdough, stringing beads, needle-work, and play with small toys. All lessons are taught with hands-on materials using a multi-sensory approach. Singing, movement, art, poetry, and lots of time for play are all emphasized in the classroom.
Discovery Time (Science)
Children enjoy different themes each week, such as sequencing through the life cycle of a butterfly and chicken and learning about temperature, weather, and the four seasons. Lessons allow children to explore all five senses through hands-on activities and outdoor field trips.
Children are introduced to numbers and number concepts, measurements while baking, and patterns and shapes through dancing and singing. Using math manipulatives, children learn how to sort and count numbers up to 10.
French is taught through immersion and repetition, beginning with numbers 1 to 10, days of the week, parts of the body, salutations, manners, activities, and animals. Audio recordings help children practice and produce authentic pronunciation. Children learn and sing French songs and poems and often connect with thematic learning done in Discovery Time.
Each class begins with prayer and worship during the “morning meeting.” Each month introduces a new Scripture memory verse. Bible stories, key verses, hymns, and songs are taught for memory.
Music and Rhythm
Using the Kodály approach, children have fun gaining music skills by comparing music through dichotomies (loud/soft, fast/slow) and by experiencing music through physical action and written notation. Students learn to match pitch with their voices and to keep a steady beat both with their bodies and with instruments. Additionally, all Preschool classes enjoy music throughout the curriculum.
Many different materials are used in creative ways, often springing from a Discovery Time lesson or a piece of classic literature. In keeping with classical pedagogy, art is woven in throughout all subjects, and children are encouraged to create works of art. Tempura paint, water colors, glue, glitter, yarn, and other materials are available for their artistic endeavors.
Sensory Motor Skills
Basic drawing, cutting, and pasting are incorporated into daily activities so that students develop fine motor skills. Dancing, jumping, skipping, hopping, and balancing are taught to cultivate students’ gross motor skills and spatial awareness.
Beginners students enjoy daily free play in creative, non-structured ways. Opportunities for free play occur both outdoors in our newly renovated playground and in our classrooms, which feature all the accoutrements of creative play: building blocks, dress-up costumes, kitchen sets, modeling clay, finger paints, puzzles, and toys.
Social development in the preschool years is as important as academic and spiritual growth. Children are encouraged to express their ideas, share with others, and enjoy interactions with classmates.
Ages 4–5 years
Junior Kindergarten is a full, five-day-a-week program that includes a robust curriculum. Children dive into all subjects taught in the earlier preschool years on a much deeper level, adding formal physical education and chess classes. Junior Kindergarten students have begun blending sounds and are often fully reading. They also enjoy creative ways of learning through song and chants.
Students have morning and afternoon reading periods where they enjoy selections from expansive, in-class libraries. Phonics and blended sounds allow children to begin sounding out words, and by the end of the year some children are fully reading. Junior Kindergarten continues to emphasize proper pencil grip, and students learn to write all letters in both upper and lower cases.
Math and Science
Our Junior Kindergarten math and science curriculum includes number recognition from 1 to 30; counting by 1s, 2s, 5s, and 10s; sorting and classifying; graphing; simple addition and subtraction; calendar skills; measurement; proportion; and analogy. Additionally, science encompasses outdoor nature exercises to learn about seasons, plants, nature, animals, and insects.
Children respond to questions and commands in French; they learn the French alphabet and numbers. Students are taught authentic pronunciation of numbers, colors, songs, and rhymes. Audio recordings to help children practice and produce authentic pronunciation are used as well.
Bible curriculum for this age features daily devotionals that center upon God’s unending love for humanity. In addition, this class highlights proverbs that teach the importance of values such as honesty, forgiveness, and humility.
Junior Kindergarten students learn to draw geometric shapes and create compositions from basic shapes. They also learn primary and secondary colors and experiment with different media, such as pencils, crayons, and paint.
Social Studies and Social Development
Students learn about family, cultural traditions, and celebrations. Children are given the freedom and encouragement to express their ideas, to share with others, and to enjoy the interactions with other classmates.
Physical education and movement are essential components of elementary education. Students engage in formal physical education classes four days a week, where they develop motor skills, physical fitness, and spatial awareness. They also become aware of the rules and strategies in various sports, as well as sportsmanship. Recess and physical activity occur every day, as well as midday rest periods.
Students develop a foundation of musical skills by comparing music through dichotomies (loud/soft, fast/slow) and by experiencing music through physical action and written notation. Children learn to match pitch with their voices and to keep a steady beat both with their bodies and with instruments.
Students begin formal chess lessons in Junior Kindergarten, where it is taught in creative, fun ways. Learning chess at an early age confers benefits of strategy and pattern recognition that prepares students for math and science later on.