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Academic Highlights

The Early Childhood program at Wardlaw+Hartridge provides an academic program for students in grades Pre-Kindergarten, Junior Kindergarten, and Kindergarten which develops active young problem-solvers, nurtures independent thinkers, and supports curious young learners.

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A dedicated STEM class, twice a week, allows students to participate in an innovative program integrating just-in-time learning with high-interest topics, such as building a miniature rainforest to study the water cycle.  Each unit is presented in a Problem-Based Learning approach, and students are tasked with using 21st Century skills of collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking to solve problems in content-driven projects. Students explore robotics, coding, and engineering as they work on interdisciplinary projects.


In addition to the core academic program, Early Childhood students attend specialized instruction classes throughout the week.  Early Childhood students have weekly classes in Art, Music, Spanish, STEM, and Physical Education.  These classes are taught by Wardlaw+Hartridge faculty who are highly trained in their fields. As students progress through the Early Childhood grades, with the exception of Physical Education, these classes increase in length and frequency of meetings throughout a week.  Physical Education is held daily throughout the Early Childhood and Lower School years.

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Early Childhood students benefit from enrichment programming specifically tailored to their ages and developmental needs.  Courses such as Little Yogis, Junior Robotics, Beginners Basketball, and Story Time Chess are offered after the school day ends as a complement to the regular program. Each season, classes are paired as one physically active class and one cognitively stimulating class. This pairing is created with the developmental needs of Early Childhood students in mind.  *Due to COVID-19, this program is temporarily suspended.


Our work here extends beyond the classroom and informs the overall atmosphere of the school environment. Teachers are trained in practical strategies for instruction that build a strong community and a focus on the following areas: engaging academics, positive communities, and developmentally responsive teaching.  In classrooms, this includes daily Morning Meetings in all grades. During this time, teachers set the tone for the day by incorporating all four components: greeting, sharing, group activity, and the morning message. This not only builds the classroom community, but it also engages students academically for their day.


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The Pre-Kindergarten, Junior Kindergarten, and Kindergarten students take part in field trips both on and off-campus.  A local farm and the Edison Fire Department both bring the learning experience to our Pre-K and JK classes as they conclude connected units of study. Classes travel to places such as a pumpkin patch, the children's theater, and the local firehouse. On-campus excursions to the Lower School garden and the nature trail provide experiences for our youngest learners that cannot be authentically re-created inside of the classroom. 

Lower School Calendar

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Early Childhood Head's Blog