Nursery School Program

Encouraging children to explore the world around them

Our preschool classes are designed to help children adjust to a new environment and confidently develop their skills and interests.

Offering opportunities for solo work as well as collaborative activities, our preschool classes – and the teachers who lead them – help students gain a well-rounded education and learn how to make good decisions.

Our play-based, emergent curriculum develops as teachers build relationships with individuals and learn the interests of each group. Teachers establish these relationships in a safe and familiar environment, so that students know what to expect and can begin to have ownership over their own space.

To this end, routines are kept consistent, rules and expectations are clearly explained, popular materials are maintained and new ones are brought in to match individual and group interests. The adults in the room provide comfort and guidance as co-collaborators.

All of the classrooms have a sand and a water table, art materials and writing supplies, blocks and vehicles, books and puzzles, dollhouses and loft-style playhouses. Each class visits the gym daily and children participate in structured and unstructured large motor activities, including climbing and jumping on mats, pedaling single- and multi-passenger bikes, and playing group games. While each classroom may have the same or very similar materials, how the children approach them depends on their age and experience. Teachers increase the complexity of activities as the children’s understanding and abilities advance.

The 2AM, 3AM, and 3PM classes are usually entry points for families joining the coop and these classes each have three teachers to help children navigate group life, with a particular focus on separation, toileting and reciprocal interactions. Two 4AM classes are a mix of children new to park west, and children returning from a 2 or 3 day class. Two Junior Kindergartens offer a slightly longer day and more complex challenges for our oldest children.

Learn more about the differences between our Nursery School Program classes below.

Quotes from Our Park West Family

"On the weekend, I couldn't wait to go back. I wish I could spend my whole life there."

—Andy W., former student