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Long Ridge School

478 Erskine Rd
Stamford, CT 06903

(203) 322-7693


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An independent day school for Beginners, Nursery and Grade K- 5.

Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Play-Based

From the Director:

We welcome your interest in The Long Ridge School. Long Ridge is an independent, co-educational nursery and elementary school located on fourteen woodland acres in northern Stamford, Connecticut. The School enrolls children two years old through grade five, drawn from many local Connecticut and New York towns. Founded in 1938 by Harriet Rowland, a parent who wanted a school for young students to learn and grow in distinct and individual ways, Long Ridge continues today to provide a rich, warm, and outstanding education. Children here are valued for their unique capabilities and are active, enthusiastic participants in their learning. Long Ridge teachers use their exceptional experience and training to guide students in small groups and individually, and to work with parents in supporting their child’s curiosity and growth. Kris Bria Head of School

Curriculum & Teaching Approach

Learning Philosophy & Tools

  Play- based mostly teacher led not formally in curriculum conducive environment
Language       more

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  • Tracing paper and other writing instruments
  • A well-stocked bookcase
Oral language  
Nursery rhymes, poems, songs  
Storybook reading  
Emerging literacy skills  
Cognitive development
Math & number sense more

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  • Puzzles
Time & space more

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  • Calendars and clocks
  • Parquetry blocks, pegboards, and mosaic toys
  • Maps
  • Building blocks
Sci. reasoning/physical world more

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  • A place for science activities such as growing plants
  • Pets for children to watch and care for
Music more

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  • Musical instruments
Visual arts more

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  • Materials such as paint, ink, paintbrushes, crayons, markers, chalk, paper, etc.
  • Art work on the walls
Physical activity more

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  • A playground with climbing equipment
  • Bean bags, balls, and other objects that children can throw, kick, and play
  • Tricycles
  • Enough room for children to move around and play and a suitable indoor alternative to the outdoor playground on rainy days
  • Sandboxes and/or water stations for play
Other subjects taught As part of a full elementary school, the nursery students enjoy classes with specialists in music, physical education, library, and art while enjoying the benefits of a 14-acre woodland campus and the school's new Arts and Athletics Center. Nursery children are often visited by or are guests of the older students as they share their studies. The children visit the school garden, science classroom, full library, and school theater and gymnasium as part of their program.

From the Director:

As each child brings important experiences and strengths to the whole class group, Long Ridge School Nursery teachers work with each child’s distinct social, intellectual, creative, and physical development. The Nursery program strives to create a learning environment sparked and sustained by collaborative play and supportive risk-taking so that students have the time, space, materials, and encouragement to try new and more difficult tasks. We work to inspire our students’ sense of curiosity and wonder, and to make them feel happy and confident about themselves, their families, and their friends. The Long Ridge Nursery program begins our interdisciplinary theme-driven curriculum. Among our Nursery studies are The Seashore, The Farm, Our Selves, Our World at Night, This Pretty Planet, and Going Places. As students focus, for example, on the beach and the creatures who make their home there, they might measure sand or make waves in a tank; they might make art or sculpt playdough that expresses their thoughts about the beach; they may read and make up stories—or a song and dance—about a crab; maybe they’ll pretend to be a seagull or a lifeguard and draw a map of who sits where. The goal of themed studies in the Nursery program is to excite children about learning and to lend context both to new information and to a child’s individual place in the world. Theme-driven learning also helps children develop logical associations and critical thinking.

Quality of Teaching

Individualized Teaching: From the Director

Long Ridge's small class size enables our faculty to address each child's style and rate of learning, making it personally meaningful and appropriate for each student. Individualized instruction also permits greater opportunity to replace any misconceptions or apprehension with excitement and genuine understanding..

Our dedicated teachers develop close relationships with every student, understanding each child's strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes. This rapport becomes the basis for designing the most appropriate educational strategies for each student.

Small classes also promote collaboration among peers and give ample space for the development of each student’s unique voice and thought process, encouraging a natural flow of conversation, questioning, listening, reflection and understanding. This collaboration boosts a child’s self-esteem and natural curiosity.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

"The Long Ridge School is a diverse community of learners where children are respected as individuals with innate curiosity. We believe children flourish in a small, caring and academically challenging environment where learning is an active and joyful experience.

We help children develop the skills, motivation, and values to become successful students, responsible people and lifelong learners.

We believe:

Children should be valued for their uniqueness, ideas and talents.
Children achieve their highest potential in a challenging academic environment that addresses each child�s social and emotional development.
Children learn in different ways and at different rates.
Children should be active participants in their own learning; we encourage children to explore, experience and investigate as part of the educational process.
The natural range of abilities and levels of development typical of young children are best accommodated in multi-age groups.
Children learn best in an engaging environment where themes are relevant and meaningful.
Interdisciplinary studies promote a deep understanding and mastery of the skills and concepts expected at each grade level.
Children thrive in a rich learning environment that includes visual and performing arts, science, technology, world languages and physical education. "
Excerpted from the preschool's website

A Typical Day

painting and drawing
dictating stories
building with blocks
singing and dancing
making sandcastles and mudpies
cooking and baking
listening to stories and poems
planting seeds
acting out stories
working on puzzles
going on nature walks
sculpting with play dough
listening to music
climbing and digging
dressing up and pretending

Excerpted from the preschool's website

Home-School Connection

Parents Say They are Encouraged to:

  • Sit on the board of trustees
  • Hold social events at the school to build community
  • Fundraise
  • Are required to make donations ourselves
  • Are able to visit the school anytime we want
  • Go on field trips
  • Volunteer in the classroom
  • Receive newsletters

Modes of Communication

  • Notes
  • Phone Calls
  • Voice Mail
  • Special Meetings
  • Two or More Regular Conferences
  • Drop-Off
  • Pick-Up
  • Regular newsletter/printed updates circulated to the whole school


Separation is Handled through:

  • Pre-entry meetings with parents at school
  • Small group sessions
  • Extra staff dedicated to handle separation
  • Parents in classroom early on
  • Abbreviated schedule at start of school year

Handling Separation: From the Director

Separation is one of the most important milestones for the young child. In their first school experience, our youngest students are supported as they separate from their primary caregivers and are encouraged as they form new relationships with their teachers and peers. The separation process is tailored to the needs of the child and their family and benefits from the experience of the teachers.