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Independence School

1300 Paper Mill Rd
Newark, DE 19711-3408

(302) 239-0330


Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Play-Based, Teacher-Led

From the Director:

Early Childhood at The Independence School educates all students with an appropriate mix of developmental activities and experiences and academic challenges. The scope and sequence of our curriculum for The Independence School begins here. Thus, the move from a day care or childcare setting to a school environment is made as children enter this program. Our academic time, teaching of our curriculum, is done mainly in the morning portion of the classes. However, students who remain full day continue to experience opportunities and lessons which reinforce the concepts taught in the morning. The afternoon is also a time for enrichment, additional science experiments, extended peer interaction, and a broadened exploration of current topics as well as lunch and a rest period. Field trips are taken to enhance our curriculum and units of study. Museum and nature programs come to our school through outreach programs. The students participate in assemblies and grade level gatherings. Children are taken outdoors to exercise and develop their gross motor skills. Our multi-purpose room is also used for large motor activity. Teachers give students an opportunity for both organized games and free play. We believe both are equally important. Our Early Childhood students and faculty celebrate special events as a division and by level. Children and parents are invited to participate in a variety of ways. Students are encouraged to dress a part for such events. Everyone partakes in the festivities. Parent volunteers are encouraged once the children have acclimated to the school environment. Parents can donate their time in the classroom, as cooking helpers, book parents, or by volunteering for a larger event. Parents are kept informed through newsletters, which are sent home at least twice a month from the classroom teacher. The school also communicates with families through e-letters every other week.

Curriculum & Teaching Approach

Learning Philosophy & Tools

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

More Information

  • Tracing paper and other writing instruments
  • A well-stocked bookcase
  • various media is available to children, educators teach journal writing when students are ready.
Oral language  
Nursery rhymes, poems, songs  
Storybook reading  
Emerging literacy skills  
Cognitive development
Math & number sense more

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  • Puzzles
  • a variety of manipulatives and spatial materials are used for teaching concrete understanding of concepts.
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
  • experiments are conducted with each unit of study
Music more

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  • Musical instruments
  • music class with a music educator
Visual arts more

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  • Materials such as paint, ink, paintbrushes, crayons, markers, chalk, paper, etc.
  • Art work on the walls
  • art instruction with a visual arts teacher begins with the four-year old classes
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
  • Physical Education classes begin in kindergarten
Other subjects taught Integral to the Early Childhood program is the development of creativity, individualiity, critical thinking, and problem solving.

Quality of Teaching

Individualized Teaching: From the Director

The early childhood educators at The Independence School have experience in working with young children and at a minimum, hold a bachelor's degree in education. The teachers are passionate about their vocation and derive great pleasure in working with children and their families.

The Independence School educator is able to meet the needs of all students who are admitted to the program (Independence is a mission-driven school). Support is given when necessary and challenge is a part of the curriculum.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

The Independence School believes that educational excellence results when there exist in combination outstanding teachers, moderate class sizes, a pleasant yet disciplined classroom environment, and a sequential arts-and-sciences curriculum taught in a structured manner. A vital element in the success of an Independence education is a strong parent-school relationship fostered by extensive communication.

Independence welcomes any student age three to grade eight, regardless of race, color, religion, sex, national or ethnic origin, subject only to his or her ability to demonstrate sufficient promise of academic success, parent-student agreement with and subscription to the school's philosophy and regulations, and the satisfaction of financial obligations. The school offers need-based financial aid to accepted students to the limits of its availability.

The faculty, administration and trustees of The Independence School personally and professionally reflect and emphasize traditional American values in the Judeo-Christian tradition: moral and spiritual values, the family, work ethic, the free enterprise system, patriotism, and the contributions of the cultural traditions that have formed our national heritage.

A student graduated from The Independence School should not only be highly educated in the basic literacy and computational skills, but should also be a sensitive, moral citizen, intellectually curious and critical, a potential leader in society.

A Typical Day


7:50-8:10 - Arrival Time
7:50-8:30 - Morning Responsibilities, social time with friends and teachers, free play activities, one on one work with teacher
8:30-9:00 - Circle Time - community meeting, daily agenda, group lesson, movement, story
9:00-9:20 - Snack Time
9:20-9:30 - Clean up & Book Time
9:30-10:00 - OutsideTime
10:00-11:00 - Work Time with Choice Activities
11:00-11:10 - Clean Up
11:10 - 11:30 - Circle Time - community gathering, story, prepare to go home
11:30 - Dismissal


7:50-8:10 - Arrival Time
7:50-8:30 - Morning Responsibilities, social time with friends and teachers, free play activities, one on one work with teacher
8:30-9:00 - Circle Time - community meeting, daily agenda, group lesson, movement, story
9:00-9:20 - Snack Time
9:20-9:45 - Clean up & Book Time
9:45-10:15 - OutsideTime
10:15-11:30 - Work Time with Choice Activities
11:30-11:45 - Clean Up
11:45 - 12:10 - Circle Time - community gathering, story, prepare for lunch
12:15-12:45 - Lunch Time
12:45-12:55 - Clean up & Prepare to go outside
12:55-1:15 - Outside Time
1:15-2:15 - Rest Time (this is modified dependent upon age of children and group dynamics - it can be as short as 20 minutes)
2:15-3:00 - Enrichment activities (drama, art, science experiements, community projects, etc.)
3:00 - Dismissal

3 year old classes participate in music class that is built into the above sample schedule. These classes go to the library with the classroom teacher.

4 year old classes participate in music and art classes. These classes go to the library with the classroom teacher.

kindergarten classes participate in music, art, physical education, and library classes.

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

Teachers provide on-going communication with parents in the form of newsletters, reports, and conferences (which can be initiated by teacher or parent at any time). Parents are encouraged to volunteer in the classroom, which provided opportunities for parents to see their child as a student.

Progress reports are written three times per school year. Conferences and open houses provide time to exchange information about early childhood development and individual growth and areas of need. Morning Gatherings with the Head of Early Childhood are times for parents of young children to meet and discuss parenting.


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

During the summer months, teachers of the youngest students meet with parents to discuss how to ease the transition to school. Resources, ideas, and scheduling is shared to assist students and parents before the school year begins. Time for adjustment is built into the curriculum as well. Each child's separation issues are handled individually and with parent involvement.