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The Fourth Presbyterian Church Children's Center/Day School

126 East Chestnut
Chicago, IL 60611

(312) 787-4570


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Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Play-Based

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
  • manipulative number toys-measuring cups etc.
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 Dance Class: Taught by a professional dancer-choreographer, which is part of the curriculum each winter and spring. Children benefit both physically and creatively from the expertise of an accomplished adult artist who is able to engage young children in the art of dance. Friday Schoo,l, which is a spring special for older children. These children meet as a group one morning each week with the head teacher who introduces them to language and and math concepts and to information of particular interest to the group. A developmental approach is taken.

Quality of Teaching

Individualized Teaching: From the Director

Teachers during fall parent/teacher conferences set up goals for each child. Teaching teams meet on a regular basis to assess the progress of each child. With a special needs child, the teachers and parents work closely together to modify curriculum, assess goals and monitor progress.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

As an observer of a Day School session, you will see the children participating in a variety if self-selected and teacher-directed activities. You will see children painting and drawing, building and riding, working puzzles, and creating peg patterns, hammering nails, pounding clay, sliding and climbing, cooperating and arguing, dancing and singing-children learning and growing through their play.

The environment encourages wondering, problem-solving, questioning and all areas of cognitive development through play and planned activities. Social development goals include recognizing one's own needs, feelings and needs of others, and moving through the stages of play to the level of cooperation.

A Typical Day

9:00-9:30 or 1:00-1:30: Climbing, sliding, riding trycicles, throwing and catching, running, jumping, rolling all contribute to to large muscle development and coordination.

9:30 to 10:00 or 1:30 to 2:00: The goals of this period are rather specific: to learn songs, rhymes, rythms, and games. Special interests or themes are presented.

10:00 to 11:15 or 2:00 to 3:00: The goals of this period of self-selected activity are many and open-ended: social cooperation; use of expressive and receptive language; making choices and then investing time and energy in what has been chosen; producing a producr; the development of small muscles and eye-hand coordination; and the opportunity for each child to represent his/her lived experiences and feelings with blocks, paint, and other art materials, musical instruments, dance and pretend play. Teachers are acting as facilitators. Children also help themselves to a snack, clean-up after themselves and return to play.

11:15 to 11:45 or 3:00 to 3:30: This period is to put away toys and to provide a quieting conclusion to the day with stories and conversation planned to be appropriate to Threes and Fours.

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

1. Parent contact on drop-off and pick-up
2. Monthly newsletters
3. Parent/teacher conferences (goal setting)
4. Parent/Education classes
5. We welcome parent participation in classroom
6. Teachers call parents to discuss issues
7. Numerous social events for families

Parents Say They are Encouraged to:

  • Sit on the board of trustees
  • Hold social events at the school to build community
  • Fundraise
  • 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
  • Email
  • Special Meetings
  • Two or More Regular Conferences
  • Drop-Off
  • Pick-Up
  • Regular newsletter/printed updates circulated to the whole school


Handling Separation: From the Director

Child is visited by a teacher prior to school starting. First week of school is very gradual beginning with 1 hour with parent to 1 hour without parent, then 1.5 hours without parent, until full session starts after 1 week of school.