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Arlington Heights Nursery School

10 Acton Street
Arlington, MA 02476

(781) 646-8499


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Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Play-Based, Reggio-Emilia

Day in the Life

General School Mission

At Arlington Heights Nursery School, we provide unparalleled opportunities for children to play, which have been carefully planned to enable each child to grow and develop in a social setting. We encourage children to be active, confident, and connected learners as they explore their environment and develop trusting and friendly relationships with adults and other children. AHNS has a long interest in supporting the presence of children with mild/moderate special needs in our programs, dating from before there was federal and state legislation supporting this concept.

Young children learn most naturally through play. Play allows children to engage with the world at their level, and to work through and understand their feelings, thoughts and ideas. Play facilitates children learning problem-solving skills, expanding their symbolic thinking, and extending their language skills. Open ended play with other children provides a natural mechanism for children to learn social skills such as sharing, cooperating with others, waiting for a turn, listening to other viewpoints, and using language to express themselves.

We view all children as strong, capable and innately competent to construct their own knowledge. Our low teacher-to-child ratio enables teachers to build nurturing and meaningful relationships with the children, which form the very heart of our program. Children thrive in our calm and joyful classrooms, which provide a balance of organized activities and the freedom to explore and discover the many activities available to them.

Our curriculum is emergent: it emerges from the needs, interests and abilities of the children. The teachers carefully observe children at play, and then plan activities and organize the classrooms based on their observations. This fosters the children's burgeoning social, emotional, and cognitive skills, their relationships with each other, their sense of wonder, and their imagination.

Our classrooms each have a predictable but flexible daily routine, established by the teachers and based on the needs of the children in the group. The routines and schedule change as the needs of the children change throughout the year. Each day includes a balance of free play, and age appropriate activities such as: music and movement, gathering time, small group time, and outdoor play. The curriculum is richly embedded with activities that foster skills in literacy, numeracy, science, age appropriate language skills (which may include reading, writing, speaking, and listening). Open-ended art activities are an integral aspect of our curriculum for all age groups.

At AHNS, we deeply respect childhood. Every aspect of our curriculum, including our classroom environments, the relationships we form with children, and our routines are carefully designed to be supportive of young children and their developmental needs. For over four decades we have been committed to providing warm, responsive and child-centered programs that provide opportunities for young children to develop self-confidence and self-esteem, to express themselves creatively, to develop the skills to form warm and lasting friendships, and the problem solving skills they need to successfully negotiate their world.


Separation is Handled through:

  • Extra staff dedicated to handle separation
  • Parents in classroom early on