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Garrison Forest School

300 Garrison Forest Road
Baltimore, MD 21117

(410) 559-3110


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
  • journals, readers, manipulatives to support the phonics program beginning in Pre-K and the reading program beginning in Kindergarten.
Oral language  
Nursery rhymes, poems, songs  
Storybook reading  
Emerging literacy skills  
Cognitive development
Math & number sense more

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  • Puzzles
  • Pattern blocks, calendars, numerous manipulatives to accompany the Math Their Way curriculum.
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
  • science equipment necessary to stock a separate science room
Music more

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  • Musical instruments
  • tapes, instruments, CD's
Visual arts more

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  • Materials such as paint, ink, paintbrushes, crayons, markers, chalk, paper, etc.
  • Art work on the walls
  • materials and a curriculum that support the Art teacher and the work in her studio
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 Resource classes, taught by specialists in Science, Music, and Physical Education, round out each child's education. Beginning in Pre-K, there are also separate classes in Art and Library. Computer and French are added in Kindergarten. Focusing on specific skills, these classes provide opportunities to explore, create, discover, experiment, and learn with a wide variety of methods and materials. Each Resource teacher is a specialist in the field who works closely with the classroom teachers to support and supplement classroom themes and areas of interest.

From the Director:

Young children learn best through exploration and play. Our activities are designed to engage each child's interest and enthusiasm and nurture the development of age appropriate social, emotional, cognitive, and physical skills. The conviction that structure permits freedom is evident throughout the day. Numerous learning opportunities abound, where teacher expectations are high, relationships are nurturing, and children feel success and pride in their accomplishments. We recognize and support individual needs and differences, just as we stress group collaboration and cooperation. Our students are encouraged to advance as far as their maturity, interests, and ability permit in every area and activity.

Quality of Teaching

Individualized Teaching: From the Director

Although we have specific admission procedures and standards, we recognize that children learn at different paces. We take them from where they are academically, and move them forward to the next step. The academic program is largely individualized so each child feels successful, challenged, and motivated.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

Garrison Forest School is an independent day and boarding college preparatory school for girls with a coeducational Preschool. The School is dedicated to the intellectual, aesthetic, emotional, moral, physical, and spiritual growth of all its students and seeks to develop within each student a strong sense of integrity, identity, and self-esteem, reflecting its motto Esse quam videri: 'To be rather than to seem.' For our youngest students, our primary goal is to instill and nurture the joy of learning. Within the caring environment of our community, the love and exhilaration of discovery are balanced with the security of routine and trusting, respectful relationships. The academic program develops in pace with the cognitive needs and interests of the children as they progress through our youngest classes and prepare for First grade. The faculty is committed to nurturing each child as a unique individual and to promoting his or her cognitive, emotional, social, and physical growth.

A Typical Day

Classrooms for our youngest students, from two-and three-year-olds through Kindergarten, are in Moncrieffe, a newly renovated space that has served our students since 1910. Classes are co-educational through and including Kindergarten and consist of a Parent-Toddler class, two classes for two and three-year-olds (who must turn three by December 31), three Pre-Kindergarten classes, and three Kindergartens. The school day begins at 8:30 and ends at noon for the Threes and Pre-Kindergarten and ends at 3:00 for Kindergarten and Pre-First. An optional Extended Day program is available for three-year-old and Pre-K children until 3:00 and for Kindergarten and Pre-First children until 5:00 or 6:00 p.m. Pre-K, Kindergarten, and Pre-First children may elect to take extracurricular classes in Instrumental Music after school. Pre-First and Kindergarten children may also elect to take extracurricular riding lessons after school. The teachers take full advantage of the 115-acre Garrison Forest campus. The children have Physical Education in the new Campus Center or the gym; Music in the Fine Arts Center; and Art, Computer, Science, and Library in the studios and labs of Livingston, the adjacent Pre-First to Fifth grade building.

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

Parent communication includes: parent education seminars three required conferences per year informal conferences whenever requested Parents' Day in October weekly parent 'notes' and a Director's newsletter curriculum guides community service programs annual events (Spring Fling, Gym Show, Tour de France, etc.)


Separation is Handled through:

  • Pre-entry meetings with parents at school
  • Small group sessions
  • Parents in classroom early on
  • Abbreviated schedule at start of school year

Handling Separation: From the Director

There is an 'open house' for the children followed by a gradual entrance. Teachers are always sensitive to the needs of the children and the anxieties of the parents. We keep in close contact with parents through the process.