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Pennington Presbyterian Nursery School

13 South Main Street
Pennington, NJ 08534

(609) 737-6622


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
  • Lined white boards, letter games, sequence story cards, etc.
Oral language  
Nursery rhymes, poems, songs  
Storybook reading  
Emerging literacy skills  
Cognitive development
Math & number sense more

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  • Puzzles
  • Unifix blocks, measuring tapes, jumping number cards, bundles for counting by 2s, and 10s, transition games reinforcing counting and number recognition, graphs
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
  • Entire BLAST Pre-K science curriculum created by Bristol Myers-Squibb
Music more

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  • Musical instruments
  • CD's, tape recorders, books, many, many props
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
  • In 2009 we have purchased and entire new selection of riding, climbing and throwing equipment
Other subjects taught Self-help, social skills and problem solving are taught through routines, mealtimes that involve children pouring their own beverages and sharing food family style, participation in cleaning and maintaining the classroom, working out conflicts through discussion, and participation in interest areas that offer a wide array of toys, props and manipulatives.

From the Director:

Problem solving and developing thinking skills are the most important aspects of our instruction and teaching approach. We allow ample time for play so that children learn, with teacher modeling, to make choices, resolve conflicts and become involved in high-quality play as opposed to superficial use of materials.

Quality of Teaching

Individualized Teaching: From the Director

We work with each child individually, providing new and different materials for children who are excelling, and educating ourselves in techniques that will make the classroom a comfortable, welcoming and successful place for children who are developing at a different pace than the norm.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

"Our philosophy is that a child's work is play. We believe that children develop higher-level thinking and problem solving skills by doing rather than watching. All of our activities encourage social, emotional, physical and mental growth, while providing lots of fun."

Excerpted from the preschool's website

A Typical Day

Each class includes:

Structured small group activities that encourage fine-motor practice, patterning and building, and creativity.Activities include manipulatives, cutting, drawing, puzzles, games, playdough, water play and more.

Circle time with stories, discussions and singing

Snack time featuring school-provided healthy snacks: milk and water, a whole grain, a fruit or vegetable, a protein

Gross motor play on the playground or large indoor play space

Free-choice time

Creative art expression and/or science experiments

All classes receive music instruction once a week with our highly-trained music teacher.

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

Our school communicates constantly. We communicate with parents in the following ways:

Individual visits with teachers before school

Open House before school begins

Class lists with teacher's home phone numbers, allowing parents to call teachers at any time

Extensive handbook detailing philosophy and mission statements, policies and procedures

Parent coffees the week after school begins

Designated classroom parents

Parent representatives on school board representing the interests of each age group

Back-to-School Night for Parents in October

Twice-yearly formal parent-teacher conferences, accompanied by written reports summarizing children's development and learning

Day-to-day informal discussion between teachers and parents

Director's open-door policy - parents are always welcome to speak with the director

Parent education programs - In 2008, the school had an evening program on discipline, based on parents feedback and interests

Involvement with the Greenmarket program

Formal parent survey each spring

We also use the Creative Curriculum as a documented framework for our own lesson planning and parents are invited to examine CC publications whenever interested

Parent exchange bulletin board

School lending library with books and periodicals about child development


Separation is Handled through:

  • Home visits by teachers
  • Pre-entry meetings with parents at school
  • Small group sessions
  • Abbreviated schedule at start of school year

Handling Separation: From the Director

Our school encourages parents to say a happy goodbye to their children and leave for at least a few minutes. Often a child is upset because of the transition from home to school, not because he or she doesn't enjoy the classroom experience. The teachers comfort the child, offer special distractions, such as blowing bubbles or reading a good book, and I, the director, check in every few minutes to see how things are going. I call the parent and give her or him an update on the situation. I also work hard to reassure parents that separation anxiety is perfectly normal, and our feeling is that if a child can go on and have a happy, busy day at school, he or she is participating in a successful school experience. The key to working through separation is comforting the child, making sure he or she knows that the teachers are trustworthy, loving adults in their lives, communicating with parents, and encouraging the family through the time when separation is challenging for them.