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South Orange Country Day School

461 Vose Avenue
South Orange, NJ 07079

(973) 762-6451


Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Montessori

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
  • sand paper letters, story dramatization, practical life, puppets
Oral language  
Nursery rhymes, poems, songs  
Storybook reading  
Emerging literacy skills  
Cognitive development
Math & number sense more

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  • Puzzles
  • spindle box, groups, patterns
Time & space more

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  • 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
  • each monthly theme has a science component
Music more

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  • Musical instruments
  • Music Instruction once a week (scales, pitch, chords, etc.)
Visual arts more

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  • Materials such as paint, ink, paintbrushes, crayons, markers, chalk, paper, etc.
  • Art work on the walls
  • Art Teacher comes to each class once a wekk
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
  • biggest backyard in the area
Other subjects taught

From the Director:

South Orange Country Day School is an early learning center that uses a variety of teaching methods and techniques to meet the individual needs of each child. Our Montessori background promotes a love of learning that emphasizes self-discipline, confidence and independence. Teachers create unique learning centers to appeal to the child's senses and interests. Centers are re-created monthly to correspond to the curriculum themes. We also introduce the children to small and large group instruction as a preparation for traditional school learning.

Quality of Teaching

Individualized Teaching: From the Director

As a school we emphasize lesson planning to ensure that clear learning objectives are met and that the individual tactics used in a lesson are relevant, age appropriate and best deliver the objective for the interests of the class. This planning allows us to ensure that each child is receiving the individual instruction they need to learn and grow. We can modify activities and center work to challenge and engage each child. This provides the opportunity for us to incorporate the child's interests instead of reacting to them.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

South Orange Country Day School is celebrating 40 years of educating children. We are a culturally diverse preschool that provides a secure, nurturing environment for children to grow, learn and thrive.
Our classrooms are designed to engage student’s curiosity and to encourage independent learning.
Our school day is structured so that all students have multiple opportunities to interact and learn from one another. This is especially encouraged during our daily outdoor playtime, as well as during our music and story dramatization sessions.

A Typical Day

In each classroom the morning starts with free choice. In the Nursery Class the art, blocks, and practical life centers are always open. The Nursery team also has one fine motor skill project available for morning free play. The Pre-K classes free choice includes table top activities, as well as floor bulding activities. The Kindergarten Class uses this time to review their projects and chose which items need to worked on.
After morning free play, all the classes move to circle time. This is an important part of our day as the teachers introduce the theme lessons for the month as well as our author's of the month. We also deliver our fairy tale lessons during circle time. In addition, we practice manners and social skills. After circle the students move into center work and small group work. The students do not have free choice of their center work; the teachers guide groups of students to the different centers. The students move through the centers in a rotation. We all eat lunch at 11am and are outside at 11:30pm. Half day pickup is at 12pm. After nap we start the day again with afternoon circle and center work. We go outside again at 3pm for a gym class with dismissal at 3:30pm. We also offer aftercare until 6:30pm.

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

We send a monthly newsletter home at the beginning of the month. This highlights the activities planned for the month (monthly themes, fairy tale, author of the month, etc.). The teachers also provide details about the things that happened last month and the plan for the coming month. We also have a monthly class specific calendar that goes home at the same time.


Separation is Handled through:

  • Extra staff dedicated to handle separation

Handling Separation: From the Director

It is our responsibility to create an environment that encourages the children to want to come to school. We emphasize the child's need to own the classroom - greeting teachers and children, hanging up own coat, changing their shoes, putting away their lunch, choosing an activity and saying good bye to parents. Children respond to this structure of ownership. If there are days that require additional separation time we use our bag of tricks to settle the child (do you want to choose a new music cd, do you want to help sweep the floor, do you want to show your mom/dad the picture that we are going to make today, etc.).