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Aldersgate Methodist Church Day School

1301 Collingwood Road
Alexandria, VA 22308

(703) 768-8351


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Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Play-Based

From the Director:

Aldersgate Day School believes children learn best when actively involved and engaged in activity. Therefore, many of our concepts are directly integrated into their centers and small group activities where they can best experience learning. Our four-year old and pre-k programs incorporate all accepted kindergarten readines concepts into the curriculum. We have enjoyed wonderful success using the Handwriting Without Tears curriculum to develop fine motor control, letter and number recognition and early reading readiness.

Curriculum & Teaching Approach

Learning Philosophy & Tools

  Play- based mostly teacher led not formally in curriculum conducive environment
Language       more

More Information

  • Tracing paper and other writing instruments
  • A well-stocked bookcase
  • The Handwriting Without Tears curriculum offers a wide variety of interactive media, tools and resources that encourage literacy and fine motor development.
Oral language  
Nursery rhymes, poems, songs  
Storybook reading  
Emerging literacy skills  
Cognitive development
Math & number sense more

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  • Puzzles
  • The Handwriting Without Tears curriculum offers a wide variety of interactive media, tools and resources that encourage literacy and fine motor development.
Time & space more

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  • Calendars and clocks
  • 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 of the four year old classes incorporates scientific concepts into many of their daily activities.
Music more

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  • Musical instruments
  • Aldersgate has a full time music teacher that meets directly with students once or twice weekly. The school presents at least two musical programs annually for parents' enjoyment.
Visual arts more

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  • Materials such as paint, ink, paintbrushes, crayons, markers, chalk, paper, etc.
  • Art work on the walls
  • Children love making murals, life-sized paper dolls of themselves, recreating famous art using various media, and, oveall, just creating every chance they get!
Physical activity more

More Information

  • 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
  • The Day School has a complete outdoor playground as well as an indoor playroom equipped with tumbling mats, tricycles, cars, playhouses, etc. Children are afforded plenty of physical activity regardless of the outside weather.
Other subjects taught Alderagate offers a variety of after school activities including American Sign Language for the Hearing Child, Introduction to Spanish, and soccer. We are in the process of developing an after-school drama and creative movement program for spring 2009.

Quality of Teaching

Individualized Teaching: From the Director

At Aldersgate, we strive to meet every child "where they are" and challenge them to reach their full potential. Whether a child is struggling in one area or excelling in another, our teachers work to get him/her ready to enter the next phase of development and education.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

Aldersgate Day School program provides a happy and rewarding preschool experience while affirming each child's self worth, developing his or her unique skills and talents and aiding in the child's social development.
Our goal for each child is that he or she grows in self-awareness, finds and accepts love and care from other trusted adults in their world, matures in awareness of God and achieves a sense of belonging in their school environment.

A Typical Day

Each day all of our classes, regardless of age level, enjoy a gathering time, circle activities, small group "instruction", snack time, indoor and/or outdoor play time and center time. Obviously these activities are designed to meet the specific age level of the children.

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

The Day School offers an Open House the spring prior to each child's first year of school. In addition, a parent Orientation Night is held prior to the beginning of school in September. During both these events, school policies are discussed in detail and parents meet with teachers to discuss individual classroom and age level goals and objectives. During these sessions, separation is addressed and strategies discussed.

Daily, parents drop off and pick up children at their classrooms. While this is not a time to discuss specific concernes in detail, it is a good time to set up conferences with teachers if needed. Our teachers are ready and willing to meet with parents before or after school to discuss any concerns they may.

In addition, the school dedicates two full days in February for individual Parent-Teacher conferences to discuss children's progress, goals, and development.

Parents Say They are Encouraged to:

  • 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


Separation is Handled through:

  • Pre-entry meetings with parents at school
  • Extra staff dedicated to handle separation
  • Abbreviated schedule at start of school year

Handling Separation: From the Director

In our vast combined experience integrating children into the preschool environment, we have found that children separate best by: first, having visited the school a couple of times, playing on the playground, etc. and familiarizing themselves with the building; and second, during the first few days of school, parents should give a quick kiss so-long, reassure the child they will be back and let the teachers take over comforting the child. It is our belief that children need to learn from the very beginning to trust the adults in the classroom and learn to feel safe and secure in their care. Our school does have extra staff on hand and some of the classes of younger children have an abbreviated schedule during these first weeks; however, it is our goal to make each child feel welcome and safe as quickly as possible. One of the primary goals of our school is to help children learn to trust other adults in their world, and we begin this process on the first day of school.

Yes, sometimes children are upset as their parents are leaving. Yes, some children do not initally want the teachers to pick them up and comfort them; in these situations, the teacher stays close by and talks to the child, reassuring him/her that he/she is safe and that "mommy or daddy will be back soon". The teacher will then attempt to engage the child in play and interacting with the other children until he feels better.

We have experienced great success with these methods and most of our children acclimate within a day or so. In rare cases, in conjuction with parents, it is determined that the child is simply not ready for school yet and should wait a little while. We strive to make each child's preschool experience a positive one and never want a child to associate negative feelings for school.