Early Childhood and Lower School

Welcome to our Early Childhood and Lower School Program!  

WDS Lower School

Housed in a cheerful red building at the entrance of campus, our Early Childhood program offers a safe, enriching, joyful start to the WDS end-to-end journey. Our classes are play-based programs emphasizing emotional and social development. Children begin their days with a morning circle where they greet each other with songs and movement, check in about the weather and daily schedule, introduce new work, share ideas and aspirations.  The theme of community is always a constant. The important work of play is evident throughout the different areas of the classroom and teachers carefully guide these busy and inquisitive learners. With a phase-in schedule at the beginning of our school year, the relationship between child and teacher is established and the safe and nurturing classroom environment is introduced. As students move up to Kindergarten and First Grade we begin to devote more time to academics while maintaining an age appropriate balance of physical activity and play. Much of what our youngest community members are learning about revolves around routine and relationships, and the school day is full of “specials” that make a rounded program.

In 2nd – 4th Grade, our two primary tasks are to nourish our students’ evolution into independent thinkers, and to create a caring environment for growth and learning. We emphasize integrated curricular work, where teachers of different disciplines work collectively with students to create rich authentic learning experiences in project-based learning settings. What else makes our program special and engaging? Students love the school-wide Buddy Program that they participate in. In Lower School, this means that our students have both a younger and older buddy to engage with during different weekly group activities. They also love our Drama and African Drum and Dance Residencies, which give our young students the chance to express themselves on stage. Field trips take them out and about in the Hudson Valley, exploring everything from archery to planets to classical music. Ours is a full and rich program that allows for students to explore their individual interests as well as challenge themselves to learn in new ways.

On Fridays, the Early Childhood and Lower School children come together to celebrate their week, showcasing their learning at Friday Gathering.  Visitors are welcome!  We hope you will contact us to arrange a tour and see for yourself what our program has to offer to your family.