Does CCNS follow the standards set by the state of Connecticut for early childhood education?

At CCNS, we follow the Connecticut Early Learning and Development Standards. It is a comprehensive document that covers eight different areas of child development and learning from birth to five. It encompasses the domains of Cognition, Social & Emotional Development, Physical Health & Development, Language & Literacy, Creative Arts, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies. Teachers plan their weekly lessons using these standards making sure all areas of development are challenged. To view the standards in detail please visit www.ct.gov/oec/elds.

How does CCNS prepare children for kindergarten?

In the classrooms children are growing and developing according to their abilities. Teachers are providing experiences for the children that are rich in literacy, mathematical exploration, scientific inquiry, music, art, cooking, dance and social development. Each classroom has opportunities for writing as it becomes appropriate for each age and stage. For example, the two year olds are exploring using crayons, markers and pencils and learning that they can make marks. In the threes class the children are learning exploring materials as well, creating the shapes of letters and numbers and learning to use them to create meaning; a name on a piece of work, a few scribbles for a grocery list in the dramatic play center, an S on a sign to save their block building. This is developed further in the four year old class as children record data and label their work during a project, write their names on all of their work, begin to write their own stories, sign up to work at our workbench, make a note for the teacher to read a certain book and so on. Activities such as these are provided in all subject areas.

Is there a schedule to the day?

The classrooms each have a schedule that they follow that allows time for large and small group work, extended center time, outdoor play, literacy activities, community snack, music & movement and transitions that foster independence.

Parents are required to volunteer, but how much time is involved? What volunteer hours are required?

Parents work in their child’s classroom once a month during the school year. Parents are also expected to be part of a committee during the school year or on a fundraising committee in the spring or fall. We have 3 parent meetings a year that update the parents on the happenings at the school, provide an opportunity for the parents to communicate with the board, and can include votes on pertinent school topics.

What does a parent do when working in the classroom?

The working parent acts as an assistant to the two classroom teachers. The parent participates in the classroom activities, helps the children with their projects for the day, is responsible for making snack, helps on the playground, and follows the lead of the teachers for any help they may need.

Do any of your students have two full-time working parents? Are the volunteer requirements a challenge?

CCNS has several students with two full-time working parents. As described above, CCNS requires parents to serve as the working parent in the classroom once a month. In our experience, full-time working parents often alternate their working parent obligations, have flexible or modify their working hours so that they are able to return to work after being away for the few hours during the required school time, or even enlist the assistance of other family members. While CCNS does not permit caregivers (i.e. babysitters or nannies) to be the working parent, we happily welcome grandparents and other close relatives to be the working parents. Additionally, the board meetings are scheduled in the evenings and several of the fundraising committees have flexible working times that do not require availability at a specific time or day during the week.

What is the Project Approach?

Preschool children are eager to explore and discover, and CCNS uses a project approach to engage their natural curiosity, provide a platform to learn valuable insights about the world around them, and to develop new skills that will be used from elementary school to high school and beyond.

With this project approach, students work together with their teachers to identify a topic to investigate. Teachers are facilitators in this process, helping students record what they already know about the topic, identify questions they want to answer during their study and log predictions they might have upfront. Then teachers help children plan and conduct their study. The goal is to expand and deepen the children’s understanding by creating relevant lesson plans, helping children make real-world connections, identifying opportunities to conduct ‘fieldwork,’ creating opportunities for students to discuss and report back on their findings and encouraging them to ask more, deeper questions to continue their learning.

As the project develops, children might document their findings with drawings, pictures, words, labels, graphs or models, or they might act out what they learned. Teachers help students compare what they learned with their initial information and predictions. Together they decide how to share the story of what the children did and what they found out with their families and people who may have helped in their study. The confidence and pride that comes through when the children share their newfound knowledge is invaluable and an indicator that the investigation has been a success.

What are the school's fundraisers and what are the volunteer obligations for each?

Fundraising is important for any school, especially privately funded nursery schools. This is how we keep tuition low, provide scholarships to families in need, participate in staff enrichment programs, update the facilities, and plan for our long future.

The school has one fundraiser in the Fall and one fundraiser in the Spring. Parents are required to do committee work on one fundraiser of their choosing and to work a short shift at each one. They are great ways to meet and get to know the other parents.

What towns do CCNS students come from?

Approximately 1/3 of the students live in Rowayton, 1/3 in Norwalk, and 1/3 in Darien.

Does CCNS have a Pre-K program?

No, CCNS does not have a Pre-K program.

How does CCNS handle food allergies?

CCNS is sensitive to allergies of any kind and strives to be allergen free, working with each individual class each year to make sure any allergies are respected.

Does CCNS have any lunch or extended day programs?

Starting the first week in October, we offer an optional lunch bunch for the Threes class Monday – Thursday and for the Fours class Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Lunch bunch includes enrichment programs until 1:30 for the Threes class Monday – Thursday and for the Fours class Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The Fours class has extended days on Tuesday and Thursday.

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