Curriculum > Early Childhood

Sewickley Academy is committed to preparing young people

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  • For a Lifetime of Discovery and Learning

    The Early Childhood program appreciates children as natural learners who constantly question and explore what they see and experience in their environment. The program is Reggio Emilia inspired and employs an inquiry-based approach that leverages children’s natural learning processes through play, conversation, and positive relationships.

Pre-Kindergarten

List of 11 items.

  • Exploration

    Teachers create an environment that provides just the right amount of support through a balance of direct instruction and organic play in order for each child to reach their individual learning goals.  Every day children learn to exercise the mental process of observing, questioning, exploring, and reflecting as they investigate the world around them.
  • Literacy Program

    The Pre-K literacy program encourages receptive and expressive language skills through listening, speaking, reading, and handwriting activities. Students develop and reinforce phonemic awareness skills in order to support emerging reading and writing skills. Alphabet letters and sounds are taught as preparation for emergent reading. Handwriting is taught through the Learning Without Tears program.  Correct uppercase letter formation, pencil grip, pressure, and control are emphasized. Children learn how to form letters by first making them with wooden pieces, then practicing using various materials such as play dough, sticks, sand, and other items found in or around the classroom, before writing the letters in their workbooks.  
  • Mathematics

    The Pre-K math program fosters the development of mathematical thinking by providing a wide range of materials and engaging students in real-world problem-solving opportunities.  Mathematical concepts are embedded in everyday play. Teachers work with individual children, as well as small groups, in order to address individual needs and different learning styles.
  • Partnership with Fern Hollow Nature Center

    Sewickley Academy’s idyllic surroundings lead to many child-directed research studies and wonderings.  From the flow of water through the sand, to the erosion along the ravine, questions percolate through our discussions.  Supporting this strong connection to nature, our Early Childhood program has partnered with Fern Hollow Nature Center to provide weekly, guided hikes focusing on local plants, animals, and ecosystems.  Through these experiences, children practice important 21st Century skills such as curiosity, imagination, innovation, perseverance, self-direction, planning, and teamwork.  Natural environments also lend opportunities for children to experiment with the perspective of others, supporting their growing social consciousness. 
  • Visual Arts

    The Art program focuses on developing fine motor skills along with self-expression. Children are encouraged to experiment with and explore color, texture, and form. Throughout the Early Childhood program, children begin to understand color, shape, size, line, proportion, and pattern. They develop hand/eye coordination and observation skills. Creativity and craftsmanship are complementary components of the program. A main focus is developing fine motor skills, hand/eye coordination, and learning to express creatively through fantasy and imaginary scenes.
  • Music

    The Early Childhood Music program contributes to the physical, social, and intellectual development of children. Young students learn a repertory of songs and singing games of small vocal range, as well as easy rhythms. By the end of Kindergarten, children will be comfortable using their voices through singing as well as maintaining a steady beat with body movements or playing simple instruments while singing. The Early Childhood program develops readiness for more formal instruction in singing, instrumental music, learning to play an instrument, and dance in the later grades.
  • Theater

    Young children are provided opportunities to appear on stage as early as Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten, when they wear their Halloween costumes to school and participate in the traditional school-wide Halloween parade. Each child, using a microphone, names the character he or she represents, thus beginning the experience of "acting" for an audience. In the Lower School, every grade provides similar, increasingly sophisticated opportunities to appear on stage and practice speaking before an audience.
  • World Languages

    Young children learn the sounds, orally and aurally, of the language through songs, stories, and TPTRS (Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling), a method that uses whole language in story form while incorporating age-appropriate vocabulary and grammatical structure. Children learn the language's alphabet, numbers, house-related words, clothing, parts of the body, etc.
  • Dance

    Movement and balance are taught and practiced in small groups in the classroom and through the Music program. Formal instruction begins in Pre-K.
  • Health

    The Lower School program seeks to develop positive behaviors, good citizenship skills, healthy living, diversity in the community, respect for self and others, and positive relationships with family, peers, and the community. Cleanliness and hygiene, like the importance and method of hand washing for example, are emphasized.
  • Physical Education

    In the Early Childhood physical education program, children begin to learn the nature of rules and strategy and develop an appreciation for sports citizenship and cooperation. Activities include throwing and catching, basic tumbling, agility skills, obstacle courses, and perceptual-motor games.

Kindergarten

List of 11 items.

  • Exploration

    The Kindergarten science program emphasizes observation and inquiry.  Children learn to observe, question, explore, and reflect as a means to discover scientific concepts. They develop skills and knowledge through everyday interactions with the indoor and outdoor surroundings. The program capitalizes on students’ specific interests and the questions that they pose.  Students are also exposed to scientific experiments which lead to discussions about hypotheses and how to record data.
  • Math

    The Kindergarten math program, Bridges in Mathematics,  fosters the development of mathematical thinking. The program consists of three main components: Number Corner, math games, and Bridges lessons. Each employs a hands-on approach to learning and uses materials that allow children to use observation, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. Kindergarten students use a variety of materials to address their different learning styles and are encouraged to apply mathematical concepts in the world around them. Children learn number concepts, sorting, classifying, patterns, shapes, graphs, addition and subtraction, and problem-solving.
  • Literacy Program

    The Kindergarten literacy program encompasses reading, writing, listening, speaking, and handwriting. Kindergarten students learn reading skills through the Fountas and Pinnell program. This program teaches children the phonemic awareness and phonics skills necessary to read and write words. Recognizing a core group of sight words, identifying letter names and sounds, discriminating between the beginning, middle, and ending sounds in words as well as segmenting and blending sounds are some of the skills taught.  

    Literacy skills are embedded in everyday activities and experienced through a structure called The Daily 5. The Daily 5, created by “The 2 Sisters” Gail Boushey and Joan Moser, is a structure that teaches independence and gives children the skills needed to create a lifetime love of reading and writing. It consists of five tasks that are introduced individually. The five tasks are Read to self, Word work, Work on writing, Listen to reading, and Read to someone.  During Daily 5 time, teachers work individually with students and in small groups, providing direct instruction, supportive practice, guided reading experience, and essential feedback.

    Handwriting is taught through the Handwriting Without Tears program. Correct upper and lowercase letter formation, pencil grip, pressure, and control are emphasized. Children learn how to form letters first by making them with wooden pieces, then by practicing on chalkboards, and finally, by writing the letters, words, and sentences within the correct lines on paper.
  • Partnership with Fern Hollow Nature Center

    Sewickley Academy’s idyllic surroundings lead to many child-directed research studies and wonderings.  From the flow of water through the sand, to the erosion along the ravine, questions percolate through our discussions.  Supporting this strong connection to nature, our Early Childhood program has partnered with Fern Hollow Nature Center to provide weekly, guided hikes focusing on local plants, animals, and ecosystems.  Through these experiences, children practice important 21st Century skills such as curiosity, imagination, innovation, perseverance, self-direction, planning, and teamwork.  Natural environments also lend opportunities for children to experiment with the perspective of others, supporting their growing social consciousness. 
  • Visual Arts

    The Art program focuses on developing fine motor skills along with self-expression. Children are encouraged to experiment with and explore color, texture, and form. Throughout the Early Childhood program, children begin to understand color, shape, size, line, proportion, and pattern. They develop hand/eye coordination and observation skills. Creativity and craftsmanship are complementary components of the program. A main focus is developing fine motor skills, hand/eye coordination, and learning to express creatively through fantasy and imaginary scenes.
  • Music

    The Early Childhood Music program contributes to the physical, social, and intellectual development of children. Young students learn a repertory of songs and singing games of small vocal range, as well as easy rhythms. By the end of Kindergarten, children will be comfortable using their voices through singing as well as maintaining a steady beat with body movements or playing simple instruments while singing. The Early Childhood program develops readiness for more formal instruction in singing, instrumental music, learning to play an instrument, and dance in the later grades.
  • Theater

    Young children are provided opportunities to appear on stage as early as Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten, when they wear their Halloween costumes to school and participate in the traditional school-wide Halloween parade. Each child, using a microphone, names the character he or she represents, thus beginning the experience of "acting" for an audience. In the Lower School, every grade provides similar, increasingly sophisticated opportunities to appear on stage and practice speaking before an audience.
  • World Languages

    Young children learn the sounds, orally and aurally, of the language through songs, stories, and TPTRS (Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling), a method that uses whole language in story form while incorporating age-appropriate vocabulary and grammatical structure. Children learn the language's alphabet, numbers, house-related words, clothing, parts of the body, etc.
  • Dance

    Movement and balance are taught and practiced in small groups in the classroom and through the Music program. Formal instruction begins in Pre-K.
  • Health

    The Lower School program seeks to develop positive behaviors, good citizenship skills, healthy living, diversity in the community, respect for self and others, and positive relationships with family, peers, and the community. Cleanliness and hygiene, like the importance and method of hand washing for example, are emphasized.
  • Physical Education

    In the Early Childhood physical education program, children begin to learn the nature of rules and strategy and develop an appreciation for sports citizenship and cooperation. Activities include throwing and catching, basic tumbling, agility skills, obstacle courses, and perceptual-motor games.

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