Preschool Academics

At The Harker School, our early learning programs for 3s and 4s, and transitional kindergarten for young 5-year-olds, emphasize hands-on learning, intentional play and developmentally appropriate lessons and activities.

3- and 4-Year-Old / Transitional Kindergarten Academics

Between the ages of 3 and 5, children view their world with eyes wide open, eager to soak in new concepts and skills. At Harker Preschool, our expert teaching team is the perfect match to their intellectual curiosity.

Our staff seamlessly weaves key math, science and literacy concepts throughout each child’s day through daily child-directed and teacher-directed opportunities and the curriculum of our outstanding specialty classes. For example, a walk outside may involve counting flowers, identifying patterns and talking about symmetry in the shapes they see.

Our teachers know exactly the right moment to let children explore on their own, and when to direct the activity. At Harker, our students will encounter problems and learn to discover solutions on their own. We are nurturing kind, thoughtful children who think of others and have a desire to help those around them.

PRE academics

3- and 4-Year-Old Curricular Goals & Objectives

Our curriculum focuses on three key developmental areas. Each of these is an indispensible building block that prepares your child for the academic challenges of kindergarten and beyond.

We believe children are competent, capable learners. That basic level of respect is the foundation for our program. At Harker, we do not shy away from challenging learning opportunities– even at the preschool level.

The Harker Preschool program is based on the following learning goals:

Academic

At the end of his or her Harker Preschool experience, your child will be excited about learning. Everything we do here prepares children to be engaged and ready for academic challenges in lower school. Among other skills, your preschooler will learn to:

Language Arts

  • Value listening to stories and show comprehension
  • Use emerging reading skills
  • Hold effective and thoughtful conversations
  • Understand the purpose of writing and how print works
  • Draw images and write numbers, letters and name

Math

  • Count and recognize numbers up to 20
  • Recognize symmetry, patterns and object attributes (organize by color, shape, texture, etc.)
  • Understand portions (some, half, etc.) and position (in, under, etc.)
  • Understand basic addition and subtraction such as "adding to" or "taking away"

Classroom Readiness

  • Understand cause and effect
  • Make independent choices
  • Have a well-developed attention span

From music and art to science and math, our specialty classes are a truly enriching part of our preschoolers’ daily schedule. Read more about how our preschool specialty classes set Harker apart from other programs.

Social & Emotional

This category covers essential life skills that help your child thrive in a classroom setting and work collaboratively with peers. At Harker, we view it as a core focus area for preschoolers. From learning to play independently and work with others to effectively communicating needs and regulating behavior, social and emotional maturity prepare children to handle future academic challenges.

Among other skills, your preschooler will learn to:
  • Manage emotions by practicing coping strategies
  • Show empathy for others in a variety of ways
  • Enter into and sustain peer play with minimal adult support
  • Demonstrate effective social problem solving strategies
  • Read social cues and respond appropriately

Physical

We weave physical activity throughout a preschooler's day to develop body awareness and motor skills. Strong brain-body connections at this age are directly related to future success with reading and writing. The more coordinated movements your child does through kicking and dancing, the better prepared he/she is for fine motor activities, reading and writing.

Among other skills, your preschooler will learn to:

  • Demonstrate gross-motor strength and coordination
  • Cut with scissors effectively and grip pencil correctly
  • Complete self-care routines
  • Engage with tactile, sensory, and kinesthetic materials
Read more about how our preschool specialty classes enrich our students’ learning experience at Harker.

Preschool TK teacher teaching students

Transitional Kindergarten Curricular Goals and Objectives

Transitional kindergarten offers a tremendous opportunity to our students on the younger end of Harker’s kindergarten age scale. For these children, another year of growth and development provides the foundation they need to enter kindergarten with confidence, social skills and many other school-readiness markers that set them up for a successful academic experience. This extra year of social and emotional development can also make a world of difference in high school, college and beyond.

Your child will benefit from:

  • Dual-classroom environment, with one space for exploration and imaginative play and another for traditional, teacher-led academic experiences
  • Low teacher-student ratios, allowing for more individualized attention
  • Curriculum that allows for the introduction of academic concepts at a pace designed around your child’s needs
  • Deeper instruction and exploration in our small group specialty classes, exposing children to art, music and movement and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) skills

Academic

At the end of his or her Harker Transitional Kindergarten experience, your child will be excited about learning. Everything we do here prepares children to be engaged and ready for academic challenges in lower school. Among other skills, your child will learn to:

Language Arts

  • Demonstrate comprehension of important information in multiple ways
  • Recognize words in particular word families
  • Understand the basics of punctuation
  • Understand and verbalize sentences that combine two or three phrases or multiple concepts to communicate ideas
  • Identify letter names and sounds
  • Draw symbolically to represent ideas so that others can understand all clearly and with correct formation

Math

  • Write numbers 1-20 clearly
  • Practice describing problems and applying a variety of mathematical strategies to find solutions
  • Sort and classify objects by multiple attributes (color, shape, texture, etc.)
  • Solve addition and subtraction problems by counting

Classroom Readiness

  • Wait for a turn
  • Show understanding of cause and effect by explaining connections
  • Have an attention span of up to 25 minutes

From music and art to science and math, our specialty classes are a truly enriching part of our TK students' daily schedule. Read more about how our specialty classes set Harker apart from other programs.

Social & Emotional

This category covers essential life skills that help your child thrive in a classroom setting and work collaboratively with peers. At Harker, we view it as a core focus area for transitional kindergartners. From learning to play independently and work with others to effectively communicating needs and regulating behavior, social and emotional maturity prepare children to handle future academic challenges.

Among other skills, your transitional kindergartner will learn to:

  • Show resilience in a variety of situations that become challenging
  • Recognize and understand an array of human emotions demonstrated in others
  • Show flexibility in taking turns as leader and follower during social play
  • Take the perspective of others
  • Demonstrate effective social problem solving strategies
  • Engage in collaborative, imaginative play for sustained amounts of time

Physical

We weave physical activity throughout the day to develop body awareness and motor skills. Strong brain-body connections at this age are directly related to future success with reading and writing. The more coordinated movements your child does through kicking and dancing, the better prepared he/she is for fine motor activities, reading and writing.

Among other skills, your child will learn to:

  • Demonstrate skillful gross-motor strength and coordination
  • Show skillful use of scissors and pencils
  • Independently complete self-care routines
  • Demonstrate care for personal objects and school materials and environment

Genius of Play

Harker Preschool: The Genius of Play

In our classrooms, every minute of the day is a teaching moment. Our approach takes into careful consideration the way children process information and new experiences. At this age, playing is learning. At Harker, we call it the genius of play.

"Play" can be a misleading term when it comes to early childhood education. Our teachers put into practice what early childhood research has consistently found to be true for more than 100 years: Play is the most important learning experience children can have.

We all learn best by doing … and doing again. For children, that is what playing is. After a night out at a restaurant, your child may re-enact the event with a toy kitchen. His brain is using this activity to process the experience, memorize actions and utilize creative thinking.

At Harker, we use play to enhance learning. It allows us to gain insight into a child’s interests and understanding of the world, and to build onto those understandings and interests. A play opportunity with buckets and acorns is actually a lesson in big and small and empty versus full.

We never dreamed our daughter would have the opportunity to create, explore, hypothesize and enjoy such a wealth of projects in preschool. Thank you for bringing the love of learning to all of our children.

Katrina Ryan and Bill Jeffers, parents

Preschool students at cubbies

Preschool Daily Schedule

Harker Preschool follows a typical school calendar, September-June. We carefully designed our daily schedule to provide a comforting routine for children. The full-day program runs from 8:20-3:30, with half-day, extended and summer options. Here is a sample preschool day at Harker:

View Sample Daily Schedule

PRE teachers

Teachers

Our teachers have backgrounds in a wide range of early childhood development programs. That type of diversity is what makes our program so rich. We draw from the most effective strategies and teaching methods used today.

Our teachers hold bachelor’s degrees and many have advanced degrees as well. They participate in professional development opportunities to stay ahead of the latest trends in early learning.

Every member of our teaching staff brings an in-depth understanding and appreciation of how preschoolers digest information and the skills they need. They work closely with each child to tailor our program to meet their developmental needs. We are proud of the compassion and energy they bring to our campus every day.

Learn More About Our Teachers

Teacher and parent

Student Support

Communication is important. We understand that you want to stay updated on your child’s progress and have ample opportunities for dialogue with our teachers. Our staff is available for in-person meetings, online exchanges and even written reports about your child so you stay connected.

Beyond the classroom, we offer some exciting extras here at Harker Preschool including healthy and nourishing lunch options, daily extended care and an enriching summer program.

Learn More About Preschool Support & Services

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