Early Childhood Program

Princeton Junior School’s Early Childhood Program focuses on developing social, emotional, behavioral and physical skills as well as academic readiness. Our main goal in teaching young children is to provide experiences that develop self-awareness, promote confidence and instill a joy of learning.  Mixed-age classrooms balance cooperative play with carefully thought-out learning experiences. Through play, children learn to think, reason, and develop important skills. Families may choose from several options offered throughout the day including half or full day classes as well as after school programs.

Class Options


The acclaimed Reggio Emilia approach to early education focuses on the view of the child. While many preschool programs see their youngest students as an “empty vessels,” a major tenet of the Reggio Approach is that the child is capable, curious and interested in subjects worth exploring deeply.  The child communicates their enthusiasm and queries through observations, discussions and choices. The teacher serves as a partner, supporter and guide to help students follow their interest. Children develop problem-solving skills as teachers help refine their hypotheses and theories. Students spend considerable time outdoors and teachers bring the natural world into the classroom.  


Children learn best when what they are learning is meaningful, interesting and relevant to their lives.  As a result, literacy development, math exploration, science and social studies are taught to our youngest students within a unit of investigation.  These units will typically last 4-6 weeks and include collaboration with all of our specialist teachers. Through the framework of the International Baccalaureate PYP, teachers encourage our early childhood students to wonder and ask questions, supporting their development through classroom projects and explorations.  

Our Reggio Class (ages 2 - 3.5) offers enrollment options of 5 days (M-F), 3 days (M-W), or 2 days (Th, Fri) per week. Students can be dropped off anywhere between 8-9am, and picked up at noon. Families interested in full day coverage can add the Afternoon Program, which runs from 12:00pm - 2:45pm. Afternoon Program coverage is flexible and can be added anywhere from 1-5 days per week as needed.

Our Preschool Class (ages 3.5 - 5) is 5 mornings per week. Students can be dropped off anywhere between 8-9am, and picked up at noon.

Our ECP Afternoon Program is a time for students to nourish and recharge. Our teachers strive to create a comforting and calm atmosphere, where children can settle in and enjoy their lunch and social time with their peers. Rest and nap is a peaceful time after lunch with soft music and/or meditation as well as quiet stories. This is followed by activity choices ranging from yoga, painting, and building with materials such as legos, clay and playdough to read alouds, illustration and a variety of long term art and science projects. The program ends with outdoor play on the playground and exploration of the natural beauty of our campus. The ECP Afternoon Program is open to all students enrolled in ECP morning classes at PJS. The ECP Afternoon Program runs daily from 12:00pm - 2:45pm and is open to all ECP students enrolled in morning classes at PJS. Enrollment in this program is flexible and can be added anywhere from 1-5 days per week as needed.

For families interested in After School coverage, our Extended Day Program runs from 2:45pm - 6:00pm and is available to all of our Early Childhood Program students.

For a breakdown of Early Childhood Program Tuition pricing CLICK HERE

Areas of Development

The child is made of one hundred
The child has;
A hundred languages
A hundred hands
A hundred thoughts
A hundred ways of thinking
Of playing, of speaking

From the poem “No Way. The Hundred is There”, By Loris Malaguzzi

Philosophy and Goals
  • Establish a partnership with families to best meet their children’s needs
  • Cultivate a love of learning in each child
  • Create a classroom environment that is safe, nurturing and fun so that the children gain the confidence they need to take risks and express themselves freely
  • Foster independence and responsibility through daily jobs, routines and daily clean-up
  • Teach respect towards oneself, others, the classroom materials, and the environment
  • Create an atmosphere that emphasizes and reinforces politeness and consideration of others
  • Provide numerous opportunities for unstructured play so that children build friendships, develop social skills, critical thinking, practice language skills, develop fine and gross motor skills, and practice conflict negotiation
  • Understand child development and how each child is unique and develops at his/her own pace
  • Immerse children with authentic opportunities to engage with words and print within the classroom, in literature, and the environment
  • Listen to children so that the learning is meaningful, motivated by student interests and questions, and relevant to their lives.

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