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We like to think of First Congregational Church Nursery School as a "home away from home" ...a warm & welcoming community where teachers, children, and parents all play important roles in the educational process.

Research has shown that preschoolers learn best through play and that hands-on experience is necessary before children are ready for symbols (letters, numbers).  At First Congregational, each classroom is organized into centers – science, woodworking, an easel, small manipulatives, dramatic play, block building and a story corner.  The teacher(s) plans the curriculum knowing what she needs and wants to accomplish while keeping the teaching plan and environment flexible in order to account for and incorporate the children’s interests.  We use the Connecticut Preschool Curriculum Framework as a guide in designing an adaptable and enriching program.

Our teaching philosophy is guided by four key elements of the classroom:

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The sensory area includes hands-on materials that give preschoolers the opportunity to explore and discover using their senses. The dramatic play and art areas are spaces where preschoolers can creatively practice language and build confidence as they create and express ideas.



Teachers guide preschoolers with activities that spark curiosity and discovery. Preschoolers explore with fiction and nonfiction books and they begin to recognize letters and manipulate letter sounds. Investigations also incorporate scientific inquiry and exploration of mathematical concepts such as patterning, sorting, and grouping where preschoolers use materials such as building blocks, beads, and magnatiles.

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Preschoolers broaden their horizons while participating in weekly enrichment activities. Our students learn new art techniques in our Messy Art space, sing & dance with Mrs. Picache and stretch and move in our Movement room! We also have visits from Mad Science and Darien Nature Center and take field trips to local points of interest.

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Preschoolers build and strengthen both their gross motor and social skills as they play on our outdoor playground with features that include: a playhouse, multiple swings, a sand pit, bikes & scooters and a basketball hoop. On rainy days, children play in our indoor "movement" room.

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