early childhood at pcs

A time of joyful exploration for early learners.

Early Childhood at PCSis a fully immersive, play-based program that encourages multi-sensory exploration, kindles children's innate sense of wonder, and provides plenty of opportunities for both imaginative play and experimentation with the natural world.

Early Childhood Program

monday-friday, for students ages 3-5

The Early Childhood programs at PCS offer hands-on, joyful, child-centered learning experiences in an idyllic natural landscape. Children are encouraged to wander and wonder, to play and pretend, to experiment and experience.

Taking the children’s interests and inquiries as their guide, EC facilitators work hand-in-hand with students, offering a balance of intentional provocations, inquiry-based explorations, and plenty of time for free play.

Thanks to the ingenuity and dedication of our facilitators — and the intentionally open-ended, flexible and responsive design of our learning spaces, structures and materials —the majority of the Early Childhood program takes place outdoors!You will often find EC classes set up next to a pond for close observation of the Koi and tadpoles, or beneath a tree to collect seed samples, or next to the stage to facilitate a performance, or in the mud kitchen mixing potions.

The PCS Early Childhood program nourishes the whole child, with attention to building strong bodies, honing sharp minds, and honoring free spirits.Social emotional learning and community-building are central components of the PCS curriculum. Our youngest learners work each day to facilitate the emotional and physical well-being of their selves, their community and their world. Children practice mindfulness, develop relationship-building skills, and engage with our shared PCS community values (including compassion, empathy, and patience).

Explorations of literacy (concepts of print, principles of storytelling, letter/sound recognition, and written and spoken communication) and mathematics(concepts and calculations of numeracy, ordinality, correspondence and measurement), as well as participation in the PCS thematic trimester-long Integrated Unit, unfold authentically and within the context of play.

Above all, children are encouraged to play and to explore; to engage and to inquire.

Early Childhood 3/4’s

The Early Childhood 3/4’s program is open to children turning three years old by September 1st of the enrollment year. All children must be potty proficient. Families may choose a full or half-day option and may choose to enroll their child(ren) 2, 3 or 5 days per week. Children arrive at 9am and depart either at noon, before lunch (half day) or at 3pm (full day).

Early Childhood 4/5’s

Early Childhood 4/5’s is a full-day program open to children turning four years old by September 1st of the enrollment year. Families may choose to enroll their children for either four or five full days. Children arrive at 9am and depart at 3pm.

Sample Daily Rhythm

Arrival & Morning Provocation

· a simple invitation to explore or create greets the children upon arrival

Morning Meeting

· classes gather before embarking on the day to practice mindfulness, set expectations for the day, share community news and engage speaking and listening skills.

Integrated Explorations

· learning experiences balance thematic inquiry, open-ended exploration and joyful wonder


free play/exploration

· children engage in a variety of outdoor play spaces, including: a stage, sand pit, mud kitchen, weaving loom, musical installation, tire pit, swings, as well as the dry creek bed and gardens.

lunch & recess

rest and read

· students in all grades at PCS observe a period of rest/reading after lunch and recess to honor our bodies’ and minds’ need to restore.


· weekly visit with our special area facilitators in Spanish, Music, Art and Wellness

Free play/exploration


· goodbyes and reflections on our shared day

Learn More about Early Childhood at PCS!

Please complete the inquiry form linked below to connect with our Co-Director and Admissions Lead, Liz Casey Searl and, and learn more about what a PCS education can mean for your child.

We look forward to learning more about your and your family!