The Clark Fork School Preschool Program consists of three classrooms serving ages 2 years old through 5 years old.
In our Preschool classrooms, our students explore and create their own learning through play. We value developmentally appropriate practice, active learning and providing children with uninterrupted periods of open-ended exploration, both indoors and outdoors. Children are engaged in developing appropriate social interactions and learning from others' emotions and experiences. Our students have fun while learning how to navigate their world with a curious mind and a sense of creativity.
We also offer an Early Foundations program, which may be the right fit for your child.
- Early Foundations is open to kids who will be 5 before November 30, but who do not make Kindergarten cut-off date of September 10.
- Early Foundations is ideal for children who are age-ready for Kindergarten, but would benefit from another year in a school environment that is holistic, experiential, exploratory, stimulating and nurturing.
- Early Foundations students must be able to comfortably get through the day without a nap and be ready for the social and academic challenge of a Kindergarten curriculum.
Visit our Early Foundations page for more information.
Preschool Teaching Philosophy
- in and rely upon the notion that our classroom itself is a third teacher. With this in mind, we endeavor to keep materials in all the learning areas rotated, enticing and pertinent to the children’s interests, skills and needs.
- in providing materials that can be utilized individually and in collaboration with others, by children with a wide range of experience and ability.
- in a schedule that allows teachers to model the use of materials and engage in guided play.
- that teacher facilitated projects should emphasize exposing students to new materials, skills and processes in ways that allow for the most hands-on experiences possible.
- that while teacher facilitated projects ought to have sound objectives and ought not shy away from sometimes including specific directions and processes, they should also always allow for some measure of creativity, choice making and critical thinking on behalf of students.
- that preschoolers are capable of and ought to be challenged to approach their work with focus and a sense of integrity.
- that preschool children ought to be challenged to and supported in taking care of as many of their needs as possible at school; from toileting and dressing, to locating materials and expressing ideas. And, that they be expected to seek help whenever needed, in as polite and constructive a way as possible.
- that a great curriculum for preschool should be rich in a wide variety of open-ended projects and materials flexible enough to accommodate emerging interests, relevant to enough of the students to inspire participation, instructive in basic skills and concepts and striving to balance the use of the body and brain, as well as engaging all the senses.
- that children are capable of engaging in meaningful and appropriate problem solving and that all conflicts warrant thoughtful discussion and resolution.
- that it is important to behave in ways that are conducive to an environment where everyone feels safe, both physically and emotionally and in which everyone has the opportunity to express themselves.
- that while we endeavor to create some continuity/integration between discussions, group and individual projects and the work available in many areas of the classroom, we are not a “theme” based program. We reject the idea that preschool age children gain enough benefit from being expected to maintain uniform interest in any given subject to warrant all projects and work areas be theme related-- especially if doing so results in projects that do not make the best use of children’s skills, aptitudes, insights and freedom to express themselves both creatively and intellectually.
- that outdoor play is crucial to the growth and development of the brain, body, and intellect.