Preschool Program

Virginia Chance School is a Progressive Preschool-Elementary in a historic stone schoolhouse on 26 magical acres. A challenging, progressive program that engages students in a hands-on, collaborative environment using outdoor integration, focused on building self-motivation, growth mindset, decision making, community building, and critical thinking. 

Peek into any Chance Preschool classroom, and you’ll see children strengthening their social and emotional skills through play and work while experimenting with age-appropriate pre-reading, pre-writing, and math activities, all within an innovative play-based curriculum. Opportunities for purposeful work and play with classmates support social and emotional development, which is foundational for the child and a hallmark of the Virginia Chance School program.

Virginia Chance School provides Degreed Preschool Teachers (many with Masters degrees in early childhood education) that guide your child’s active mind and body to participate in our safe, engaging, and discovery-driven program. Chance’s dynamic learning environment and well-qualified teachers nurture, support, and challenge your child with dignity and respect. 

Hands-on center activities blend with theme studies that lead to notable cognitive discoveries in art, early reading and writing, math and number sense, science, movement, music, and dramatic or pretend play. For Pre-K students, differentiated activities challenge individual learners in early reading and writing strategies and skills, such as phonemic awareness, beginning letter-sound association, journal writing, and language experience stories. Specialists’ classes include library, movement, science, and art. 

The Virginia Chance Preschool is developed and scaffolded for a child’s success in the Virginia Chance Elementary Program. The curriculum builds on itself to create the foundation for long-term success in the Elementary Program through graduation and beyond. The magical childhood education that is cultivated here and remembered stays for a lifetime. 

 

Group times
As preschool begins, teachers greet students with engaging group activities. One gathering may introduce new materials in the room or center choices for the day. Another may encourage discussions that promote listening and sharing. Others include reading a story or singing a song.

Learning centers
Students follow their curiosity and select a learning center. Choices include building blocks, dressing up for dramatic play, creating a masterpiece on an easel, exploring clay or watercolors at the art table, reading a book, digging into the sensory table, exploring a science topic, or playing a game with a new friend. Centers promote exploration, decision-making, and social interaction as an extension of their studies.

Literacy development
The journey to literacy is an exciting one at Chance. In addition to learning opportunities at centers, experiences include group read-aloud that let students experience meaningful literature to extend their studies. Class discussions stretch students to grow in comprehension, recall, and reasoning. Writing practice that helps students make meaningful connections. The youngest writers create stories using scribbles, stamps, and pictures. Soon they are associating sounds with symbols. The grouping (patterning) of letters becomes words and then sentences.

Math development
Students explore, investigate, and problem-solve with hands-on math activities that make abstract ideas concrete. Group time featuring real-life experiences, problems, and games make math learning come to life. Preschoolers may assist with a demonstration using manipulatives or talk about some interesting observations. Students explore new concepts at their individual levels of understanding by using hands-on materials. Teachers offer guidance and extra support.

Theme study
Preschoolers love to examine the world in which they live. Teachers generate topics of study based on children’s interests and life experiences. The exploration makes use of all the subjects, from writing and math to art and music. Teachers plan themes that are exciting and relevant to young learners, such as Family, Seasons, Animals, Transportation, Senses, and All About Me.

Specialist classes are necessary ingredients of a comprehensive and progressive educational program, supporting the child’s development. Students as young as three years old benefit from our specialists in various types of instruction and experiences, and our Preschool students get introduced to each of these areas of learning.

Art
Art lets children explore their creative visions using a variety of tools and media introduced each week. Preschool 2’s students are exposed to artistic exploration from learning about renowned artists and their work, as well as engaging in individual and group projects in their classrooms. in preschool classes with their teachers, and Preschool 3’s and above go to art class with the school’s art teacher.

Science
Our Science class brings the wonders of science and the natural world to our preschool students with experiential learning and integrated outdoor discovery with the school’s science teacher. Each student is involved in first-hand exploration and investigation, and inquiry/process skills are nurtured and expanded with hands-on activities.

Movement and PE
Chance students move to strengthen and exercise growing bodies. Preschool students are exposed to movement activities and games that develop balance and coordination. by meeting with their movement teacher and their primary teachers.

Outdoors Environmental Study
Chance’s nature study in our 26-acre campus strengthens the natural connection between children and their environment. Students follow their curiosity as they explore topics such as native plant life and native animals; students will touch, smell, and using all their senses to learn about the natural world in brand new ways. By exploring their world, children become responsible members of the natural world. This time is lead by their core teacher team and can happen more than once a week as many core learning topics can be intertwined with nature.

Library
With a visit to the library each week, preschool and elementary students experience rich literature, promoting a love of books and reading. The school’s collection includes award-winning Caldecott and Newbury literature, theme study reference books, and parent resource books and is regularly updated, analyzed, and refreshed.

Full-Day Preschool, from 8:30-3:00: start the day with play! As children are welcomed into their classroom, they can meet and greet friends and choose how they would like to start the day. Teachers work with children to welcome them to the choices available for the morning and help guide the child in their own decision-making process. Children are capable, and this is one of many empowering methods and opportunities offered throughout the day. Outside play is an integral part of our daily program, so parents should dress their child accordingly for optimal play and learning outdoors. Full-week classes for 3s and 4s also engage with our Specialists who bring content-rich experiences to the classrooms and outdoor learning spaces.

 

The mid-day portion continues the day to incorporate a family-style lunch where language, conversation skills, and self-help skills are practiced as children set up and clean up at mealtimes. The parent will provide a packed lunch, and the school provides organic milk. Your child will also have additional time to build community with his/her peers during group activities between lunch and dismissal, including read-alouds, theme study discussions, and select center choices.

 

The afternoon extends the day to give children more social time together in a group to build community and practice decision making. The full-day option also offers more self-help practice, more playtime and outdoor exploration. In addition to the play-based curriculum and outdoor experiences, your child will have additional time for the cognitively necessary rest time.

 

Mid-day Preschool, from 8:30-1:00: start the day with play! As children are welcomed into their classroom, they can meet and greet friends and choose how they would like to start the day. Teachers work with children to welcome them to the choices available for the morning and help guide the child in their own decision-making process. Children are capable, and this is one of many empowering methods and opportunities offered throughout the day. Outside play is an integral part of our daily program, so parents should dress their child accordingly for optimal play and learning outdoors. Full-week classes for 3s and 4s also engage with our Specialists who bring content-rich experiences to the classrooms and outdoor learning spaces.

The mid-day portion continues the day to incorporate a family-style lunch where language, conversation skills, and self-help skills are practiced as children set up and clean up at mealtimes. The parent will provide a packed lunch, and the school provides organic milk. Your child will also have additional time to build community with his/her peers during group activities between lunch and dismissal, including read-alouds, theme study discussions, and select center choices.

Extended Day Options: For families seeking more flexibility, we offer our before and after school Chums program and Enrichment classes. With these extra options, programs are available from 7:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. for children ages 2 through Grade 5. Please refer to the Extended Program section for more information about these offerings.

Children’s placements are according to their ages as of Oct. 1 of the school year.

Two-year-olds Two-day and five-day options are available; schedules offered are Morning Preschool, Mid-day Preschool, and Full Day Preschool.
 
Three-year-olds Schedule options include three-day and five-day options; Morning Preschool, Mid-day Preschool, and Full Day Preschool.
 
Four-year-olds Class (also known as Pre-Kindergarten or Junior Kindergarten) meets five days; schedules offered include Morning Preschool, Mid-day Preschool, and Full Day Preschool.

Class Size and Ratio:
Twos: 6:1 ratio, two Teachers per room
Threes: 7:1 ratio, two Teachers per room
Fours: 9:1 ratio, two Teachers per room

 

Overview of a multi-week Theme Study (Thematic Unit) in Pre-K:

This is an example of a Thematic Unit in our Progressive Education Program at Virginia Chance School. It was a project that integrated voting, writing, singing, printing, painting, constructing, discussing, cutting, pretending, observing, drawing, measuring, counting, labeling, recording, dancing, creating, sewing, sharing, climbing, sitting, "driving", collaborating, thinking and having great fun learning! We appreciate the creativity of our highly trained educators and how they take the ideas and interests of our students and expanded those to create an immersive and captivating education experience such as this: