Preschool Program

Peek into any Chance early start elementary Preschool classrooms you’ll undoubtedly see students having a lot of fun. They are 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. Collectively, the environment and curriculum build the foundation for long-term success in the Elementary Program and beyond. The Virginia Chance Preschool is a Preschool Program solely for the Virginia Chance Elementary Program. Virginia Chance School is a nine-year program with graduation at 5th Grade.
Our Degreed Preschool Teachers (many with Masters degrees in early childhood education) guide your child’s active mind and body to participate in our safe, engaging, charismatic and discovery-driven program. 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. Chance’s dynamic learning environment and well-qualified teachers nurture, support and challenge your child with dignity and respect. Hands-on center activities are blended with theme studies that lead to incredible 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 meet the needs of 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, music, science and art. Children are nourished daily with healthy snacks, a lunch from home, and organic milk and with physical exercise through outdoor and indoor play.

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

Program Options:

Morning Preschool, from 8:30 – 11:30 start the day with play! As children are welcomed into their classroom they have a chance to meet and greet friends and choose how they would like to start the day. Teachers work with children to welcome them to the choices are available for the morning and help guide the child in their own decision-making process. Children are seen as capable and this is one of many empowering processes and opportunities offered throughout the day. Next empowering choice "Would you like snack today?", then the child may select all or some of the offerings, all the while being taught how to help themselves and speak their preference through our cultivated nurturing process. All Morning Preschool have science class with our Science Specialist, which explore science topics in the classroom and outside on nature walks and Library time with our Library Specialist. Outside play is an integral part of our program, so parents will be asked to dress their child for the outside weather of that day.

Mid-day Preschool, from 8:30-1:00, extends the learning, engagement and empowerment opportunities for your child beyond Morning Preschool. Your child will have more time for a family style lunch where lunchtime chatter abounds and they start to learn how to be a good meal friend. This important social aspect and extended time for specialist further enhance their cognitive, social, emotional, moral, and fine motor development. Specialists’ classes are expanded from science and library to now also include Art and Music with those Specialist Teachers. Lunch from home and organic milk from school will be provided.


Preschool, from 8:30-3:00, promotes new discoveries, deeper exploration, and expanded learning that is so valuable in a full school day. In addition to the play-based curriculum and specialist classes and outdoor experiences, your child will have additional time for the cognitively important nap (for those that do), theme study through independent and group work, expanded learning centers and other physical development opportunities and more outside play. Customized learning activities are continued to meet the needs of individual learners. An additional afternoon snack from school will provide the nourishment for full school day students.


Extended Day Options: For families seeking more flexibility, our before and after school Chums program and Enrichment classes will be offered. 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.



A typical school day includes:


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 with blocks, dressing up for dramatic play, creating a masterpiece on an easel, 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-alouds that let students experience meaningful literature as an extension of 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, the calendar, weather graphs, and games make math learning come to life. Preschoolers may assist with a demonstration or talk about some interesting observations. Math practice takes place in learning centers, with a small group or on an individual basis. 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.


Weekly Rotations of Specialist Curriculum typical for 5-day programs full day friends:

Specialist classes are necessary ingredients of a comprehensive and progressive educational program, supporting the development of the whole child. 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 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 in preschool classes with their teachers and Preschool 3’s and above go to art class with the school’s art teacher. Elementary students meet with the school’s art teacher.

Our Science class brings the wonders of science to our preschool students with experiential learning and integrated outdoor discovery with the school’s science teacher. Elementary students develop understandings and skills necessary to function productively as problem-solvers in a scientific and technological world. 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 and games by meeting with the school’s movement teacher and their primary teachers. Elementary students meet with the school’s PE teacher and learn the value of being physically fit through organized games and activities in the Funroom or on the field.

Students gain an appreciation of music through singing and instrumentation. Preschool 2’s students explore the world of music in their classes with their primary teachers and Preschool 3’s and above go to music class with the school’s music teacher. Elementary students meet with the school’s music teacher and sing a varied repertoire, perform with instruments, read and notate, and learn music’s role in history and culture.

Outdoors 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 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.

With a visit to the library each week, preschool and elementary students experience rich literature, which promotes 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.


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: