Christ’s Church Nursery School Small by Design, Large in Learning

PRE-SCHOOL PRIMER:Christ’s Church Nursery School, a member of the National Association of Episcopal Schools, embraces the Episcopal Church’s motto  —The Episcopal Church Welcomes You!

Published August 20, 2015 5:00 AM
4 min read


christschurch-thPRE-SCHOOL PRIMER:
Christ’s Church Nursery School, a member of the National Association of Episcopal Schools, embraces the Episcopal Church’s motto  —The Episcopal Church Welcomes You!



Christ’s Church Nursery School, a member of the National Association of Episcopal Schools, embraces the Episcopal Church’s motto  —The Episcopal Church Welcomes You! Parishioners and non-members find a warm reception at Rye’s “small-by-design” nursery school.

CCNS has a long history as a successful play-based nursery school. They hold firm to the belief that the best child-appropriate practices are those that support play as a vehicle to learning. First and foremost is a commitment to providing a safe and healthy physical environment. A new playground and field provide space for children to develop their gross motor skills.

The curriculum, inspired by the Bank Street College of Education and other constructivist approaches, fosters all areas of child development: cognitive, emotional, physical, and social. A recent study published in the American Journal of Public Health shows that, “helping children develop social and emotional skills is one of the most important things we can do to prepare them for a healthy future.” CCNS addresses those skills by helping children negotiate conflict and support their ability to understand other children’s (and adult’s) points of view.

There is a place for the 3 R’s in the pre-school setting, and CCNS provides opportunities and exposure to those disciplines in a manner that is relevant to the age level of the children. The 4 C’s (creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, and communication) are also imbedded in the curriculum. To that end, they nurture creative thinking, as well as providing a strong foundation for a successful entry into kindergarten. The dedicated block room provides ample opportunities for older children to think scientifically and mathematically as they work out engineering problems involving structure. The presence of blocks inside the 2- and 3-year-old classrooms helps to increase expressive and receptive language production, a readiness instructional goal for the younger children.

Emergent literacy is apparent in all areas of the learning environments. In the 2’s and 3’s, vocabulary and oral language development, the footprints of reading, are addressed through the spoken and sung word. The 4’s and 5’s write, graph, and chart experiences that are meaningful to them. CCNS is fortunate to have a literacy enrichment component that enhances the curriculum presented in the respective classrooms. Poetry, shared reading experiences, story telling and retelling, are all part of the emergent literacy program.

The school’s early childhood literacy specialist is a graduate of Teacher’s College at Columbia University and all of the head teachers have Master’s degrees in the field of education.

Open-ended art pieces, which encourage children to explore and experience the medium in which they are working, further extend their ability to think creatively and critically.


Learning about famous artists and the materials and tools they use, enhances vocabulary development and builds background knowledge for future learning endeavors.

The school encourages children to become active “music makers” by helping them to find their singing voice, while listening for patterns, and rhythms, and even learning about cadence and staccato.

Opportunities to stay current within the area of Early Childhood Education are never passed up by the faculty. This summer, members of the faculty and administration took Master’s level courses at both Stanford University and Bank Street College of Education.

The school’s proximity to downtown Rye offers a chance for the students to explore their community. Visits to the Square House give the older children a chance to experience life in olden times. Its location across the street from the Rye Arts Center enables the nursery school to participate in their programs. They also make ample use of the Rye Nature Center, whose naturalists come and visit the 2’s and 3’s several times a year. The 4’s and 5’s enjoy walking to the Nature Center to press apples in the fall, and hiking on the trails to explore nature up close in the spring. CCNS has added the Bruce Museum to its repertoire of field trips; the children love to sit at the feet of the docents inside the wigwam and learn about life on the Sound Shore hundreds of years ago.

CCNS’ partnerships with the Arts and Nature centers, along with KinderClub, afford extended-day opportunities for those families who are looking for longer day options.

An active Parents’ Association, under the skillful leadership of Jane Anderson and new Co-Chair Kendall Truman, helps support the enrichment programs. They also provide many opportunities to deepen the community for both children and parents. The PA hosts a parent reception that follows Back to School Night; sponsors the Fall Fun Fair (which will be held on Saturday, October 3 this year), and puts together a spectacular evening at one of the local clubs for the Spring Silent Auction. Movies and Munchies — a highlight of the long winter months — is held at the Rye Free Reading Room. 


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