Skip To Main Content
The Benefits of a Nursery to Grade 8 School

A school that first enrolls children when they are three years old and delights in their graduation from Grade 8 more than a decade later embraces the childhood of its students in ways unmatched by any other school configuration. A Nursery to Grade 8 school like St. Patrick’s addresses the cognitive, academic, social-emotional, moral, and physical needs of children throughout the most formative years of their lives. All of our diverse expertise and extensive resources support young people across their childhood in ways that promote coherence and continuity, honoring and motivating their search for meaning in the present even as we poise them for bright futures.

St. Patrick’s is intentional about our Nursery to Grade 8 model. From the earliest years, in which we embrace a play-based model, to Grade 8, when we graduate confident, community-minded individuals who live with integrity, empathy, and purpose, we celebrate childhood and the young people we educate. St. Patrick’s is, indeed, a joyful place to learn - and to learn that you are known, loved, and respected.

Nursery School Play-Based Program

In our Nursery School, through play, three-, four-, and young five-year-old children develop the qualities of lifelong learners. They learn to investigate, to recognize patterns, to draw conclusions, and to see the world from others’ perspectives. Research tells us that, through play, students develop skills that involve mental control and self-regulation and that are often shown to be stronger predictors of academic success than IQ. Play-based programs, in which thoughtful, talented teachers create rich environments for exploration and discovery, naturally facilitate inhibitory control, working memory, and cognitive flexibility. In these settings, children are immersed in language, oral and written, when they speak with each other, listen to classmates and teachers, try on new roles in dramatic play centers, and attend to strong literature shared by their teachers. 

This same sense of play, of exploration and discovery, extends to older students as the play-based model evolves into an inquiry-based approach across the grade levels. Students solve complex problems, use new language, grapple with multiple perspectives, and invest in the creative process. Students of all ages explore self-generated questions, conduct research alongside their peers, and share finished work with the broader community. At every grade level, students engage in interdisciplinary project-based units. Inquiry that cuts across the lines of traditional disciplines invites deep engagement on the part of students, enhances their search for connections in what they are learning and with their own lives, and motivates their determination to make meaning out of the complex world around them.

Why Choose a Nursery to Grade 8 School?

The Nursery to Grade 8 model addresses the social and emotional needs of children throughout the most formative years of their lives. Along the way, we encourage students to take appropriate risks as they grow as thinkers, as classmates, and as friends. Their ability to do so in settings expressly designed for young people, in which they recognize that they are known, loved, and respected, is ideal. Moving into their early-adolescent years, students continue to benefit from the coherence and continuity of St. Patrick’s and from being able to graduate at a time when they are best able to make a smooth transition to a new school. They are the leaders in the school, offered opportunities to shine in the classroom, on the athletic field, and on the stage. 

St. Patrick’s develops a significant foundation of knowledge and skills along with those habits of heart and mind that are critical in a complex and challenging world. Our students graduate with as much curiosity and enthusiasm for learning at 14 as they had at four, along with the necessary skills, knowledge, and confidence for continued growth. It is in a Nursery to Grade 8 setting, characterized by deep knowledge of young learners and dedicated to the wholeness of their cognitive, social-emotional, and moral lives, that St. Patrick’s students come to know and believe in themselves. In doing so, they are exceptionally well-prepared for success in high school and beyond. With an array of top secondary school choices available to them and the support of our experienced Placement Team to guide them and their families, our graduates are poised to make their mark on a wider world.