Skip To Main Content

Nursery School Curriculum

St. Patrick's Nursery School in Washington DC offers a comprehensive play based learning approach for children aged 3 - 4 years.

  • Nursery Class - Age 3 years
  • Pre-Kindergarten (PK) - Age 4 years

​​​​​​Our curriculum meets each child where s/he is, fitting the curriculum to the child, rather than the child to the curriculum. Our Nursery School is a welcoming and dynamic learning environment designed to nurture each child's inherent sense of wonder and desire to learn.

Nursery School, St. Patrick’s early-childhood program, comprises four self-contained classrooms, two in the Nursery program (three- to four-year-olds) and two in the PK program (four- to five-year-olds). Leading each classroom are a head teacher and an assistant teacher who work together to design an emergent, play-based curriculum. We call this curriculum “emergent” because while we have specific developmental goals the curriculum arises largely from students’ interests and classroom explorations. Teachers build lessons around and adapt activity centers to the students’ curiosity as they create learning environments to meet the various cognitive, social-emotional, communication, self-help, and motor development needs of the children. All Nursery School students (Nursery and PK) leave their self-contained classroom for science, music, and gross-motor development/physical education classes and spend an hour or more each day on the Primary Grades Playground. In addition, PK students have Spanish instruction in their classrooms twice a week. The PK program is a full day, beginning at 8:20 am and dismissing at 2:40 pm Monday through Thursday. On Friday, the PK has a half day with an 11:50 am dismissal. All Nursery students attend five mornings a week. The Nursery children can extend their day by enrolling in the afternoon Lunch Bunch program, which lasts until 2:50 pm, Monday through Thursday and features a variety of activities to continue supporting the Nursery students in all key developmental domains to enhance their ability to learn in a classroom environment.

Our Nursery School is a welcoming and dynamic learning environment designed to nurture each child’s inherent sense of wonder and desire to understand the world around them. It is a time when children begin to learn how to become productive and successful members of a community of learners who play, explore, and learn together. Nursery School students assume increasing responsibility for themselves and for their interactions with others as they continue to make sense of the environment through active exploration. Each day, children choose from centers and intentionally designed activities that invite them to explore abstract concepts and concrete knowledge and skills through verbal, visual, physical, auditory, and imaginative processes. These activities help them learn and practice skills across all developmental domains and apply their executive functioning skills so they can effectively use these skills in concert with each other. Teachers design a school environment, using thematic units and investigations, to create opportunities for children to interact with each other, adults, materials, and the environment itself to promote age-appropriate skill and concept development. Consistent with the notion of an emergent curriculum, early-childhood teachers make it a priority to know their children well so they can respond to their interests, strengths, and needs and create learning experiences that are authentic and meaningful to each child. The strong working relationships our teachers develop through regular communication with parents are an important part of this process.