Our Youngest Students

The Lillian Goldman Preschool experience is the beginning of a Dutchess Day School education. At the core of the broad, child-centered program is the philosophy of learning through play. The curriculum focuses on the social, emotional, physical, and cognitive development of preschool children. It stimulates the imagination of each child by instilling an appreciation for and natural curiosity about the world around them. A team of teachers builds an environment of trust, cooperation, and collaboration, in which children can learn to appreciate and celebrate each other’s similarities and differences – helping them develop into curious, resilient, and empathic individuals. Within this safe and nurturing environment, children are supported to explore through hands-on experiences and learn while being encouraged to take risks as they play. Children learn best by doing and it is through multi-sensory activities that (or which?) provide real life opportunities for the children to experiment (or discover) and learn about their world. All children are supported as they move toward independence.

A child must be three by December to enroll in the three-year-old program and four by December to enroll in the four-year-old program. Children with fall birthdays will meet with teachers to determine what year of entry is best. Children must be independent in the bathroom. Admissions for the preschool program will be made on a rolling basis.


“A team of teachers builds an atmosphere environment of cooperation, trust, and collaboration, in which children can celebrate differences of all kinds.”


Preschool Curriculum

Our program nurtures the whole child with activities that are designed to tap into the interests and developmental needs of each preschooler. Theme-based units centered on being a valued member of a community and a steward of the environment teach life lessons that encourage each child to be a citizen of the world. These units of study integrate language and math skills as well as, social emotional learning, social studies, art, and science. We take advantage of our school’s surrounding habitats – fields, woods, streams, wetlands, pond, and working gardens – as learning centers. For instance, in one of our daily trips the class ventured out to gather handfuls of seeds from a variety of plants on campus and returned to the classroom to count, sort, and create patterns, as well as to learn about the purpose of seeds. In the end, some of these seeds were used to make nature collages, others were planted, and the remaining ones were saved for the hungry birds that come to our feeders in the winter. This activity is an example of how we incorporate a variety of topics – core academic subjects, cooperation, concern for others, to mention a few – while our children “play.” Our schedule also includes art, music, library, and physical education. In one sense we are a laboratory for preschoolers where every moment of the day is spent exploring, discovering, creating, and learning.


“We take advantage of our school’s surrounding habitats – fields, woods, streams, wetlands, pond, and working gardens – as learning centers.”