Early Childhood (2-4 Year Olds)

Satisfying the Curious Mind

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  • Connecting Ideas Through Play

Hutchison’s Early Childhood (EC) program celebrates intellectual curiosity. Our teachers encourage the girls' inquisitive nature to drive the learning process.
In small class settings, girls in Early Childhood explore new ideas as they rotate through learning centers that integrate different aspects of the curriculum and develop thinking and motor skills. The centers also foster independence and time management skills that serve the girls well in later grades.

Following the Reggio Emilia style, our expert teachers engage the girls through hands-on projects and real life experiences that are relevant to them.

Elizabeth Jordan, Early Childhood Head

“We ask questions to find what interests the girls and then try to plan our classroom environment to foster those interests. We know that creates a more meaningful learning experience."

A secluded oasis of learning

Tucked away in the northwest corner of Hutchison’s lush campus is the Abston Early Childhood Center, a welcoming place that houses Little Hive (2 year olds), Pre-Kindergarten (3 year olds), and Junior Kindergarten (4 year olds). The quiet, secluded EC playground is nearby while frequent jaunts to other corners of Hutchison’s 52-acres are fun learning expeditions and a chance to explore and feel independent in a secure setting.

In early literacy, math, and science, girls connect ideas through play and exploration before progressing to journal writing and understanding math in the context of everyday life. Other curricular experiences include weekly visits to the farm, Spanish, art, technology, movement, and music.


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  • Literacy

    Our phonics program includes both listening and hands-on activities to engage the girls. All PK and JK girls begin journal writing in August. Journaling is done in small groups, giving the girls the attention they need to become successful writers. Girls have many other opportunities to express themselves through print.

    The girls also enjoy sending messages to one another in the message center. They create cards and letters for their friends and when they are finished they put them in their friends’ mailboxes. Through this experience, the girls learn to write their names and the names of everyone in their class and get to practice writing using prior knowledge of letters and sounds. The girls also practice writing in center activities and project work.

    Guided reading groups begin in JK. Through working in small groups, the teachers know when their girls are ready to read. Guided reading is differentiated so each girl is taught on her level. Shared reading is taught using big books.
  • Math

    The Little Hive and PK girls learn math skills through calendar time, songs, morning meeting, and center activities. In the block center, for example, girls are exposed to shapes, counting, more, less, taller than, shorter than, and measurement. University of Chicago’s Everyday Mathematics is taught in JK. This program is full of hands-on activities and games that reinforce: number and numeration, operations and computations, data and chance, measurement and reference frames, geometry, patterns, functions, and algebra.
  • Farm

    The Hutchison farm is an extension of the Early Childhood curriculum. Beginning with the two-year-olds in Little Hive, girls visit the farm on a weekly basis. The farm director, an educator with over ten years of environmental and farm garden experience, collaborates regularly with the classroom teachers to create synergy whenever possible. For example, counting or measuring the various vegetables harvested on the farm is a memorable way to hone early math skills. 

    The Early Childhood farm curriculum creates an early appreciation for science and environmental issues. These concepts create the foundation for understanding the more complex topics introduced in Lower School and beyond. 
  • Spanish, Movement, and Music

    Early childhood girls participate in Spanish, Creative Movement, and Music. Essential developmental skills are enhanced through songs and rhymes. They teach concepts, enhance vocabulary, develop motor skills, and encourage social skills. Dance begins in JK, building an awareness of the movement of the body, and its potential for creativity. The classroom teachers plan with the extra-curricular teachers so they can reinforce what is taught in class.

Early Childhood

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  • Photo of Elizabeth Jordan

    Elizabeth Jordan 

    Early Childhood Head
  • Photo of Janie Baker

    Janie Baker 

    Early Childhood Coordinator

In the News


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  • Life at Hutchison

    Learn more about the Hutchison experience and why a girl's school is your daughter's best opportunity to excel.

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  • Serious Play

    Self-awareness, taking turns, and being kind… EC teachers weave these lessons into the curriculum to instill, at an early age, the confidence, selflessness, and leadership skills that are hallmarks of a Hutchison education.

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  • An Important Investment for an Important Foundation

    The pillars of our EC education are creativity, collaboration, communication, and critical thinking. Yes, critical thinking happens in preschool.

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  • Life on the Big Girl Campus

    EC girls enjoy exploring the campus. This year, girls are learning some engineering basics on their weekly visits to the Crain Center construction site.

Come and experience

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  • Life at Hutchison

    Contact us today to tour our campus, meet with our admissions staff, and see the opportunities that Hutchison offers.