Early Childhood (2-4 Year Olds)

Satisfying the Curious Mind

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  • We Take Playtime Seriously

The premise of Hutchison’s Early Childhood (EC) program is that each child is innately full of wonder and knowledge, anxious to make connections through exploration and discovery.

Early Childhood

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  • Photo of Elizabeth Jordan

    Elizabeth Jordan 

    Early Childhood Head
  • Photo of Janie Baker

    Janie Baker 

    Early Childhood Coordinator
We understand children learn by making observations and asking questions. Lots of questions! In the Reggio Emilia style, our expert teachers engage the girls through hands-on projects and real life experiences that are relevant to them. Learning centers play an important role in the girls’ academic development. The centers integrate different aspects of the curriculum to develop thinking and motor skills. EC girls rotate through the centers daily, gaining independence and time management skills that will serve them well when they progress to higher grades.

Fred Rogers

“Play is really the work of childhood.”

A secluded oasis of learning

Tucked away in the Northwest corner of Hutchison’s lush campus is the Abston Early Childhood Center, a state- of-the-art facility constructed in 2001 that houses Little Hive (2 year olds), Pre-Kindergarten (3 year olds), and Junior Kindergarten (4 year olds). Classes are small, and parents can choose from full-week or partial week programs. Students enjoy the quiet EC playground nestled away near a wooded area, but frequent jaunts to other corners of Hutchison’s 52-acres are mini learning expeditions.

Whether they are visiting the upper school science lab for Junior Kindergarten’s annual dissection of a sheep’s heart, or wandering over to the farm to pick up something they will write about later in their journals, the excursions are learning opportunities, a chance to explore and feel independent in a secure setting.


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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.
  • Spanish, Chinese, Movement, and Music

    Early childhood girls participate in Spanish, Chinese, 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.

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.
Hutchison is the leading private girls school in Memphis for ages 2 years old through twelfth grade.