The school was founded in 1985 as the Carole Calder Preschool. It began in a large, cozy classroom with a passionate teacher dedicated to experiential learning and six enthusiastic children in a Belmont home. Interest in the school continued to grow sparking the move to its current location in Arlington in 1989 as Great Expectations Preschool.
Great Expectations is still very much a small, homey school environment where children learn by doing. Our school has four cozy, innovative classrooms with a total of 56 students attending each day. Our faculty of 11 experienced early childhood professionals have been committed to teaching at Great Expectations for decades. The average teacher employment tenure at Great Expectations Preschool is over 18 years. We have a unique close-knit, collaborative community that values the relationships among children, parents, and teachers as well as the home-school connection.
Great Expectations Preschool provides a warm and nurturing, child-centered environment where children are encouraged to explore, wonder, and discover in a hands-on manner. Each child is regarded as a unique individual with his or her own ideas, interests, and abilities. Respect and appreciation for oneself and others is fostered in this inclusive environment.
We believe children are natural scientists with a deep curiosity and desire to investigate and learn about the world around them. A play-based curriculum provides experiential explorations in art, nature, science, sensory materials, cooking, music, dramatics, and early literacy and mathematics. Children develop and practice social skills as well as fine and gross motor skills through play and interactions with the environment, teachers and peers. Experiences are carefully planned to support the individual interests and the development of the whole child: socially, emotionally, physically, and cognitively.
The development of a positive self-concept is of prime importance since feeling good about oneself has a direct impact on the skill building and socialization process. The child’s burgeoning independence and sense of self is nurtured in this supportive environment through problem solving, classroom responsibilities, building resilience, and helping one another. Children are viewed as capable members of our community and are active participants in all aspects of our day.
THE HOME/SCHOOL CONNECTION
Our school believes that children, parents, and teachers are partners in learning, and a strong home-school connection helps to foster these relationships. Prior to the start of the school year, teachers visit each of their students at his or her home. The home visit provides a wonderful opportunity for children and parents to meet the teachers in their own environment and exchange information about what to expect during the first few weeks of school. Children and teachers often reflect on this visit throughout the year. Home visits are an integral part of our program and are just one of the many ways we connect home and school life.