Pre-Kindergarten Course Descriptions

In accordance with Carolina Day School’s philosophy of developing the whole child, our pre-kindergarten program is designed to challenge the active body and mind, as well as the natural curiosity and imagination of each student. Different levels of ability, development, and learning styles are expected, accepted, and used to design appropriate activities. With an awareness of the child’s developmental needs, our pre-kindergarten program encourages responsibility, cooperation, communication, and self-reliance. Subjects are not taught in isolation, but rather a solid balance of all areas of learning is offered in an integrated way using instructional themes organized in units. The children and their interests, along with seasonal and timely topics, help to keep the subject matter lively and relevant. Songs are written and taught to the children for every subject that is studied, creating a joyful and easy way for them to remember concepts and information. The curriculum respects the child’s natural sense of wonder about the world; children are encouraged to develop an understanding of concepts about themselves, others, and the world around them through observing, interacting with others, and seeking solutions to concrete problems.  

Language Arts

Language arts is a multi-media, multi-sensory program that offers each child a variety of experiences with language and literature in order to build skills and to develop a love of language and expression. Language exploration with age-appropriate activities, including dramatic play, helps a child to achieve a positive self-image, to relate to other children, and to verbalize ideas and feelings. Children learn letter names, shapes, and sounds, and identify words that have these initial sounds. Additionally, an environment rich in books, stories, songs, and manipulation introduces and develops recognition, comprehension, and sequencing skills. Beginning in January children are introduced to our Junior Great Books program, which provides opportunities to exercise the whole range of language and critical thinking skills that will prepare them to become good readers, as they learn to ask questions and share ideas about the meaning of stories and poems. Sample skill-building activities throughout the language arts curriculum:

  • Conversing in a group setting

  • Learning to recognize letters and sounds

  • Listening to a variety of literary genres: poetry, fiction, non-fiction, folk tales

  • Participating in story dramatizations

  • Expressing oneself through drawing and story dictation

  • Building comprehension skills in retelling, comparing and contrasting, sequencing, asking questions, identifying details to support ideas

Social Studies

The pre-kindergarten program begins a journey in social studies that provides a foundation for history, geography, and other social sciences with the intention that many of the topics we introduce through our curriculum will be studied again in the higher grades. These explorations include the four oceans, Native Americans, Dr. Martin Luther King, The Iditarod Sled Dog Race, the Wild West, Presidents George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, and more. Skill-building activities include:

  • Membership in school community

  • Holiday celebrations

  • Map exploration

  • People in history

  • Current events

  • Diverse people and cultures


Math activities in the pre-kindergarten program provide for growth in problem solving through the use of concrete manipulatives such as Unifix cubes, geoboards, pattern blocks, Cuisinaire rods, and games. The math program is based on the desire to make math real for children, and it is integrated into every area of the curriculum. Students learn one-to-one correspondence, number recognition, counting by tens, and sorting, and they develop skills in classification, graphing, and patterns. They also practice estimation and measuring. Calendar activities and counting are part of each day's activities. Skill-building activities include:

  • Number recognition – most students master to 100

  • Sorting and classification

  • One-to-one correspondence

  • Counting by tens to 100

  • Learning about basic graphing, patterning, problem solving, measuring, and sequencing

  • Reviewing geometry and spatial relations in shapes and puzzles


he science curriculum includes a variety of activities designed to offer hands-on instruction about the world around us. It integrates a wide range of activities to stimulate the child’s curiosity through relevant life experiences. Observation, experiments, and field trips enhance the concepts. Units of study include apples, monarch butterfly metamorphosis and migration, pumpkins, five senses, germination, water cycle, seasons, dinosaurs, air and wind, oceans, and oviparous and viviparous animals. Skill-building activities include:

  • Observation and description

  • Sensory activities

  • Classification and identification

  • Construction and manipulation


Beginning in January, children enter the art room as for the first time, and it is a truly magical time filled with exploration and discovery.  Students work on two-dimensional artwork such as drawing with colored pencils, markers and oil pastels.  They also use watercolor paints and explore techniques of collage and printmaking.  During Pre-K art students learn about basic Elements of Art such as shape, line, and color.  Some sample areas of focus are:

  • Experimental drawing and painting

  • Drawing with shapes to create a recognizable form

  • Using recycled materials and paint for printmaking


The pre-kindergarten music experience creates an active space for the whole child’s creative potential. Meeting twice a week for 30-minute sessions, the program focuses on introducing rhythm, melody, and notation while engaging the whole body in creative movement. Performance opportunities broaden the singer’s vocal literature and offer skills in public presentations. Sample units of study:

  • Steady beat

  • Introduction of percussion instruments

  • Expand upon pre-kindergarten classroom units

Physical Education

The pre-kindergarten physical education program encourages participation in a wide variety of activities and promotes cooperation and sportsmanship. Body management, locomotor skills, and rhythmic activities are emphasized through fun and highly inclusive

games. Components of our program include:

  • Locomotor skills: running, skipping, galloping, side slides, and jogging

  • Jump rope and rhythmic movement, which culminates with our annual lower school family dance

  • Gross motor skills: throwing, catching, kicking, striking

  • Balance and Coordination

  • Gymnastics Skills: Tumbling, jumping

Library Course

The Lower School library supports the Carolina Day School curriculum, encourages reading, and promotes research. More than 20,000 titles are available to students and parents via the web-based catalogue, along with a variety of electronic databases, print periodicals, DVDs, and audio resources. The library program is designed to foster a love of reading and to teach skills in locating and evaluating information. A primary focus is on providing appropriate and enticing materials for diverse reading interests and wide ranging reading abilities, so all students can find materials to support their learning and joy of reading. Lower school students are welcome to independently visit the library throughout the school day with their teacher’s permission.  In the first semester, Pre-K students visit the library twice during the six day class rotation. The second semester schedule includes one visit per rotation (the other class time is spent in art). Weekly library visits include:

  • Carefully selected literature designed to foster early literacy skills

  • Active listening and practice of early literacy skills during picture book reading

  • Interactive storytelling, fingerplays, and songs

  • Literature selections that reinforce classroom curriculum

  • Independently selecting books to borrow and responsibly return

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