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Our Program Curriculum

Chevy Chase Presbyterian Church Nursery School offers a program centered on a Learning Through Play early education curriculum based on the nationally recognized Creative Curriculum.  Each Lead Teacher carefully develops lesson plans to help every child become an enthusiastic learner.  We believe this philosophy provides the strongest possible foundation for future academic success.  Our goal is to guide children and allow them to learn at their own pace and in ways that are age appropriate.  A variety of methods and materials encourage exploration and creativity for young children within thoughtful learning through play activities.  The curriculum is not set up as formal isolated subjects, but as in-depth experiences which lay foundations for future learning.

Beginning concepts are acquired through:


Language and Literacy

Developing complex language as a way to develop relationships, make connections, express feelings, and initiate play is a cornerstone for successful communication. Children join in singing finger plays, and stories, learning to communicate ideas, negotiate conflict and plan/initiate activities.  They also acquire new vocabulary and begin to use more complex sentence structures and develop listening and comprehension skills to follow instructions and respond to questions. Learning to advocate clearly one’s needs and wants is an important skill built at CCPC.  

Community and Our World

Being part of a classroom gives children their first sense of community outside the home.  This begins as children form relationships with teachers and peers and participate in decision-making in the classroom, and grows to include community beyond the school into the neighborhood and their greater world. The youngest learners in our Hillside Panda Program are in the early stages of language and self-direction development. They are also developing the ability to separate from their primary caregivers. In this two-day-per-week care program, we provide a nurturing team of dedicated teachers to help these children feel comfortable in a classroom environment. The child’s world is enlarged as they learn to interact with additional caregivers and children in an intentional, child-centered space with developmentally appropriate materials, inside and outside.

Skills are acquired through working in small groups on activities such as building with blocks, learning to take turns, and practicing leading and following.  Mastering various jobs such as passing out cups/napkins at family-style snacks, opening doors, turning off  classroom lights and other tasks as directed by a teacher all build self-reliance and confidence.  Collaboration is modeled and encouraged throughout the day to help children successfully accomplish numerous different tasks.  Lifelong skills of empathy and resiliency are fostered in this part of our curricular setting.

STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics)

Science exploration promotes appreciation of the world around us.  Children observe and react to the changing seasons, make hands-on observations of plant, animal and insect life cycles, are introduced to concepts of space and the solar system, are involved with classroom pets and their care, and perform experiments with water, magnets, and weights.  Hand strengthening activities are emphasized through a wide variety of experiments and sensory activities, and help develop and build  fine motor skills.  Creative art activities are designed to explore a wide variety of materials and mediums including paints of all kinds, scissors, pencils, chalk, crayons, collage, play dough, sand, water, glue, and glitter to develop creativity and self-expression, as well as fine motor skills.

Development of number concepts such as one-to-one correspondence, classification of size, shapes, and weights through use of blocks, stickers, graphs, songs, and sorting lay a foundation for elementary mathematics.  CCPC Nursery School does not use computers or televisions in the classroom.

Interest Centers

Our classrooms each are designed with numerous distinct interest centers as prescribed by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).  These environments offers ample and varied experiences for social and emotional learning such as persisting, sharing, cooperative play, developing self-esteem and resiliency, and successful problem solving.  Developing fine motor skills, collaborating and inspiring imaginative play are also core components of the classroom environment.  

Music and Movement

Singing, rhythmic activities, listening, playing rhythm instruments, and exposure to a wide variety of music is often combined with dancing and marching to incorporate gross motor activity.

Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning (SEFEL)

Developing skills around persistence, resiliency, and empathy foster successful interactions with peers and feeling of success when problem-solving and managing conflicts.

Self-Care Skills/Health and Safety

We work with each individual child to help them acquire and practice desirable attitudes and habits including important self-help skills such as hand washing, eating and drinking safely, buttoning, zipping, dressing, putting on and off shoes and boots, and toileting.   Gaining independence builds confidence. 

Our values are woven into our curriculum with beautiful results

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