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Kindergarten at Peck

Naturally progressing from Kindergarten through fourth grade, our Lower School curriculum begins with a warm and nurturing environment that lays the foundation for an exceptional educational experience. We embrace each child individually, nurturing a zest for learning, a willingness to take risks, and instilling a curiosity about the world. We help the children to become collaborative learners, effective problem solvers and decision-makers.

The Peck School Difference

List of 6 items.

  • The Value of Our K-8 Continuum

    Because Kindergarten is the beginning of The Peck School experience and we are a K to 8 school, there are ample opportunities to attend all school events, celebrations, and festivals. Our Kindergarten students are an integral part of the whole school community. Our Kindergarten students regularly join the rest of the school for all school assemblies and performances. This integration into a larger K to 8th grade continuum sets the tone for later public speaking and leadership opportunities.
  • The Power of “Guided Math”

    Not every student acquires math and reading skills at the same pace. For this reason, our teachers set aside valuable time to work in these subject areas with students making progress at their own individual level. Similar to guided reading, guided math is a powerful tool that allows children to develop mathematical proficiency in a small group setting while consistently increasing their level of proficiency. Our teachers facilitate the instruction with hands-on techniques, intensive conversation and questioning, and graduating levels of difficulty.
  • The Power of “Guided Reading”

    Guided reading is a powerful method for teaching reading strategies to students at varying reading levels. Our faculty members work with small student groups who read at similar levels. Students are given texts that are accessible and enjoyable while at the same time serve to raise the comprehension bar so they investigate new words, deal with unfamiliar sentence structure, and encounter new concepts in print.
  • A Kindergarten Connected to a Community

    Our stand-alone Kindergarten is a safe haven for academic beginnings at Peck. Having the whole school right next door, however, means Kindergarten students have access to a whole range of resources that could only happen in a K to 8 school. Each week they take special classes in the school's library, design lab, art studios, language lab, music studio, and sports facilities. This is just one more way Peck Kindergarten students are integrated into a wider, caring community.
  • A Space to Problem Solve and Invent

    Our Kindergarten Makerspace teacher is an energetic advocate for introducing design thinking, student-centered teaching, and STEM concepts to early education. These practices encourage students to think for themselves and solve their own problems. Even our youngest learners can benefit from the principles of these thoughtful investigative processes.
  • Unique Performance and Public Speaking Opportunities

    Throughout the year, Kindergarten students are also invited to various all school assemblies where they are given the opportunity to read or perform for the entire community. Twice a year - at the Holiday Concert and Kindergarten graduation - our youngest students have the opportunity to demonstrate their budding confidence and leadership skills to an audience of parents, teachers and older students. 

Curriculum Overview

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  • Kindergarten

    The Kindergarten is full of energy, wonder, and excitement.  Students are invited to explore, to take risks, and to share in a love of learning.  We focus on supporting the whole child and nurture each individual’s emotional, cognitive, physical, and social growth in a warm, structured, engaging, and joyful environment.  Peck’s core values (respect, responsibility, care, gratitude, and courage) are infused throughout the day, as Kindergarteners learn how to be good friends and to model consideration of others.


    At the center of our work is a commitment to nurturing a lifelong love of reading.  In Kindergarten, students are exposed to a print-rich environment that provides abundant opportunities for young learners to engage with the written word.  The Orton Gillingham phonics-based curriculum, in which sound-symbol relationships are introduced and reinforced, is taught through various multi-sensory activities.  The phonics program focuses on short vowel sounds and sight words.  Long vowels are introduced using “silent e.”  Students join flexible and differentiated reading groups, exploring a wide variety of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.   Small guided reading groups give us the opportunity and flexibility to provide personal enrichment for each child and to develop comprehension skills.  This balanced reading approach fosters growth at an individual pace.


    Developing fine motor skills is an essential part of the Kindergarten program.  The D'Nealian handwriting program and Orton Gillingham program are used to help students develop their letter formation, laying the groundwork for cursive penmanship in Second Grade.  Many opportunities are provided for kindergarteners to express themselves through writing. Students write in journals and complete writing activities/tasks related to various units of study.  Students practice and reinforce their fine motor skills through a variety of multisensory activities.


    Kindergarten math is taught for 45 minutes every day.  Concepts are introduced, reinforced, and enriched through concrete, pictorial, and abstract thinking. Students focus on building number sense, decomposing numbers, and problem-solving throughout the year. These concepts enable students to learn through hands-on activities, cooperation, and collaboration.  Small guided group instruction allows teachers to meet individual needs and differentiate lessons.  Weekly homework portfolios encourage family participation and challenge students with authentic tasks and activities.


    Students in Kindergarten enjoy a combined class that engages them in science, design, and technology. This co-taught class focuses on hands-on explorations of the world and introduces technology skills and digital tools which allow students to demonstrate their understanding of science ideas. Kindergarten students engage the natural world through a sequence of hands-on activities exploring the what, how, and why of nature. Principles of design provide an opportunity for students to develop problem-solving skills, to think creatively, and to learn from mistakes. Students learn to use technology to become empowered learners, responsible digital citizens, innovative designers, knowledge constructors, creative communicators, computational thinkers, and global collaborators. 


    The social studies program exposes students to the natural world and to cultures from around the globe. Family projects and presentations encourage students to share their culture, family makeup, and customs to foster a true sense of belonging within our classroom. Family members are also invited to join the class as readers. Students learn from each other about the origin of their name, their cultural foods, holidays, and celebrations. Family flags are generated to act as a springboard for these discussions at the start of the year.  In this way, students explore the similarities and differences that make up our vibrant school community.  Seasonal interdisciplinary units are also taught throughout the year. Two in-depth units focus on the penguins of the world and discovering the beauty of the Central American rainforest. The Scholastic magazine, Let’s Find Out, is shared weekly to expose students to non-fiction articles related to their studies.


    Kindergarten Spanish provides a robust learning experience at a time when young minds are particularly geared toward language acquisition.  Classes meet three times per week, including a special program called Vamos a Comer, where students practice using conversational Spanish during lunch.  With engaging stories, songs, games, and repetition of expressions and vocabulary, the Kindergarten curriculum offers a compelling and fun language environment that helps develop confidence in all students.  By the end of the school year, all basic directions are given in Spanish, and students are expected to respond in kind. The cultural aspects of the Spanish program are also woven into the curriculum, as every lower school student “travels” to three different Spanish-speaking countries during the course of the year, immersing themselves in the nuances, richness, and wonders of different cultures. 
    Note: For native and heritage Spanish speakers, small group instruction during class time teaches grammar, reading, and writing skills at the appropriate level with an additional teacher. 


    Kindergarten students are introduced to the basic elements of art in conjunction with notable artists. The development of fine motor skills is continually stressed as each child begins to learn the language of art and how it applies to the creative process. Overlap, use of a horizon line, simple perspective, composition, and color theory are introduced.


    Kindergarten students musically express themselves through singing, dancing, creating, playing instruments, and performing. The primary goal of the kindergarten music program is to enable each child to fully realize their innate musical instincts, articulated as: tuneful (to sing with expression), 'beat-ful’ (to feel the beat), and artful (to respond to the expressiveness in music). 


    Children in Kindergarten develop basic motor and spatial skills, as well as sport-specific skills and strategies.  Students learn through a verbal and visual introduction, followed by small and large group activities and games.  Learning good sportsmanship, playing fairly, and developing good character traits are major components of the program. 


    Kindergarten students visit the library once a week. They learn to understand the basic role of the library, how to locate and select books, and the excitement of choosing something to read.  Students also experience the responsibility of borrowing, taking care of, and returning a library book.  Students are introduced to the role of authors and illustrators in the creation of books and complete an in-depth look at Caldecott-winning books.

360 Degree Tour

Read The Fall/Winter 2023 Magazine on the Kindergarten Program

Frequently Asked Questions

List of 7 items.

  • What can I do to prepare my child for Kindergarten at Peck?

    Express Summer Program
    Incoming Kindergarten students can join us in the summer for a fun week or two of multi-sensory themed days. You will be able to meet Peck teachers and staff, take a tour of the campus, and become very familiar with the Kindergarten building. Throughout the weeks, you will be able to make new friends, talk like a pirate, search for bugs on campus, be a superhero for a day, cook like a chef, and weather permitting, enjoy a water play day.
    Pre-K Summer Adventure
    For incoming Kindergartners who like to create, build, imagine, explore, and make new friends. Whether you’re digging in the garden, creating a masterpiece, or designing & building your own invention, you’re sure to enjoy this week-long camp. Children experience Peck’s warm and caring environment while building on necessary social and emotional skills.
  • What specialists work alongside the kindergarten faculty?

    Weekly Math Specialist
    The Math Specialist works with teachers on a weekly basis to plan student-centered, hands on lessons and activities. Through guided math practice and individualized plans that are implemented with students in small groups according to their own skill level, all Kindergartners are able to build their number sense and experience concepts moving from concrete to pictorial to abstract.
    Daily Reading Specialist
    Every day, our Lower School Reading Specialist visits for an hour to hold small group reading sessions. This allows our faculty to assess individual needs and to work uniquely with each student to cultivate a life long love of reading.
    Dedicated Technology Integrator
    Technology is simply another tool in the process of discovery. How that technology is integrated into the process of teaching and learning, and the context within which it is used is paramount. That's why our Kindergarten faculty and students need the daily guidance of our Lower School Technology Integrator.
    School Nurse
    The advantage of a K to 8 program is that our Kindergartners have access to a wide range of whole school resources. With a full-time on-site nurse and infirmary, Kindergarten parents can rest assured their children will receive the best care should a playground scrape or upset stomach interrupt their day.
    School Psychologist
    While in Kindergarten, but especially as they move up in lower and upper school, our School Psychologist is available to ensure their social and emotional well being. The School Psychologist is also available to parents and provides instructional sessions throughout the year on parenting issues ranging from digital citizenship to the power of empathy.
  • My preschool has a Kindergarten. Why switch to Peck?

    Access to a wider community and greater resources
    In addition to the overwhelming value of the K to 8 continuum, The Peck School Kindergarten has access to a tremendous set of resources due to its attachment to a larger school. With eight grade levels of older friends and role models to serve as examples, Kindergarten is really the place where the seeds of growth are planted. By the time our Kindergarten students transition up in Lower School, they are well prepared and established members of a caring community.
    8th grade greeters
    Every morning, our 8th Grade greeters join the Kindergarten faculty to help Kindergarten students out of their cars. Our greeters then play games, read stories and entertain our Kindergarten students until their official school day begins.
    Cross grade level field trips
    One way to ensure our youngest students are known and get to know others is to coordinate field trips across grade levels - like an upcoming trip to see the play Charlotte's Web with the third grade.
    First grade orientation
    Before they graduate from Kindergarten, we make sure our youngest ones are prepared for the transition to the larger lower school and dining hall. With occassional lunch sessions with grades 1 to 4, and a formal Grade 1 orientation in May, our students are ready and eager to move up.
  • How will my whole family be engaged?

    Sharing of culture and values
    Our Kindergarten curriculum has the flexibility to adapt to the unique experiences and backgrounds of our families each year. Parents have been invited to share what they learned on an Antarctic adventure, explain the customs of an Armenian Christmas, illustrate the rituals of Diwali, or share what takes place on a Chinese New Year. Our faculty members are proactive in getting to know individual parents and looking for interesting opportunities to engage them in the daily program.
    Family Math Portfolios
    Students are divided into groups and given authentic math tasks to work on with their families each week. This is a great way to engage the whole family in a student's individual progress. Students then build and present their math portfolios to their peers.
    Mystery Readers
    Twice a week, the students are joined by a surprise visitor who reads to them as a group. Readers can be older students, siblings, faculty members, and often their own parents. The purpose of the mystery reader program is to gradually ensure our kindergarten students are familiar with older members of our school community as well as members of their classmates families.
    Rainforest Day
    After learning about the Amazon and rainforest wildlife and ecology, our students are joined by their fathers or special friend for Rainforest in the K Day. This exciting morning is hosted by Danny Mendez, a Professional Zoologist with a rich background in the herpetological world. Danny is well-known for his knowledge on reptiles & amphibians and he brings more than a few to meet our enthralled students. There is nothing like first-hand experience!
  • Does Peck offer enrichment and community service?

    The PEP Program
    PEP (Peck Afterschool Enrichment Program) is a series of 8-week long enrichment classes occurring from 3:00 - 4:00 pm. Get your groove on with members of the 1st grade class in "Let's Dance," or learn what makes weather wet and wild with our Lower School Science Teacher, who happens to be a former meteorologist. These are just some of the many offerrings.
    Community Service
    To introduce students to Peck's emphasis on character education, students undertake community service projects. Projects have included activities such as baking dog biscuits and making catnip toys and donating them on a field trip to St. Hubert's Animal Welfare Center.
    Full Immersion Spanish Lunch
    Because it's never too early to become proficient in a second language, Kindergarten students have weekly sessions with the Lower School Spanisn Teacher who joins them for a full-immersion Spanish lunch period. This introduction to Spanish prepares them for regular Spanish instruction throughout their remaining Lower School years.
    Pajama Drive
    Community service is highly valued at The Peck School. The Pajama Drive is an excellent opportunity to introduce our Kindergarten students to "consideration of others" while tying into a unit of instruction on animals and hibernation. While students learn how animals sleep, they are asked to collect PJ's for children in the hospital and families in need. Then they are joined by their 4th grade buddies for PJ Day in the K.
    "AWESOME" Enrichment
    This special multi-sensory, multi-media unit blends Art, Writing, Enrichment, Science, Organization, Math, and Excitement (AWESOME). It is a special opportunity for our Kindergarten Associate Teacher to interact with individual classes every day, and the whole kindergarten once a week.
    How much money can a bank hold? Why don't we drink seawater? Every Wednesday we choose a thought provoking question from the website Wonderopolis to discuss as a group. There are no wrong answers and students are encouraged to open their minds to wonder and inquiry.
  • What technology resources are available?

    The Peck Kindergarten is well-equiped with iPads and other educational technology. With daily access to the Lower School Technology Integrator, as well as access to the Lower School Computer Lab, our Kindergarten students can begin their education as "digital natives" and begin to learn the unique responsibilities that come with that title
  • Does Peck offer early drop off and late pick up?

    We recognize that parents must juggle the demands of work and family. That's why we arrange for our Kindergarten faculty to be joined by 8th grade buddies each and every morning. Parents can drop off children as early as 7:30 a.m. and know they have a companion and role-model until the start of school. Aftercare is also available until 5:30 p.m. so that students can remain on campus for music lessons or facilitate a later pickup.

Keep up with Life at Peck!

Every day at Peck brings a new adventure, and we're excited to share all of the every-day-but-truly-fantastic moments that happen on our campus!  Check out our Instagram feed below, and be sure to watch our "Day in the Life" Insta Stories for a glimpse into student life!



247 South Street  |  Morristown, NJ  07960
Northern New Jersey's timeless and transformative co-ed independent elementary and middle school education for grades K-8.