Preparing Boys for Life


Philadelphia full day kindergarten The Haverford School

Our full-day kindergarten experience is rooted in a strong academic program through which boys gain a foundation in math and literacy. Building on this underpinning of problem solving, critical thinking, and reading and writing, boys spend time each week with specialists in science, art, music (including violin lessons), and physical education. Class trips to the post office and a local orchard support boys' understanding of their community. A visit to Shofuso Japanese Garden enhances the boys' study of cultures and symbols.

Shofuso Japanese house

Kindergarten boys visit Shofuso Japanese House and Garden as part of their study of Japan.



Our reading curriculum supports differentiated learning for each boy. Through multiple instructional techniques, such as guided reading, teachers are able to meet the individual needs of each boy, whether targeting a fluent reader's comprehension or building decoding strategies for emergent readers. Through daily read-alouds, students are exposed to multiple genres, which develop deeper literary skills and nurture a love of reading.


Through Writer’s Workshop, the boys are exposed to three genres of writing: personal narrative, informational and persuasive. Boys practice writing daily, including proper letter formation, with the goal of being able to construct sentences independently. As writing skills progress, boys are taught to edit their own writing by using a sentence structure checklist. These strategies help build the foundations of writing that will be used throughout their years at Haverford.


Math is explored on a daily basis using the Everyday Math program. Using a hands-on approach, the boys begin to experience mathematical concepts as they appear in the surrounding world. Similar to our guided reading approach, small group work allows teachers to vary math instruction, targeting the needs of each boy. Through this language-enriched math program, boys make connections between different mathematical theories, explain their reasoning, and stretch their thinking to develop strategies that solve a range of concepts.

Social Studies

Knowing most boys enter kindergarten still finding their sense of independence, it is our mission to teach life skills that will cultivate confidence and self-advocacy within each boy. Through our Social Studies curriculum, global awareness is taught starting with the classroom in accordance with our Character and Citizenship model, moving next to the Haverford School community, our local community, our country, and our world. By exploring these communities and examining similarities and differences, the boys are able to see the world from different perspectives.


Technology is used to enhance our academic curriculum. Games are played through the use of technology, such as iPads and interactive Smartboards. Through avenues such as Google Maps and Nearpod, boys are able to take a virtual “tour” of the White House and explore Mount Rushmore. 


In kindergarten science, boys learn how to:

  • Be curious and explore
  • Organize their thoughts to ask a questions
  • Investigate topics in ways to learn more about it
  • Follow lab procedures
  • Have fun while pursuing inquiry
  • Cooperate and collaborate with their peers
The five senses are a successful conduit for delivering information to boys. Our sensory-based lessons give boys experience with using lab equipment to measure and perform experiments. Boys study models and the scientific method, making discoveries in lessons that include the five senses; animals; the human body; matter; energy; the sun, Earth, and moon; seeds and plants; and weather.


In kindergarten art, boys learn how to construct creations that reflect classroom studies through:

  • Drawing
  • Painting
  • Sculpting
  • Collaging

Our program focuses on nourishing a love for creating while focusing on fine motor skills used in tasks such as cutting, gluing, and gripping. Perhaps the highlight of the year is slathering paste on colored paper to coat a life-sized monster, a Haverford tradition that involves the entire Lower School. Art lessons include basic color theory, shape recognition, and texture and size relationship. The boys are inspired by the work of various artists like Faith Ringold, Paul Klee, and Wassily Kandinsky. There is a conscious balance between following directions and nurturing individual expression.


Favorite characters come to life in the Lower School library, where our boys develop a love of reading. While listening and responding to stories, the boys practice a number of important skills, including:

  • How to ask a question
  • How to think about their reading preferences
  • How to locate books within the library


In kindergarten music, boys learn the fundamentals of musicianship:

  • Understanding a steady beat
  • Playing and reading rhythm patterns
  • Developing a clear pitch and proper singing voice

Each student is given the opportunity to learn the basics playing the violin, helping to stimulate parts of the brain responsible for reading and writing. Boys are actively engaged throughout the music lessons through singing, listening, moving creatively, and playing musical instruments.

Physical Education

Physical education arms the boys with healthy lifestyle habits and develops a positive attitude toward being active. The kindergarten physical education class reinforces:

  • Spatial awareness
  • Hand and body coordination
  • Healthy sportsmanship
  • Cooperation and a sense of fair play

Character and Citizenship

Kindergarten is a pivotal year for boys to develop both socially and emotionally. The boys spend the beginning of the year learning the core virtues of the Haverford community. They participate in the Kimochi program, which teaches the boys how to identify and appropriately express their feelings. Through role play, pictures books, and class discussions, developing respect and empathy takes center stage in the classroom.
As the year progresses, the boys participate in an Earth Day design thinking project aimed to build personal responsibility for both maintaining and improving the world around them. During the holiday season, the boys write cards to staff members who work hard to support them throughout the school year.

kindergarten boys working on reading exercise

Literacy centers provide an opportunity for the boys to participate in games and activities that reinforce skills and expand their knowledge. Centers also allow teachers to target learning to each boy's needs.

There are so many good private schools in our area but for us, one of the things that makes Haverford a standout is its knowledge and understanding of how boys learn. The teachers are skilled, committed, and nurturing in how they teach each boy. Haverford is providing so much more than academic excellence for our son; it is teaching our son the importance of community. Every day, the teachers show the boys how to boost each other up and care for one another. There is a true spirit of brotherhood across the entire school. Lisa and Ned, parents