Preparing Boys for Life


Pre-kindergarten boys are immersed in social and emotional learning through teacher-directed instruction as well as peer interactions throughout the day. Boys are taught to recognize and understand their emotions, and use communication tools to support to positive interactions. Here, Kimochis character, Cat, teaches the boys about forgiveness and making kind choices.

Curriculum Overview

The Haverford School's pre-kindergarten program is the gateway to a lifelong learning experience. Our curriculum employs an integrated, hands-on, thematic approach rooted in reading, writing, math, social studies, and social/emotional development, and includes "specials" in science, art, music, and physical education.

In these critical early years, we place a strong emphasis on building capable, independent, and self-directed learners. Through the use of small groups and a strong student-teacher ratio, we are able to differentiate each boy's work and adapt to his learning profile, abilities, and needs.

During a service learning project, pre-kindergarten students worked with their second grade buddies to pack dozens of bags of toiletries that were delivered to Girard Center in Philadelphia. 

Areas of Study


The pre-kindergarten program places an emphasis on auditory processing, visualization skills, and expressive language to create a strong foundation for future academic learning and social success. Boys learn how to listen, follow multi-step directions, self-regulate, and become contributing members of a classroom unit.

Boys explore the class library and develop a love for stories and reading. They learn how to discriminate sounds, identify letter names and letter sounds, begin phonetic reading, and progress toward fluency. Boys are immersed in a rich vocabulary environment and their inner writers emerge through weekly journaling.


Providing students with opportunities for real life problem solving and math skills such as subitizing, one-to-one correspondence, comparison, patterning, and graphing are an integral part of our math program. Boys are given opportunities to explore their mathematical knowledge through computational and conceptual projects and are assessed on their abilities, helping teachers to develop differentiated instruction and plans for further growth.

Social Studies

 Boys are exposed to a deep understanding and appreciation of themselves, each other, their school, and the greater community. They explore a variety of transportation methods while they tour different regions around the world, including South America, Africa, Europe, and Asia. 

We build our classroom community based on The Haverford School's core virtues in order to learn how to better serve the global society. Boys engage in service learning projects, including collecting items for Project HOME and preparing meals. We collaborate with other grade levels through the "buddy" program and other initiatives to promote a positive school-wide environment.


Boys learn how to:

  • Be curious and explore
  • Organize their thoughts to ask questions
  • Investigate topics in ways to learn more 
  • 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 use the scientific method to make discoveries in lessons that include the five senses; animals; the human body; matter; energy; the sun, Earth, and moon; seeds and plants; and weather.


Boys learn how to construct creations that reflect classroom studies through:

  • Drawing
  • Painting
  • Collaging

Cutting, gluing, and gripping are just some of the many fine motor skills practiced. The boys build these skills by creating masterpieces, including handcrafted games! In the classroom, boys learn about and practice the artistic style of a variety of artists throughout the school year.


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


Boys learn the fundamentals of musicianship:

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

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 pre-kindergarten physical education class reinforces:

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

Character & Citizenship

Working with their second grade buddies, pre-kindergarten students write “thinking of you” notes, participate in assemblies on topics of homelessness and poverty, collect clothing, food, books, and toiletries, and make boxed lunches which are delivered to Girard Center and the Life Centers of Delaware County.

Pre-kindergarteners study the city of Philadelphia, including its history, food, and famous figures. Field trips in this unit include the Philadelphia Pretzel Factory and the Please Touch Museum. The students also make their own Declaration of Independence and fly kites like Benjamin Franklin (pictured).

Each of my three sons, with distinctly different personalities, were nurtured and challenged from the start as pre-kindergarten students. Instilling the values of hard work, kindness, responsibility, and making good decisions at a time when the young brain is still ‘formatting’ yields capable young men who can achieve, give back, and be true to who they are. Dorothy, parent