Early Childhood: Preschool, Prekindergarten and Kindergarten

Early childhood students are by their very nature creative beings. We nurture your child’s creativity at every turn, fostering a love of learning and the joy of discovery.

Research has proven again and again that children in the early developmental stages of growth learn best when given the time and space to explore and play. Purposeful play helps children learn how to make decisions and choices. When your child spends time engaged in activities that he or she cares about, confidence and curiosity flourish.

Our Approach

Hawken’s Early Childhood program allows your child to experience the joys of childhood while developing foundational knowledge, creative and critical thinking skills, citizenship, and the habits of mind to support lifelong learning.

Our approach to learning is tailored to the developmental needs and readiness of students in each level. In early childhood classrooms, the learning experience focuses on five domains of learning: social emotional, approaches to learning, language and literacy, cognitive, and physical. These domains encompass the core academic discipline, addressing each subject area from a developmental perspective, because each child progress at varying rates within each discipline.

The Learning Environment

Hawken teachers focus on creating a physically and emotionally safe environment that sets the tone for the development of your child’s innate curiosity and nurtures confident, positive attitudes toward school. Emphasizing a student-centered approach, teachers tend to each child as he or she makes discoveries and observations about our world.

Your child’s connection to the Hawken classroom and the school is reinforced in everything we do. Through reassuring routines that include greeting each child by name every day during morning meeting and a hug or handshake from the teacher at the end of the day, your child will quickly come to understand that he or she is part of a warm, accepting community. Your child will also learn about expectations of individual responsibility, respectful language, and an appreciation for differences.

The sense of empowerment and pride instilled through this feeling of belonging will inspire in your child the confidence and desire to make a difference in his or her classroom and beyond.

Click here to learn more about our Early Childhood learning spaces.

Early Childhood Program Options

Center Impresses Experts

Hawken opened the doors to a stunning early childhood center in August 2011, with a celebration that included a keynote address from renowned education expert Dr. T. Berry Brazelton, Professor of Pediatrics Emeritus Harvard Medical School and founder of the Brazelton Touchpoints Center at Children’s Hospital Boston.
The revered Dr. Brazelton was visibly impressed with the new building and with what Hawken is doing for its youngest learners saying: "It's a real inspiration. I’ve seen a lot of early childhood spaces and this is the most beautiful and child centered space I’ve ever seen.”

Click here to learn more about Hawken's Early Childhood Center.

Early Childhood Domains

The Early Childhood program at Hawken School focuses on five domains of development: Social-Emotional, Approaches to Learning, Cognitive, Language and Literacy. These domains encompass the core academic disciplines, addressing each subject area from a developmental perspective, because each child progresses at varying rates within each discipline. The specific academic skills addressed at each level are outlined on the curriculum skills grid.

Social-Emotional Domain

The Social-Emotional Domain addresses the development of social skills and emotional competence, one of the most important goals in early childhood education. Children need these skills in order to achieve academically and to maintain relationships within the community of the school and throughout life. As students progress through the continuum, they develop social skills that provide the foundation for forming lasting relationships that are essential to emotional health, which encompasses the development of personal identity, self-esteem, expression and control of emotions, management of frustration, and perseverance.

Approaches to Learning Domain

The Approaches to Learning Domain describes the ways in which children move toward, interact, and reflect upon life experiences. The skills and attitudes children bring to their early school environment have a major impact on the approach they take when “learning how to learn” and can be developed by a learning environment that nurtures initiative, engagement, persistence, curiosity, reasoning, problem solving, invention and imagination.

Language and Literacy Domain

The Language and Literacy Domain addresses the skills of listening, speaking and writing. Language skills provide the foundation for a wide range of abilities that will be used in both social and academic situations throughout life. This acquisition is a natural yet complex process, and its ultimate goal is effective communication skills and literacy; and the use of language to convey meaning through reading and writing. Competency continues to develop throughout the early school years as formal reading and writing instruction takes place in the classroom.

Cognitive Domain

The Cognitive Domain addresses the acquisition, storage, and retrieval of information. The Cognitive Domain encompasses math, science, and social studies. Key characteristics of the cognitive domain are knowledge of physical properties, knowledge about relationships and knowledge of cultural conventions; the primary cognitive processes are attention, memory, trial and error, cause and effect, reasons and problem solving, and prediction and estimation.

Physical Domain

Physical Development is a significant aspect of growth in the early childhood years and provides avenues for the way in which children explore their surroundings. This domain includes small and large motor competence as well as sensory awareness.
An independent, coeducational, college preparatory day school, toddler through grade 12

Early Childhood, Lower, and Middle Schools, 5000 Clubside Rd, Lyndhurst, OH 44124
Birchwood School of Hawken, 4400 West 140th Street, Cleveland, OH 44135 

Upper School, PO Box 8002 (12465 County Line Rd), Gates Mills, OH 44040
Mastery School of Hawken, 11025 Magnolia Dr, Cleveland, OH 44106

Gries Center, 10823 Magnolia Dr, Cleveland, OH 44106

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