The play-oriented program at ESNS allows children to develop the skills and knowledge necessary to be successful in later schooling and in their daily lives.


We believe that learning is an interactive process that requires active thinking and experimenting. As educators, we set the stage for children to learn through child-initiated, child-directed, and teacher-supported activities. During activity time, children choose from several interest areas—including art, dramatic play, blocks, small manipulatives, and science—that allow them to explore and learn at their own rate of development.

Throughout the year you will hear us singing, talking, and playing as we explore different concepts. We may be cooking for our annual Harvest Feast—where the children prepare delicious food and invite their families to share it with us—or we may be observing our rotting pumpkin. We may be exploring different artists’ techniques, or we may be doing woodworking using simple tools. You will also find us experiencing the seasons and exploring our natural world through field trips to local farms in the fall and a wildlife preserve in the spring.

Curriculum & Goals

The program goals at ESNS are aligned with the guidelines of the National Association for the Education of Young Children and the Rhode Island Early Learning & Development Standards, which are guidelines that indicate what children should know and be able to do by the time they enter kindergarten. At ESNS we feel strongly about the following goals:

  • To get along with other children and function in a group setting
  • To relate to adults other than family members and feel comfortable about being away from home
  • To act independently and take responsibility for themselves
  • To develop a means of self-expression
  • To foster a strong, positive self-image
  • To try new physical feats, become more confident, and perfect motor coordination

Everything we do at ESNS is part of the curriculum and is designed to support these goals and the children’s development—including the way we arrange the classroom, our daily schedule, our learning areas, the materials available to the children, and how we display those materials.

A Typical Day

Here’s a glance at your child’s typical day at ESNS. To learn more, watch this short video. 

8:45-9:00 Greetings

The children arrive at school. Each child washes his or her hands as they enter the classroom. The children choose how they want to start their day: in the art area, at the play-dough table, or in the dress-up area; by exploring small manipulatives or investigating materials at the sand or science tables; by playing with Legos and trains; or by reading books in the quiet area. Parents are welcome to stay to help their child transition into the day.

9:10 Group Time

We gather together to start our day. During group time, we sing songs and talk about what is going on in the classroom that day. We share plans for the day’s cooking or art projects, we explore the science area, we introduce the helping parent, and we may even brainstorm how to deal with any issues in the classroom, because we can solve many problems as a group. Group time begins as a very short gathering time for the 3 year-olds, but then lengthens as the children grow developmentally. We remind the children that first and foremost, “the teachers are here to take very good care of you!”

9:30 Activity Time

With the words, “Think about where you want to play and have a great day,” the children move on to activity time. This is the time of day when the children choose among the many activity centers at ESNS. The teachers and helping parent encourage and support the children in this process. The children are playing, but through the careful design of our curriculum, they are also learning.

10:30 Clean-up Time

As a group, we all work together to put away our activities and clean up the classroom. Then we wash our hands for a snack.

10:40 Snack

The helping parent brings in a fresh fruit or vegetable snack to share with the group. The school supplies whole milk, water, pretzels, organic raisins, and O’s cereal as well.

10:55 Quiet Time

The children clear their snack place and then they go to look at books for a few minutes until the other children are done.

11:00 Book Time

Each day we read a book to the children.

11:15 Outside or Inside Play Time

We go outside to play every day unless it is bitter cold, rainy, or icy in our playground. On days we can’t go out, we transform our classroom into a great play space with a basketball hoop, a slide, a rocking boat, hopscotch, a balance beam, and other equipment that allows the children some gross motor playtime. This active playtime lasts until pick-up, starting at 11:45 until noon.

11:45-Noon Pick-Up

Pick-up starts at 11:45 and goes until noon.

Optional Extended Day Programs

  • Lunch Bunch – Available for both groups, children can stay at school to eat lunch until 1:00 p.m. Children bring their own lunches.
  • Extended Day Program – Available Mondays and Wednesdays for our MWF group, children may stay until 2:00 p.m.