Pre-First Program

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Post GCDS Preparation

Pre-First is a transitional year between Kindergarten and First Grade. The purpose of our Pre-First program is to give children developmentally young but academically advanced, another year to refine their social skills. This is the final year of schooling we provide at Glenwood Country Day, which is why we work to get kids ready for what comes next.

One of the most important goals of the pre-first program is that children feel a sense of accomplishment and self-worth. Classes are smaller and instruction is given more individually, developing confidence in each child’s ability is the heartbeat of this program.


Preparation for
First Grade

Social Skills
in Groups

Sense of

One of the greatest dignities of humankind is that each successive generation is invested in the welfare of each new generation.

Mr. Rogers

Social Studies
Language Arts

In Pre-First grade, students learn about their classmates and their school community. They learn about the earliest settlers in our country and their resourcefulness in meeting their wants. Pre-first graders learn about the goods and services available in local communities and develop a basic understanding of the people and events celebrated in national holiday. At the end of the year, they compare the lives of children living in Mexico and two other countries with their own.

In science, Pre-First graders continue to develop previously introduced skills and concepts through hands-on activities and simple laboratory experiences. The program focuses on the three major science disciplines and includes the following topics: Earth, the Moon, rocks and fossils, properties of matter, forces, organisms and habitats.

The Pre-First grade math program uses an exploratory, hands-on approach to help students reason mathematically, communicate mathematically, develop multiple problem solving strategies, and make mathematical connections. Computational practice is an integral part of instruction. The program builds on previous experience, offers repeated exposure to mathematical concepts, incorporates technology, and integrates math into ongoing daily routines across the curriculum with a special emphasis on Science and Social Studies.

Units in Pre-First focus on counting by ones, twos, fives, and tens forward and backward up to and beyond 100, identifying place value (ones, tens, and hundreds), determining fractions, adding and subtracting number facts to twenty and with tens from any number, identifying and writing number models for story problems, creating and graphing data, naming geometric figures, measuring in centimeters and inches, reading time in hours and minutes, determining number operations and values, identifying and counting coins (pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters), making money exchanges, and determining money equivalencies.

The Pre-First Grade language arts program integrates reading, writing, listening, thinking, speaking, and language skills with the goal of developing student’s fluency in reading and writing. The children are reading literature at a First Grade level.

Reading: The reading program in Pre-First is phonics-based and offers experiences rich in language and literature. Students continue to use sounds and spellings to create words. They also work on phonemic awareness and blending, and learn to recognize context clues and high frequency words. Students are taught to predict, interpret, and make connections between what’s being read and what’s already known to further enhance their skills as readers. Children enjoy a wide variety of reading materials including easy-to-read stories, folk and fairy tales, fables, fantasies, realistic fiction, expository text, plays, poetry.

Writing: Students use learned sounds and spellings in their own writing. They work on developing sentences with an emphasis on capitalization, punctuation, appropriate word usage, and proper sentence structure. Writing assignments include dictation, group stories, individual writing projects, and journal writing. Students are encouraged to proofread and self-correct.

Physical Education: The Pre-First physical education program continues to force on the improvement of fitness, coordination, listening skills, and cooperation through a sequential emphasis on the following areas: Advanced movement exploration activities centering on fine and gross-motor skills. Low-organizational games that encourage cooperation in game situations. Specific activities that target diverse skills such as throwing, catching, kicking, running, and so on. Noncompetitive individual and group activities. Fitness activities are incorporated into every class.

Music: The emphasis in Pre-First grade music is on listening to music, dancing, and moving to a variety of styles of music, and singing with the incorporation of chant, finger plays, sign language, and repetition. Rhythm activities use classroom instruments and cover various periods and expression of music.

Art: In art, Pre-First graders learn to recognize visual elements such as color, line, shape, pattern, and texture. Students explore these elements through the use of two and three-dimensional media.

  • Mrs. Poland, We really appreciate you taking the time yesterday on a holiday to meet Parker! Thank you again for the thoughtful transition. Susan
  • Mrs. Poland, The boys had a really good summer. You all did such a great job with selecting amazing camp counselors, coordinating everything, and just ensuring they all had a safe summer. Thank you, Mikella
  • Mrs. Poland, I got a phone call from Sam right after his assessment and he was all smiles and happiness. I couldn't be more relieved. What a complete 180 from getting him out the door to go. I could not be more grateful and relieved that it ended up being a positive experience for him. Thank you!!!! See you next week at the open house! :) Kristen
  • Hi Mrs. Poland, I just wanted to say thank you for a great summer. It was Mads' first time at Glenwood and he loved it! We look forward to returning next summer. Have a great year! Danielle
  • I read to these friends every Tuesday and they are the most polite, caring and attentive children for this age group that I have ever worked with. Jeannie
  • Love the place, they treat my kids like family. Nick
  • When Mrs. Poland gave me a tour of GCDS, I felt like she was the owner of the school. Her compassion shown through. Beth
  • Being a resident of Columbia, it was refreshing to place my child at Summer Adventures Camp. Lee
  • It was refreshing to have my child at Summer Adventures Camp on 40 wooded acres. Jonathan
  • Having a class size of only 6 is why my child goes to GCDS. Jennifer
  • I just want to thank you and the rest of your team for a great first day for Emma and Jack. They had a wonderful time and I just want to thank you for caring for them and keeping them safe in these trying times. Krystal
  • We want to thank you for your hard work in creating engaging lessons and meeting with students every day. As a teacher, I know how difficult it is to facilitate meaningful interaction with students in the current circumstances. Evelyn looks forward to circle time and loves watching your videos every day. Scott and Katherine
  • I've said it before to Mrs. Poland, but I'll say it kids LOVE camp. I asked Ollie all kinds of questions on Saturday about it and he was getting very excited about everything he was telling me. He loves lunch outside. He also told me this weekend that he hurt his leg, but it was ok, Mrs. Harp would clean it and make it better at camp. Vivian usually dreads the idea of swim lessons, but because of camp, she thinks maybe she could handle swim lessons, and when I ask her if there is anything she doesn't like at camp, she told me she likes everything! Thank you for all of your hard work! Katie
  • I can't believe we're already signing up for the last week :( We are all so sad to see camp ending after next week. The kids really enjoyed it - they loved the activities and their teachers. Thanks for putting on a great camp, especially considering the pandemic! Erin
  • Ms. Poland, Following up with you via email after our parent/teacher conference last night. We want to thank you and the entire staff at Glenwood Country Day School (GCDS) for enduring the risk of the current pandemic by providing in-person education to our daughter. This summer, she was a rising Kindergarten student with learning delays with her speech. The virtual experience of the Spring of 2020 turned her off from learning and we saw her regress. We made the decision to enroll her in GCDS's Kindergarten program in the Fall of 2020 and it was the best decision we ever made. Our little girl, who was struggling with learning and turned off from the concept of online school, is now flourishing. Every day she is excited to go to school and most importantly her learning and comprehension is on par with other Kindergarten students. The other night, she read a sight word book to us and the look of pure joy and satisfaction on her face was something we will never forget. We are tremendously grateful to you and the rest of the GCDS staff for helping our daughter find her confidence and desire to learn. With many thanks, Matt & Tess Wiley Matt and Tess
  • Thank you for an amazing school year- the kids had a blast and learned so much! You guys are really awesome! Kristen
  • Thank you GCDS! When all other schools were virtual or hybrid this year, you made the courageous decision to go fully in person 5 days a week! And we made it through a whole school year with no COVID closings! On behalf of all working parents, THANK YOU!!!!! Darren
  • Hi Mrs. Poland, I wanted to let you know we are going to get a head start on our traveling for the 4th of July weekend. So the boys will not be at camp on Friday. I want to thank you & everyone at the camp! The boys are having a BLAST and we will definitely be back next summer!!! Stay cool, Kelly
  • Thanks to you and your great staff for once again doing a great job keeping our kids engaged and safe. Darren
  • I'm glad that Mr. Dameon will be continuing at the school. Our daughter talks about him a lot and it's clear to us that she really enjoyed being around him. Kudos to you, Ms. Poland and Mrs. Stradling, for putting together a rockstar team. Adam and Nicole
  • Hi Mrs. Poland, My son had a great experience at Glenwood Country Day Camp this summer. It was his first summer at the camp and he didn't know anyone. After the first day, he felt very comfortable and met lots of friends. He enjoyed swimming, crafts, and field time. He can't wait to come back next summer and I'm looking forward to my youngest child being able to enjoy camp at Glenwood as well! Thank you! Kori
  • Just a quick note to let you know how much my son is enjoying camp this week. When I picked him up on Tuesday, I asked him how his day was and he replied that it "was the best day ever." I learned that his best buddy (also a camper) told his mom the same thing that afternoon! Yet, when I picked my son up yesterday and asked him the same question, he answered that his day "was even better than yesterday". You all must be doing something right to keep these 7 year old's so happy! Thanks and keep up the good work, Beth
  • Hi Mrs. Poland, We're all sad that the kids are missing their last day this summer at Glenwood. I wanted to thank you for everything this summer, specifically for your help in making sure Clark's camp experience ended on a good note. We hope you have a great rest of the summer and we hope to see you again next year. Thanks again! Kori
  • Madison ranked her teachers… Kindergarten= 9/10 First=9/10 I asked her what a 10 was and she said. Mr. Dameon! Kara