Preschool & Junior Kindergarten in Omaha
Early Years: Preschool - Junior Kindergarten (Ages 3-5)
Brownell Talbot School’s preschool and junior kindergarten programs in Omaha, NE, are now combined to form our Early Years program. These educational child care programs are designed to let boys and girls ages 3-5 thrive in a safe, fun, and educational environment. Our experienced teachers interact with these little learners on an individual level, providing just the right amount of daily challenge for each child. Our Early Years classrooms are friendly and small, and form an integral part of our Lower School community. Our knowledgeable teachers combine both learning and play. Most of all, they help nurture each child’s inherent desire to learn.
A Whole Child Focus
From academic skills to social interaction, and emotional engagement to physical activity, our Early Years program provides a balanced curriculum, comparable to traditional Preschool and Pre-K at other leading institutions. Brain science tells us that the more parts of a child’s brain that we engage, the more likely the lessons are to be internalized and retained. Therefore, each day contains a great variety of lessons, games, and activities to develop well-rounded young boys and girls.
Beliefs and Philosophy
A Brownell Talbot education may begin as early as 3 years old and continue all the way through middle school and upper school graduation. Our students quickly become like a large extended family within our community, and so is our commitment to them.
While Early Years students grow through experiences in nature, play, and age-appropriate projects, our teachers rely on Developmentally Appropriate Practices (DAP) to guide the curriculum. Teachers strive to ensure that each child makes significant personal growth by utilizing best practices in teaching and learning. This includes an intentional approach to social-emotional development, providing a well-planned environment, and a strong home-to-school connection.
Features and Differentiators
- Lead teachers with masters degrees in early childhood education and/or reading.
- Teachers with extensive knowledge and classroom experience with 3-5 year-olds.
- Specialized teachers in music, art, science, PE, guidance, library, and French language.
- Commitment to meeting students where they are in all areas of development.
- Safe community environment of diverse cultures and backgrounds.
Extended Care: 7:00 am - 6:00 pm
For families requiring additional care to meet demanding schedules we are proud to offer a licensed extended care program to our Lower and Middle School students, including the Early Years program. This allows your little ones to be dropped off as early as 7:00 am and picked up as late as 6:00 pm. Furthermore, these programs help round out your son or daughter’s school day with additional fun and engaging activities outside of the day’s curriculum.
Nothing gives peace of mind to the parent of young boy or girl like constant communication. That is why we use SeeSaw. SeeSaw is an online portfolio that gives you a daily view into your child’s learning and progress.
More About Our Omaha Junior Kindergarten & Preschool Curriculum
Nature, Play, Projects, and More
Brownell Talbot students spend time daily in nature. Research suggests that time spent outdoors is positively correlated to improved mood, resilience to stress, increased cognitive function, and even self-regulation. Therefore our Omaha junior kindergarten and preschool programs all include one or more of these daily experiences:
- Nature classroom - Offers guided exploration and discovery of the natural environment.
- Playground - Provides free exploration combined with teacher guidance in and around nature.
- Memorial Park - Short walks among the park's historic trees and flowers enhance the natural experience.
- Certified naturalist - In addition to enhancing natural experiences with expert guidance, our certified naturalist also hosts Nature Nights. Twice a year families can interact in thematic, outdoor nature studies and activities.
Research has proven play to be essential to the development of children across social, cognitive, physical, and emotional domains. In Brownell Talbot’s Early Years program, play is integrated throughout the day in overlapping forms. These include social, object, pretend, physical, and media play. Play is offered during centers, recess, games, STEAM opportunities, and free exploration.
Most importantly, play allows our young learners to:
- Learn to regulate their behavior in social situations.
- Build a repertoire of creative and flexible problem-solving skills.
- Strengthen executive function and transition from big, physical play to more calming activities.
- Develop foundational skills in science, math, and comprehension.
Project work is the way in which our preschool and pre-k age students apply skills and concepts they learn to the world around them. These early investigation projects on real world topics provide a foundational structure for all future education. Topics for this age group include trash, recycling, butterfly life cycles, pets, and harvest. Whether in language arts, science, math, or music, projects help our youngest BT students to:
- Ask questions.
- Learn from experts.
- Participate in group/field work.
- Present ideas to others.
Teaching and Learning
Teaching and learning in our Early Years program is both intentional and individualized. It aligns with DAP (Developmentally Appropriate Practices) and skill acquisition. To meet the needs of all students, a variety of instructional structures are used. These include whole group, small group, or one-to-one. During teaching and learning opportunities, students move from one structure to another, often beginning as a whole group, then moving to small groups, and finally talking one-on-one with a teacher to review, reinforce, or extend on the topics and skills.
Another teaching and learning opportunity is Center Time. This is a time for students to play games or participate in a dramatic play center that aligns with or reinforces prior weekly topics and skills. Our Early Years faculty strives to create classroom spaces that are intentionally designed to contribute to teaching and learning experiences. Whenever possible, natural materials are used. All furnishings are age-appropriate, safe, and accessible by all. Student work is carefully and respectfully displayed to share and celebrate teaching and learning experiences within our community.
Social Emotional Development
At Brownell Talbot we begin fostering a positive emotional environment in preschool and build on a child’s social emotional development through grade 12. BT uses the RULER (Recognizing, Understanding, Labeling, Expressing, and Regulating) framework to teach students how to understand and regulate their own emotions and to consider and empathize with how others feel.
In Early Years, daily class meetings are held to foster community and relationship building. Teachers support student use of feeling words in a safe place and create community classroom charters. Class charters are collaborative documents in which students articulate the positive climate they envision. Mood meters are also used in classrooms as a tool for students to label their emotions and grow to be mindful about how emotions can change throughout the day. The school counselor visits classrooms weekly to support this framework with activities, stories, and lessons.
Fostering a Strong Home-to-School Connection
We believe that the best support of a child’s development in the classroom is a strong parent-teacher partnership. Therefore, parent involvement is encouraged, expected, and guided.
A child’s experiences, both in and outside of the classroom, shape his or her feelings of self-worth, his or her understanding of the world, and his or her place in it. Our Early Years faculty happily partners with families to encourage and support our students. Parents (typically as guest experts and readers) are welcome into the classrooms to share their time, culture, and expertise to enhance our students’ learning experiences and build relationships. Additionally, parent/teacher conferences, both standing and as needed, allow teachers to share students’ progress and goals. Most importantly, it closes the loop, providing parents the opportunity to share their insights, as well. After all, who knows a child better than their own parent or caregiver?
Finally, online tools like Seesaw are utilized to share lesson plans and announcements. Best of all, they showcase the learning your child is doing at our school. Our Early Years program intentionally creates an inviting atmosphere for families to be part of their child’s school experience.
Is BT Right for Your Little Learner? Schedule a Visit.
Finding the right child care or school in Omaha for your preschool or pre-k aged child can be a stressful task. We encourage prospective families to stop in for a visit to see our Early Years program in action. Our friendly admissions director is ready to answer all your questions, show you around, and let you decide for yourself. We take great pride in the care, attention, and education we give our littlest learners. After all, many families choose to make BT their home from preschool through upper school, so we know our little learners may well be tomorrow’s graduating class leaders. Please don’t hesitate to reach out. We look forward to meeting you and your son or daughter shortly.