Early Learners
Preschool & Pre-K

Early Learners Quick Facts (Ages 3, 4, 5)


3, 4, & 5

Must be 3 by August 1st of the academic year and potty trained

class size

Capped at 16

Three sections of mixed age groups with one full-time faculty and one part-time assistant

Class times

8:45 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Half day pick up available at 1:00 p.m.



Dress Code

Polo top with Summit logo & khaki/navy bottoms


Minimum of 30 minutes exploring outside each day




Yoga & Movement

Daily Spanish



The Independent School Association of the Central States (ISACS)

A Premier Early Childhood Education Experience

The Summit Preparatory School’s Early Learners program serves preschool children (ages 3, 4, 5) in Springfield, MO and the surrounding areas. Unlike traditional daycare settings, our private independent school program is dedicated to academic excellence in early childhood education. Through a progressive curriculum, we engage young learners in hands-on activities, encouraging observation, active participation, and decision-making. Our approach emphasizes the holistic development of each child, providing a solid educational and social-emotional foundation for kindergarten and beyond.

In our nurturing multi-age environment, children explore, wonder, play, and create, developing vital social skills and building confidence. The program promotes group collaboration, instilling a sense of belonging and shared enthusiasm for learning. Themes and thought-provoking questions guide children through language arts, social studies, and STEM concepts, facilitating language, cognitive, and physical development. As children delve into important concepts, they not only prepare for the next educational steps but also cultivate a love for learning that extends into our elementary program.

Frequently Asked Questions

Our multi-age early childhood program is designed for children ages 3 through 5.

Students must be at least 3 years old by August 1st of the academic year for which they are applying.

As a condition of enrollment, students in the Early Learners program must be fully potty trained by the first day of class.

We follow a progressive early childhood curriculum focusing on academic excellence, hands-on activities, and holistic child development. As a private independent school, our faculty have the freedom to cultivate a dynamic and engaging curriculum built on best practices and research-based evidence. 

Learn more about The Summit’s Early Learners curriculum.

Progressive education is an educational philosophy that emphasizes student-centered learning, critical thinking, and holistic development. It focuses on adapting teaching methods to each students’ needs, fostering creativity, and promoting social responsibility. Progressive education values experiential learning, collaboration, and active engagement, aiming to prepare students for a dynamic and evolving world.

Click here to learn more about progressive education at The Summit. 

Our preschool program is designed to build a solid foundation for your child’s education and social-emotional growth, setting the stage for a seamless transition to kindergarten and beyond. Our dedicated faculty nurture children through engaging hands-on activities focusing on Language and Literacy, Cognitive Development, the Development of Inquiry, Physical Development and Wellness, Affective Development (Social-Emotional), and Aesthetic Development (the Arts) to ensure a well-rounded and enriching experience for our students.

We maintain a low teacher-to-student ratio (8:1) to ensure individualized attention and a supportive learning environment. Each section is capped at sixteen students and employs one full-time lead teacher and one part-time assistant teacher. Students also receive specialized instruction from our Spanish, art, music, STEM, and yoga faculty.

Yes, we encourage parental involvement through regular updates on our classroom blogs, school events, classroom celebrations, and opportunities to participate in our parent organization.

Our daily schedule includes a balance of structured learning activities, playtime, meal and snack times, outdoor exploration, and rest to cater to the overall development of the child.

We offer schedule options to accommodate the diverse needs of families. Students may be picked up at 1:00 p.m. (half day), 3:30 p.m. (full day), or participate in our before and aftercare program. Before care is available on a drop-in basis from 7:30-8:30 a.m., and aftercare is available 3:30-5:30 p.m.

Ensuring the safety of our students is a top priority, and we have stringent safety protocols in place, including trained staff, secure facilities, and regular age-appropriate safety drills.

We regularly assess and communicate your child’s developmental milestones through varied assessments, progress reports, and parent-teacher conferences each trimester.

We offer varied optional extracurricular activities to complement the core curriculum and provide additional early childhood enrichment opportunities. Extracurricular activities for preschool have included soccer, ballet, sign language, book club, and more. 

Prospective families are encouraged to register for our Jr. Camp Raven summer program for students entering preschool through kindergarten. Led by enthusiastic instructors, our engaging camp sessions center around themes in art, music, movement, STEM, and more, providing a vibrant and enriching experience for our youngest learners. Click here for more information on Camp Raven.

Details regarding the admission process, criteria, and any required documentation can be found on our website here or by contacting our admissions office.

We are currently accepting admissions applications for the 2024-2025 academic year. Assessments are scheduled annually in February with enrollment contracts extended to new families in March. After space in a class is filled, families seeking to enroll will be placed in a waitpool and contacted as space becomes available. Please contact the admissions office for any questions related to The Summit’s admissions process.

Curriculum Overview

In Early Learners, important concepts and foundational skills in literacy, mathematics, science, and social studies are explored. This is accomplished through play, skillful small and whole group instruction, and thematic and emergent exploration. Learn more about each curricular domain below.

Language development is not only an important aspect of social development but is the foundation for all learning.  Students learn oral language first, which provides them with the foundation of sounds, words, sentences, and vocabulary they need to start developing phonological awareness. Students learn to communicate their ideas and feelings effectively and to accurately interpret the communications they receive. Three, four, and five year olds frequently initiate conversations but still need to practice basic rules of conversation. They are developing abilities to communicate their wants and needs, work successfully with peers in cooperative learning activities, present personal experiences before a group, and ask/answer related questions.

Early Learners are engaged in a language-rich environment that offers pre-reading and pre-writing activities to develop a strong literacy foundation. Important components of early childhood literacy development include learning concepts of print and book handling skills, the alphabetic principle, and sound-symbol correspondence. Through read-alouds, responses to literature, emergent writing, independent time with books, games and songs, students’ knowledge and use of reading and writing skills grow throughout the year.  Emergent writing is when children begin to understand that writing has meaning and their marks convey a message. Students practice fine motor skills, pencil grip, letter formation, and dictating stories as the foundation of writing. The use of music, conversational language, developmentally appropriate literature, games, and real-world applications help students find enjoyment in language and develop a lifelong appreciation for literature and love of reading.

The foundation of cognitive development addresses knowledge and skill competencies that are interwoven and developed together as children explore and experiment in the world around them.  Cognitive development represents an early understanding of mathematical reasoning and problem solving.  Focusing on mathematics, children explore number knowledge, patterns, size, and the relationship between objects and space. In this domain, children explore cause-and-effect relationships, spatial reasoning, problem solving, imitation, memory, number sense (rote counting, 1:1 correspondence, conservation of number, numeral recognition), classification, symbolic play, attention maintenance, and understanding of personal care routines. In early childhood, executive function skills include focusing on multiple streams of information, following directions, monitoring errors, and making and revising decisions.The acquisition of these skills enables children to plan and act in meaningful ways.

Through inquiry, children observe, explore, and experience the world around them. As natural investigators, children’s understanding and ability to discuss, debate, think critically, and solve problems deepens with varied experiences and time.  This includes offering topics of study that focus on child interest, social context, real-world situations, and current events connecting learning to authentic, engaging learning experiences.  Science exploration is rooted in investigation through the senses, hands-on activities and experiments, and place-based studies. Through social studies, children make sense of the social and physical environments around them.  Basic social understanding begins with self and family and then expands to early education through school and community as children meet new friends, learn to get along with others, share opinions, make decisions, contribute to a group, ask questions about social systems and societal norms, and learn values of human relationships through inclusive and caring communities.

Affective development informs every aspect of the teaching and learning processes.  Students work to develop social awareness and competence and emotional regulation through guided resolution and support from adults.  Play is a major vehicle for affective development as students learn skills including how to express themselves, identify emotions, navigate conflict, develop empathy, and exercise self-control. Classroom teachers work with students to model healthy responses to conflict in calm and peaceful ways. Students also learn about the school environment and how to conform to limits in play, identifying acceptable and unacceptable behavior. Sense of self and positive self-image are fostered as students learn about their important role in the classroom, community, and the world.

Students build an awareness of beauty and form through experiences with nature and the arts. Students engage with the arts through integrated exposures, hands-on application, and playful practice with each discipline including visual art, music, dance, and dramatic play. Basic elements of each discipline are explored and contribute to the rich environment and appreciation of beauty.  Each aesthetic discipline is used to enhance and explore other domains. Communication, connection, and culture are investigated through the arts and their ties to thematic and emergent curricular units.

Overall wellness is key to exploration and growth. This incorporates not only gross and fine motor physical development, but also mindfulness and beneficial health habits. Time outdoors, physical activity, and basic knowledge of the human body are key to encouraging positive mental health. In this domain, children explore foundational functions of the human body, how to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and how to navigate both physical and mental health awareness. Children will explore mindfulness activities that incorporate both body and mind regulation techniques that can be utilized in and out of the classroom. Through active learning and play, students will engage in activities that create meaning for personal growth.

In Early Learners, faculty carefully choose to implement technology when appropriate to enhance growth and development. When utilized, technology is integrated within a play-based and student-centered approach as part of an active, hands-on educational experience that supports student learning. Effective technology tools connect on-screen and off-screen activities with an emphasis on co-viewing and co-participation between teachers, students, and peers rather than passive content consumption.

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