Norwood's pre-kindergarten curriculum emphasizes creative expression, character and values education, social and emotional learning, hands-on experiences, and communication skills in a joyful, nurturing, supportive, and loving community – all while developing the foundational skills needed for success in kindergarten and beyond. Play-based learning, both free and guided, is a critical component of the program. The pre-kindergarten day is filled with opportunities for students to apply and extend developing skills. They explore numbers and letters through pictures, stories, and hands-on projects. In science, they begin to question, observe, and explore the world around them through the study of dinosaurs, physical science, and the environment. In Spanish, they explore the world they know through the lens of a new language, learning vocabulary words and incorporating them into classroom routines. Art, music, and library classes inspire pre-kindergartners to express themselves in creative ways. Indoor and outdoor explorations engage all the senses; they involve water and dirt and paint and clay and plants. The child-centered program encourages curiosity, imagination, inquisitiveness, and new ways of looking at things – and what it means to be a responsible and contributing member of a community. They learn to respect others because others respect them. 

Please note: Pre-K students must be fully potty-trained by the start of school. 

List of 10 items.

  • Emergent Literacy

    The pre-kindergarten program exposes students to many pre-reading skills. Using engaging and multi-sensory strategies, teachers lead students in learning letter sounds and names. The children enjoy using this knowledge to associate words with particular sounds and letters. Through songs, pictures, body motions, and read-alouds, the students learn to explore books independently and with their classmates. Working one-on-one, teachers assess students' pre-reading skills and select activities that will help them grow as a reader. This exploration helps children develop their phonemic awareness and love of books.
  • Emergent Numeracy

    Pre-kindergarten students build their number sense by comparing amounts of items and learning the corresponding numbers for those groups. By using both small and large manipulatives such as blocks, marbles, pebbles, and cubes, the students compare differing amounts and use descriptive words for them such as ‘greater’, ‘less’, and ‘equal.’ The curriculum emphasizes conceptual knowledge in addition to rote numeracy; students develop a knowledge of math concepts by using numbers to understand their world. Using formative assessments, teachers work with students individually and in small groups to support their growth in order to foster a love of math.

    The social studies curriculum in pre-kindergarten focuses on learning how to be responsible members of the classroom community. The students learn to respect their teachers and classmates. The children also engage in discussions about what makes them special and unique and what attributes they share in common with their classmates. The teachers emphasize the importance of community through Norwood's Value of the Month Program, field trips, interactive lessons, and projects.

    Pre-kindergartners approach science class by immersing themselves in the scientific process. Children investigate units such as physics, bubbles, and the environment in order to develop skills fundamental to scientific inquiry. In physics, students learn how to observe data in order to make conclusions about falling objects and gravity. Children will also work in the school garden, observing plant growth during their unit on the environment. Throughout the process, students learn through hands-on instruction that is both engaging and active.

    Young children have a natural gift for learning languages so our pre-kindergartners are exposed to Spanish language and culture a several times a week. The children explore the language in a story-based approach through movement, songs and skits. They build vocabulary as they repeatedly hear clear and accurate Spanish, helping them learn proper language patterns. Every day, they practice conversational Spanish by completing classroom routines in Spanish, and they are encouraged to use the language beyond the classroom. Topics include, but are not limited to, greetings, numbers, colors, animals, family members, emotions, parts of the body, and parts of a house.
  • ART

    In the Lower School, the art curriculum enables students to gain confidence, knowledge, experience, and appreciation for a wide variety of art ideas and materials. Throughout their experiences in art class, students are introduced to a sequential program which emphasizes process, while exposing them to the elements of art. Media covered include drawing, painting, ceramics, collage, sculpture, and printmaking. As students develop as artists, teachers emphasize the development of personal expression, imagination, curiosity, and careful observation. Students apply these concepts and techniques while making connections, solving problems, and developing both self-confidence and a personal artistic voice.

    The music program in pre-kindergarten consists of singing daily routines, using rhythmic instruments and learning songs in anticipation of a special sing-a-long taking place in the spring. The pre-kindergarten teachers instill a joyful sense of music and music-making in every child. Their goal is give each child a fun and developmentally appropriate experience in music to nurture a lifelong love music. Pre-kindergartners are natural musicians and relish the chance to sing, perform, and use instruments in the classroom and do this every day!

    In the Lower School, students are introduced to basic loco-motor skills and activities that develop hand-eye and hand-foot coordination, spatial awareness, teamwork, and sportsmanship. In addition, teachers process these experiences with students individually and in groups, asking questions like, “Can a self-win also be a team win?” and “What does it mean to be a good sport?” Lower school students learn the mental and physical foundations that will help them succeed throughout their time at Norwood School and beyond.

    Pre-kindergartners explore Norwood’s library through carefully selected books brought to their classroom by Norwood’s librarians, who work with each student to learn their individual interests and help them select "just-right" books. Our pre-K students are introduced to technology through the use of codable robots, which teach computational thinking without the use of screens.

    As part of our commitment to the whole child, Norwood School’s Life Skills Program introduces students to age-appropriate information about personal and community health and well-being that will help them lead happy and healthy lives and make positive contributions to their community from early childhood through adolescence and beyond. Some of the topics for lower school students include friendships, self-esteem, being inclusive, bullying, conflict resolution, peer pressure, responding to teasing. At all ages, the program establishes skills and strategies for lifelong well-being and promotes caring for the well-being of others. Throughout the program, teachers emphasize the important role students’ own family members play in guiding goal-setting, problem-solving and decision-making.
A Week in the Life of a Norwood PK STUDENT

Each morning starts with a warm welcome and a community gathering to prepare for the day ahead. PK students enjoy a schedule filled with exploration and learning. Their schedule includes PE, Spanish, Art, Science, and Social Studies. In addition to learning about different subjects, they begin to explore letters and numbers and use them to describe the world around them.  

Homeroom Teachers

List of 3 members.

  • Photo of Diana Hashem

    Diana Hashem 

    Pre-Kindergarten Homeroom Teacher
    St. Catherine's University - B.S.
  • Photo of Emily Vorlop

    Emily Vorlop 

    Pre-Kindergarten Homeroom Teacher
    East Carolina University - B.F.A.
    American University - M.Ed.
  • Photo of Carla Forgues

    Carla Forgues 

    Pre-Kindergarten HomeroomTeacher
    Instituto de Carreras Tecnicas - B.A.


  • Team Teaching
  • Hands-on Learning
  • Child-centered Classrooms
  • Value of the Month
  • Buddy Program
  • Science Exploration
  • Abundant Art & Music
  • Library Storytime
  • Quiet Rest Time 
  • Dramatic Play
  • Physical Education
  • Recess on the Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten Playground
  • Spring Sing-a-long
  • Field Trips
Located in Bethesda, MD, Norwood School develops students in grades PK-8 into confident lifelong learners who have the academic, character, and leadership skills to succeed in high school and beyond. Recognizing that children are multi-faceted, Norwood provides many opportunities for safe risk-taking, exploration, discovery, and growth in a nurturing, supportive, and inclusive school community.