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Early Childhood

Preschool - Senior Kindergarten

At Catherine Cook, we believe that children construct their own learning with expert guidance from knowledgeable, well-prepared teachers. Our classrooms are nurturing and joyful educational communities where children explore and express their ideas and curiosity, learning collaboratively with adults. Because learning happens in the context of relationships, we intentionally cultivate connections with students, parents and caregivers, colleagues, and the wider community. During play, children consolidate new vocabulary, gain essential social skills, and practice new academic skills - play is an essential part of each day. The Early Childhood curriculum builds critical thinking, social-emotional, and cultural competence skills along with literacy, art, mathematics, music, science, movement, and social studies. Projects integrate content across the curricula for meaningful and authentic learning. Children grasp the purpose and become invested in discovery, mastering the skills to accomplish their projects.

Children and teachers work together to design projects and objects using technology as a tool for learning and communication. But technology is not a substitute for genuine human interaction! Technology supports our social-emotional skills, self-regulation, and cognitive goals. These devices and tools allow students to reach beyond the walls of the school to greet and learn about their peers in other schools around the world, and to meet the needs of the wide spectrum of learners in each classroom.


Head of Early Childhood
Jean Robbins

Jean Robbins has been the Head of the Early Childhood Division since 2007 and has established best classroom practices, curriculum, and supervision measures to make The Catherine Cook School a leader in high quality early childhood programming. She holds a doctorate degree in child development from the Erikson Institute, an M.B.A. from Columbia University in New York, and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Smith College. Before coming to Catherine Cook, she worked as a researcher on a variety of studies, including a national home visiting program, an early childhood teacher preparation and diversity study in the U.S., and an early literacy and play study for Yale University. Jean was Director of the Parents as Teachers First Program at Chicago Public Schools, which was a citywide early childhood home visiting program.

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