Forest Toddler Program
For 18-36 Month Olds & Their Parents (or Caregiver)
Parker’s rich and diverse outdoor environment sets the stage for wonder and curiosity. The program is simple by design. Our teachers let students follow their imagination and have the freedom to explore. Our mixed age groups, ages 18 months to 3 years, give the children — and their parent or caregiver — a chance to learn from each other.
Preschool (PreK 3-4)
Our Pre-K program is designed for three and four year olds. We carefully construct a daily structure and comfortable routine, with inside and outside activities that enables children to feel safe so that their learning and creativity can thrive.
Elementary School (K-4)
The elementary school curriculum, from kindergarten to grade 4, is built around tapping into student’s interests and helping them discover and explore their passions. Students are challenged to develop powers of observation, analysis, critical thinking, self-evaluation, and collaboration.
Middle school inspires future leaders by challenging them to inquire, to think, to reason, and to act. Grade 5-8 academics is integrated and project oriented. Teachers emphasize a personal approach with the intent that students will clearly see the relationship between their own lives and the topics and themes they are exploring.
As an independent private school Parker practices a progressive model of education. We begin with the student’s own experiences, and use active learning to promote deep thinking. By asking students to experience, not learn by rote, we encourage independence of thought, and emphasize critical thinking and problem solving. Our students are motivated to learn basic skills and competencies because the learning is meaningful to them. Project based learning resulting in a product, presentation, or performance builds confidence and motivation to take on the next challenge. As a progressive school, our teachers have flexibility in curriculum design and may incorporate aspects similar to Waldorf, Reggio Emilia, Montessori, and other pedagogies.
Students are well known by their teachers, enabling teachers to individualize students’ programs and fostering mutual respect and closeness. As they make active choices about learning, students and teachers create a democratic community that is responsive to individual learning styles and strengths. Throughout the program, Parker teachers design learning environments and experiences that identify the starting point for each learner and then guide them toward their next goals. We do this through a creative and collaborative process using thematic learning that responds to the interests and developmental level of each student. Enter a Parker classroom and you will see students working with each other and their teachers in solving problems, editing, creating projects, and tackling big questions.
We believe that students flourish in an environment that provides emotional security and intellectual vibrancy. Because they have been given choice and agency in the formative years of their education, our graduates continue to love learning and be flexible thinkers in high school, college and career.
Educated with thoughtfulness and care, our students emerge as ethical and caring members of society who take responsible action in caring for themselves, the community and society as a whole.
Parker prioritizes student social and emotional well being.
"The young people who manage to flourish against all odds are not exceptional or extraordinary. Rather, they are beneficiaries of what psychologist Ann Masten refers to as "ordinary magic"—protective processes that promote competence and healthy adaptation."
Dr. Lisa Damour, Psychologist, who recommends that schools provide the following...
"Children learn best when they feel a warm and authentic connection with their teachers."
Parker teachers intentionally prioritize building strong relationships so that students know they can rely on adults and each other. Parker students feel included and heard, protective characteristics that allow learning to bloom.
Photo Caption: "Time-in" from a teacher builds connections and supports learning.
A Sense of Purpose.
"Having a sense of purpose—pursuing personally meaningful activities that have positive consequences for others—buffers the negative effects of stress in children. "
Cultivating purposeful action is in Parker's mission statement, and the program is built around meaningful activities that benefit the community as a whole. Projects that are student centered support not only academic outcomes but emotional outcomes as well.
Photo Caption: 5th grader publishes a school essay in the COOP Scoop.
Predictability and Control.
"Resilience grows when young people have ways to feel that not everything is beyond their control."
Parker's schedule brings a much needed sense of routine and clear expectations. At the same time, teachers provide students with ample choices in order to build a sense of agency and control over their own learning. Being able to predict what comes next and have some control over it builds resilience and a sense of security.
Photo Caption: An interdisciplinary art/social studies project offers choice and a unique structure.
... in addition, Parker also prioritizes...
Spending Time in Nature.
Science and common sense are clear about the fact that time spent in nature reduces stress, builds resilience, and fosters curiosity. Parker's 77 acres of woods, streams, meadows, and pond offer a bevy of opportunities to explore and enjoy the fresh air. On top of 2 30 minute recesses everyday, our outdoor classrooms are used during instructional times as well.
Parker teachers know how to manage their own energy levels and take their own advice. The Parker schedule allows students and teachers to take time during the school day to practice their own self-care habits. Whether taking a walk in the woods, doing yoga or meditating, teachers and students are encouraged to take care of themselves.
A Like-Minded Parent Community.
The well being of parents is also an important aspect for child wellness and growth. At an independent private school like Parker, having a community of parents, and extended friends and family that are invested in the mission of progressive education can be extremely helpful and reassuring during times of uncertainty. Just like students, having a group of positive peers to support parents is important.
"Resilience is best taught when it is modeled and the dedicated teachers and staff continue to give master classes in this important life skill every single day."
We have always limited the number of students we accept into each classroom from preschool to Grade 8 to ensure we can deliver a personalized learning experience. This year (and likely next) we are limiting this number even more for in-person learning for the safety of everyone in our community and to ensure we follow all New York State guidelines. Some classes are already full and we expect others to fill up quickly as the school year progresses.
Toddlers- Coming Soon!
Preschool- 3 & 4 year olds
Lower School (Grades 1-4)
Middle School (Grades 5-8)
Learn about our admissions process, visiting Parker, and tuition. From our personalized academic program to our warm community of caring adults and students to our expansive campus, we have a lot to show you. We will walk you through everything, from our educational philosophy to our unique hands on curriculum and the logistics of daily life here at Parker so that you may have a clear picture of the Parker difference.
Robert C. Parker School, 4254 NY Route 43, North Greenbush, 12198