Searching for preschools to fit your child’s needs can be tough, but what if you’re looking for an all-girls option, one where your daughter can enjoy the benefits of a single gender independent school at the preschool level?
Until this year (in Baltimore), you may have been out of luck. But beginning in the 2020-2021 school year, The Bryn Mawr School (who already has a Pre-K program for boys and girls at its Little School), will open Baltimore’s only all-girls Pre-Kindergarten classroom.
We met with Laurie Vennes, Lower School Director, to learn more.
Tell us a little bit about your Lower School philosophy, and how it will shape the Pre-K program.
Lower School is about building a foundation that prepares a girl for life. Learning to read, write, and conquer math problems is part of it, but they’re also learning how to ask questions, participate with confidence, and support each other in all that they do — from the classrooms to the monkey bars! Beginning that foundation at the pre-k level can only make it stronger.
Why choose an all-girls preschool?
Research from NCGS shows us that girls as young as six years old can be led to believe that males are inherently smarter. In all-girl learning environments, there are no stereotypes about what girls like, or where they can excel. We want girls to know that from day one of their school experience at Bryn Mawr.
In a society where girls may feel pressured to grow up quickly, single sex schools allow girls the freedom to be themselves and develop at their individual pace.
What is the application process like for the PreK program? Is there testing involved?
We are so excited for our all-girls pre-kindergarten program to begin in fall of 2020! All new enrollees must be three years old by September 1, 2019, to begin Lower School admissions and assessment process. Applications are now open and due on December 15. There is a group assessment for pre-k applicants on Saturday, December 14, during which students will be assessed on group interaction and individual school readiness skills. Additional group assessment dates will be added as needed.
How will this new Pre-K program differ from what your Little School already offers?
The Bryn Mawr Little School also offers a wonderful pre-k program for 4 year old boys and girls. Our all-girls program will differ in that it is a single-sex classroom and part of our Lower School. Students will wear a uniform to school and fully be a part of the Lower School community. They’ll have special area classes outside of their homeroom classroom- like music, P.E., library and world languages. They will also participate in assemblies, our House System, holiday concerts, events, and Gateways programming.
Where will the program be housed?
The all-girls Pre-k will be located in our Lower School, which has wonderful outdoor classrooms, trails and a butterfly garden; a Lower School Creation Station; bright, engaging classrooms, lively playgrounds and a dedicated Lower School Science Center, which incorporates a greenhouse, animal habitats, an aquarium and a “DNA molecule” playground.
What would a typical day look like for a child that is enrolled in your Pre-K program & how would it differ from the schedule of a child enrolled in the Little School program?
We’ll start each day with a Responsive Classroom-style morning meeting and children will participate in literature and math activities each day. Girls will also have special area classes like science, music, P.E., library, values education, French, and Spanish, plus time in the Creation Station. Of course, we’ll have some quiet “down time” in the afternoons, too.
One big difference between the programs is that the all-girls pre-k will arrive and depart during carpool (starting at 7:25 am), rather than being walked inside by a caretaker. The day ends at 3 pm. with the option to stay at Extended Day and take part in Gateways after school activities.
To learn more about Bryn Mawr’s new all-girls pre-k program, visit their website. To apply for Lower School pre-kindergarten for 2020, applicants must be three years old by September 1, 2019.
Editor’s Note: This article is part of our School Spotlight Series. Each week, we will spotlight one of our partner schools to give you a glimpse into what learning looks like on their campus. To learn more about The Bryn Mawr School, visit their directory listing in our Independent School Directory. Want to become a school partner? Email us.