As you begin your search for a preschool, there are a few things we would like you to know about The Griffin Academy.
- The Griffin Academy provides a safe, loving, and nurturing environment where children truly thrive.
- The school day is carefully structured with an even balance of routine and play.
- Children are encouraged to gain confidence, independence, and are taught helpful ways to “solve that problem.”
- The age-appropriate social and emotional development of each child is carefully nurtured and an experienced staff is available to help parents and children through this important stage of life.
- Respect for classmates, teachers, and others is taught and expected.
- Our program includes an academic component tailored to three-year-olds and four-year-olds.
- The children enjoy weekly enrichment classes, which include Fit Kids (a traveling physical education program), science, art, music, and French.
- The teachers and staff have a combined 50+ years of teaching experience and participate in professional development courses and workshops each year.
- The teachers carefully observe and assess the children’s capabilities and “meet” the child where he is so that each child can reach his academic potential.
- Small classes (14 children per class, with a lead teacher and an aide (7:1 ratio)) allow for an optimal teaching environment where individualized attention can be given to each child.
- The Griffin Academy offers a variety of enrollment options to meet the needs of every family.
- For working families, The Griffin Academy offers before- and after-care as well as intersession and summer camps.
The goal of the academic program at The Griffin Academy is to prepare the children to transition into the academically-accelerated kindergarten at Westminster School.
Our curriculum focuses on early literacy and pre-reading skills. Pre-reading skills may include learning how to hold a book, or how to follow the text from top-to-bottom and left-to-right. Listening centers and quiet corners give the children freedom to enjoy books at their leisure.
Our three-year-old class introduces letter recognition and students begin to learn the sounds that each letter makes. An “alphabet jar” encourages children to bring items from home that begin with the letter of the week, and learning centers are a fun way to reinforce letter recognition.
Our four-year-old classes review the alphabet twice more to ensure that the children know the sounds that each letter makes. This will better prepare them for transition to kindergarten where they learn to blend sounds together to read words. Common site words are learned, and children take great pride in reading their very own pre-decodable books!
The Griffin Academy uses the SRA McGraw-Hill’s Imagine It! Series in its Language Arts program.
Children develop strong basic counting and problem-solving skills, including concepts such as money, geometric shapes, sorting, patterning, and one-to-one correspondence. The children find much joy in practicing their math skills through real-life applications, manipulatives, and small-group learning centers.
SRA McGraw-Hill’s Real Math is used to help reinforce the concepts taught to the children.
The Griffin Academy is made up of children from all over the world, which helps to teach the children about different cultures. During this time of the day, the children learn more about themselves, learn to be good citizens (in and outside of school), learn about the jobs of community helpers and how they help and protect us, and learn about the world and community around them.
Our budding scientists are introduced to the different branches of science, including earth, life, and physical science. From hands-on activities that investigate the five senses, to exploring magnets, sink-or-float experiments, planting seeds and watching them grow, learning the many sources of light, different types weather, and the life cycle of a caterpillar to a butterfly (in their very own classrooms)—the children are mesmerized to experience science come to life!
Bonjour les enfants! The children are given an age-appropriate, introductory course to this beautiful language. Greetings, families, colors, numbers, seasons, animals, food, and clothing are a few of the topics introduced in French. These topics are reinforced through videos and songs (in French), and an occasional field trip!
Children arrive at art class with an eagerness to create their very own masterpiece! The children enjoy using different types of media (crayons, pastels, tempera paint, water colors), different types of materials (egg cartons, pipe cleaners, sequins, glitter, pom-poms), and their unlimited imagination to create an array of charming art projects.
During the latter part of the year, the children are introduced to famous artists, such as Georgia O’Keefe, Henri Matisse, Jackson Pollock, Pablo Picasso, and Ansel Adams. The children are not only exposed to the beautiful artwork these artists created, but are also introduced to them as individuals, via a small biography of each artist. The study of these artists culminates in the children creating their own artwork “in the style of… (each artist is represented).”
Pure joy and smiles light the faces of the children during and after music class. The children look forward to this fun class where they listen, learn, and move to a variety of different kinds of songs and music. Not only are the children taught how to sing from deep-down inside and to project their voices, but they are also encouraged to have the confidence to stand in front of a group of people and perform. The children get a chance to practice all of this at our annual Griffin Academy Music Festival.
Similar to art, during the latter part of the year, the children are introduced to famous children’s singers and/or musicians. Greg and Steve, Laurie Berkner, Ella Jenkins and Raffi are a few such artists. The children are introduced to these artists through a short biography about their lives, and listen to and learn some of their famous songs. The children sing these songs to family and friends during our end-of-the-year celebration.
Dramatic play is a very important component of Griffin Academy life. A special area of the classroom is set aside, where the children can pretend to be mommy or daddy, a pizza chef, a veterinarian, a shopper at a grocery store, a police officer, a camper sleeping in a tent in the woods, or an actor/actress on a theater stage. The children vote on possible dramatic play themes, help to create the dramatic play area, and thoroughly enjoy the time spent in these activities. Don’t be surprised if a real life veterinarian, chef, or police officer comes to visit the children, linking their imagination and dramatic play to real life!
The Griffin Academy takes great pleasure in organizing special events/days for the children. (Psst: These days are just as much fun for the faculty as they are for the children.) Each year the teachers turn on their creativity to create truly enjoyable and memory-filled days for the children. Such special events/days include:
- Halloween Parade
- Music Festival
- Thanksgiving Feast
- Spirit Week and Pep Rally
- PJ Day
- Kindergarten Bump-Up Day
- Reading Buddy Day
- Leprechaun Mischief
- Holiday Cookie Party
- Super Bowl Party
- Music and Art Show
- Fun in the Sun and Water Day
- Fun Lunch Pizza Fridays (monthly)
Many of our children would say that just getting on the school bus was fun enough! The children go on an average of one field trip per month, in addition to traveling to Westminster School for student play performances. The majority of the field trips are chaperoned by the faculty only. However, for field trips where the children are in a wide-open space, the parents are invited to join and ride the bus with us! Sample field trip destinations include:
- Halloween Playground
- Reston Petting Zoo
- Frying Pan Park
- Discovery Theater
- Air & Space Museum
- National Building Museum
- Under the Sea (in-house program)
- Catriona's Castle (in-house program)
Many parents like to know how they can get involved at The Griffin Academy. Parents are welcome to come each month for Fun Lunch Pizza Friday. Some field trips for the children require extra sets of eyes and hands, and parents are invited to join such outings. The Griffin Academy is proud to comprise such a diverse community, and parents are always welcome to visit and share their culture with the children. Some parents enjoy talking to the children about their occupations. We have been very fortunate to have dentists, a nutritionist, a radiologist, and a police officer come visit. It’s a special day and an important day when visitors come as it brings those community helpers (studied in class) to life!