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Early Childhood (ages 2-5)

An early childhood student plays in the mud kitchen outdoors.

Our lively academic program begins when children need it most.

Research on cognitive growth indicates that the early years of a child’s education represent the most critical time for their development. In fact, researchers from the National Research Council and Institute of Medicine have found that the human brain develops the vast majority of its neurons, and is at its most receptive to learning, between birth and three years of age. The earlier a family can invest in their child’s education, the better.

An ECP student uses a magnifying glass outdoors.

We view play as an essential part of our curriculum. By playing, children establish and enhance their creativity, social acuity, resilience, problem-solving capabilities and understanding of sequencing and cause and effect.

Amanda Irwin, Early Childhood & Primary School Director

ECP students examine a sunflower.

Old Trail takes full advantage of this critical time of growth.

Expert teachers in the early childhood division instill academic skills in language arts, math, Spanish and more, nurturing qualities like independence and resilience that will benefit preschoolers as they continue their education.


Children paint, draw, collage, sculpt and sew imaginative works of art in the classroom as well as our unique studio environment to enhance fine motor skills.

"Beautiful Stuff"

The “Beautiful Stuff” project allows every child to contribute to a collage of personal items that is shared with the community.

Classroom Conversations

Child-directed committee work and daily classroom conversations empower students to express their ideas and emotions.

Morning Meeting

Students start each day with a morning meeting to discuss the date, weather, and their daily schedule.

Physical Education

Naturescape playgrounds host opportunities for students to learn and play in natural environments.

Building a foundation for their future.

We foster healthy growth in all areas.

Teachers in our Early Childhood Program are experts in child development and know how to nurture each child’s healthy social, emotional and intellectual growth. A child’s happiness affects their ability to learn, so we ensure your child learns in a positive, supportive preschool environment. From healthy eating to community outreach, our youngest children begin practicing the habits they’ll carry for life.

Two ECP children sit on the floor and read together in a classroom.

Old Trail School is to a child's well-being and growth, like fertile soil is to an acorn.

Kathi Jackson Holland, Alumni Parent

Overview and Philosophy

Our Early Childhood Program supports the whole child and stresses social and emotional learning in an environment that values diversity, intelligence and school success.

Play is a key factor in creating strong language and communication ability, critical thinking, problem solving and executive functioning. Through play, children integrate language development as well as all types of learning—physical, social, emotional and intellectual.

  • As your child grows, we place an emphasis on the learning process with a balance of opportunities for small-group, large-group and individual learning experiences.
  • Learning environments balance child-initiated activities and teacher-directed instruction; with guidance from teachers, children explore classroom spaces designed to cultivate self-help skills, problem solving, independence and resilience.
  • Instructional materials and discussions prompt spontaneous and instructive play in the classroom and draw a developmental progression in the content of reading, math, writing, art, science and social studies.
  • Children travel to other classrooms on campus for instruction in physical education, music, Spanish, makerspace and library time.
A kindergarten teacher encourages her student in the hallway.

Research shows that students will have a love of learning if parents and teachers work together to understand the unique qualities of each child. Together we will discuss your child's strengths and learning styles. Our Early Childhood Program creates a parent-school relationship that supports a learning environment for children to develop to their fullest potential.

Enrollment Options

An ECP 2-Day student plays with playdoh in the classroom.

Designed for age-eligible preschoolers who are ready to experience school for the first time without an accompanying parent or caregiver. Our ECP Two-Day Program provides a nurturing setting where children engage in meaningful play activities that support developmental learning and exploration.

Read More about ECP 2 Day
ECP student smiles outdoors

Designed for children ages 3-4 and focused on providing young learners with unique experiences rather than memorized information. Offered three days a week with full-day (8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.) and half-day (8:30-11:30 a.m.) options available. Full-day options include lunch. 

Read More about ECP 3 Day
An ECP student holds a dandylion outside.

Designed for children ages 3-5 and focused on providing young learners with unique experiences rather than memorized information. Offered five days a week with full-day (8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.) and half-day (8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.) options available. Lunch is included for all ECP 5 Day students. 

Read More about ECP 5 Day
An ECP student exits the bus in the morning on campus.

Our Young 5s program is designed for children who turn 5 years old during the spring or summer months who can benefit from a year of growth before entering kindergarten. Classes are held five days a week from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Children may leave at 12:15 p.m. on Fridays. 

Read More about Young 5s

Early Childhood Curriculum