Growing Up Kensington

Curriculum at Kensington School, at every developmental level and in every classroom, is at the heart of what we do. We are entrusted with children during the most receptive period of their development, the first six years, and have developed unique and comprehensive curriculum components to stimulate and educate young minds at every age.

“Growing Up Kensington” sets the stage for a joyful journey of learning. Children’s laughter and excitement, their anticipation of what each day at Kensington School will bring, is what sets Kensington School’s curriculum apart. Kensington School’s curriculum is traditional and academic at its core, innovative in creation and forward thinking in educational philosophy. Barbara Marlas, Kensington School’s founder, has set a standard in early childhood education for purposeful learning at its best.

Infant Nursery

Our open and cheerful nurseries offer an exceptional setting for children six weeks through fifteen months. We welcome our littlest learners into a gentle, nurturing environment where each child is respected and valued as a growing individual.

What takes place in a Kensington School Nursery?

Our hands get messy; our bodies are wiggly; we reach and we stretch, we sing and clap. We are exploring the possibilities in our great, big world.

Infant Possibilities

A monthly thematic curriculum unique to Kensington School, Infant Possibilities provides just the right balance between adult interaction and independent exploration. Music and movement, sensory exploration, nature and art activities gently encourage little ones through significant developmental stages.

Infant Treasure Baskets

Baskets filled with everyday items – ribbons and yarn, spoons and sponges, “tree” blocks and sensory balls, fabrics and more encourage curiosity and language development with tactile encounters and teacher dialogue.

Individualized Portfolios/Photo Journals

Celebrating everyday moments and significant milestones, families treasure this personalized record of their child’s early growth.

Music and Sound Explorations with our Music Teachers

Wave scarves, shake bells, rock, bounce and clap. Little ones tune their ears to the sounds and feel the rhythm from head to toe.

Yoga Twists

Gentle twists and stretches, giggles and smiles – it’s “Itsy Bitsy Yoga” time. How can yoga help my baby? Yoga aids in muscle development, improved digestion, and better sleep.

Infant Sign Language

Fundamental language skills begin with gestures. Infant Sign Language linked with verbal conversation enhances communication development and decreases frustration.

LOOKING AHEAD … See what’s next

Toddler Prep

Let’s start our journey down Kensington Lane, a delightful cognitive program that has been carefully created to appeal to our busy and ever curious toddlers and their developmental needs.

On Kensington Lane Cognitive Development Program – Year 1

Come visit with Grandma Pockets and meet her friends, the Stone Cottage Puppets. Open her suitcase or peek into her apron pocket; count the numbers on her clock or look through her picture book. New learning surprises await every week.
Each of Grandma Pockets’ eight furry friends – the Stone Cottage Puppets – emphasizes a curriculum component. Whether playing on the rug, sitting on a teacher’s lap, or at “Come and Go” Circle Times, curious children eagerly anticipate their daily visits.

Sensory Project Based Learning: Toddlers

Even at the toddler level, children are encouraged to embark upon a focused exploration. Using all their senses, toddlers grasp new knowledge and construct new ideas. Their excitement in each discovery is wonderfully evident.

Music and Sound Explorations with our Music Teachers

Toddlers jump for joy when their music teacher visits. From the roars of a lion to the “ching” of tamborines, toddlers tune their ears to new sounds. They march, dance, walk on tippity toes and bounce to the rhythms. Whether it be moving with the music, experiencing new sounds or singing along, music time provides toddlers with an exceptional multi-sensory learning experience.

Yoga Twists

Children benefit from Kensington School’s yoga program by increasing coordination, strengthening muscles and improving sleep through yoga postures and developmental movement exercises.

Toddler Sign Language

Why use Toddler Sign Language when children are developing verbal speech? Fundamental language skills begin with gestures. Linking basic signs with oral communication not only decreases frustration, but builds confidence. The light in a child’s face when they are understood is never forgotten.

LOOKING AHEAD … See what’s next

I Am Two!

See what we can do, now that we are two.

Naturally inquisitive and active, young preschoolers thrive in an environment that supports them as individuals and challenges them with opportunities for involvement.

On Kensington Lane Cognitive Development Program – Year 2

Visits with Grandma Pockets and activities with her eight furry friends, the Stone Cottage Puppets, continue to delight the children as they gain a deeper understanding of their world. Who will be visiting? Sir Isaac the Owl with an “owl’s eye” view of the world? Perhaps it will be Bows the Cat introducing us to new art experiences. Or will it be Circles the Snail familiarizing us with the many shapes around us. “The Me Basket” presented at interactive Circle Times and “First Author,” individually child designed Shape Books, are highlights.

Beginning Project Based Learning

Encourage an already inquisitive age with focused hands-on explorations and what do you get? A whole new level of learning. In each month long exploration, their curiosity encouraged and inspired, children eagerly problem solve, think creatively and discover. Math and science interest centers, as well as creative art and sensory experiences, provide the tools for discovery possibilities. Working in small groups or individually engaged, the children have the ideal opportunities for skill development.

“Pickles the Puppy”
Language Development Program

When it’s time for Pickles, it’s time for fun. Children gather eagerly around his doghouse, ready to talk, listen and take part in a variety of activities. Designed especially for two-year-olds, this language development program provides opportunities to utilize labeling language, construct sentences and expand vocabulary.
With our friend Pickles as their guide, the children spend each day exploring the town. Children’s oral language increases, their ability to express thoughts and feelings improves, and their problem solving skills are enhanced. What color is the fire engine? How many apples do we have in our cart? What animals can we see at the pet store? Can we move a heavy load like a dump truck? Time with Pickles gives children the opportunity for practice using known language while being introduced to hundreds of new words.

Music Classes and a Spring Musical Program

Children gather around the piano to share songs, fingerplays, and rhythmic activities. Our music teachers introduce a variety of instruments and movement games to enhance listening skills. The children take a big step as they joyfully share their musical fun and new found skills in the springtime “share our music class” with parents.

Yoga Twists

Building balance, strengthening muscles, developing focus – the benefits of yoga stretches abound. Our yoga instructor patiently and carefully guides the children in active poses and games.

LOOKING AHEAD … See what’s next!

Preschool

Expanding the boundaries of their world, Preschoolers soar.

Preschoolers spread their wings by developing and deepening friendships, learning new skills, and broadening their knowledge.

Cognitive Learning Programs Animal Island

Welcome to Animal Island, a reading readiness program for emergent readers. The children gather at this special Circle Time to join lively characters in their discovery of the letters of the alphabet. The appealing story format and continuously developing adventures builds throughout the year, introducing the children to new characters and new skills. From plot discussion and story comprehension to phonemic awareness, each segment of the program draws the children deeper into the wonderful world of letters, words and stories.

Math Starts with Kensington

Utilizing the award winning MathStart® book series, “Math Starts with Kensington” is a new and original mathematics curriculum developed specifically at Kensington School. Each math story book, a total of 36 in all, focuses on a specific mathematical concept and becomes a springboard for interactive and meaningful learning. Children enjoy reenacting the stories and investigating a myriad of concepts through games, activities and enticing manipulatives. Whole group discussions, small group visits to the SMART Board, and working in pairs at the math center add to the thought provoking math learning experience.

Handwriting Without Tears

Learning how lines and curves form letters is a multi-sensory learning experience. Using specifically designed wooden manipulatives, roll-a-dough letters and slate chalkboards, children work on developing the fine motor skills and eye-hand coordination required for handwriting. My First School Handwriting Workbook becomes an important record for each child of their first handwriting efforts.

Scooter the Traveling Bear, Segment 1: My Community

Our beloved Scooter Bear inspires and guides the children in an exploration of their community. Activities augmented with visits from members of the community such as dentists, veterinarians, firemen, and librarians, facilitates a growing understanding of the many and varied aspects of the children’s neighborhood and community.

My Big World Scholastic Newsletter

Big, bright photos bring seasonal themes to life. Classroom discussions reinforce social development and build vocabulary. Each child has their own newsletter to bring home and share with their parents, continuing the learning.

Kensington School’s Kindness Curriculum

Carefully selected and beautifully illustrated literature introduces children to seven universal attributes: courage, loyalty, justice, respect, hope, honesty and love. Engaging animal characters help emphasize each attribute and set a framework for good citizenship and caring behavior.

Project Based Learning

Collaborating with their teachers, the children determine a topic that is worthy of investigation. Through Circle Time conversations and literature, children exercise their individual creativity and give input to creating a classroom topic web. The study of everyday topics becomes relevant and interesting to each child as they take ownership of the investigation.
Science, technology, engineering, art, and math are made accessible through authentic, meaningful experiences. Examining a “field site,” asking questions of “expert visitors,” as well as benefiting from extensive resources such as the SMART Board and literature, children have abundant opportunities to make detailed observations. As their own curiosity leads them to construct greater personal knowledge of the world, children discover the value of the skills they put into practice. Documentation and representations fill each child’s individually created PBL Documentation Box or Folder – a treasured keepsake of their unique learning experiences- for each completed PBL topic.

“Masterpiece of the Month” Art Appreciation

Each month, the children are introduced to fine works of art. They examine styles and mediums and then “paint like the masters.”

First Arts

Spanish Classes
Circle Time with Senora keeps linguistic agility alive and well. Young learners absorb sounds and intonation patterns naturally. Introduced to Spanish through songs, games, and stories, children enhance memory, creativity, and problem solving skills.
Music Classes and Seasonal Musical Performances
Children gather around the piano to share songs, musical games and engage in basic music theory activities. Music and movement go hand-in-hand. The introduction of a diverse collection of world instruments acquaints children with new rhythms and tones. Highly anticipated seasonal programs are opportunities for children to proudly share their musical talents and skills with family and friends.
Yoga/Motor Movement
Every day at Kensington School, children are provided with the time, space, and opportunity to move. In a calming atmosphere, our yoga instructor patiently and carefully guides the children in poses and stretches that promote a sense of well-being. Building balance, strengthening muscles, developing focus and concentration – the benefits of yoga stretches abound.
Physical skill development, running, hopping, skipping and jumping, are promoted through active games and plenty of opportunity for outdoor play.

LOOKING AHEAD … See what’s next

Pre-Kindergarten

Building the foundation for Kindergarten. A Pre-Kindergarten year at Kensington School is a pivotal year of essential curriculum.

Cognitive Learning Programs Jolly Phonics Reading and Writing

Fun-filled and child centered, Jolly Phonics is a multi-sensory approach to reading and writing that builds confidence and motivation for beginning readers. Memorable actions and songs, accompanied by colorfully illustrated big books, help every child recall letter sounds and blending. Key foundational skills of this phonics based program include letter sounds, blending, listening for sounds within words, and identifying “tricky words.”

Kensington School’s Printing Book

Children progress from the basic letter formation of the preschool year to the “tripod” grip and flow of letter formation. Guided by the letters in their individual Jolly Phonics books, each child is able to grow their printing skills. Children have ownership of their very own printing book. Illustrating and practicing letter formation in their Kensington School Printing Book, they create a record of their individual skill development.

Math Starts with Kensington

Utilizing the award winning MathStart® book series, “Math Starts with Kensington” is a new and original mathematics curriculum developed specifically at Kensington School. Each math story book, a total of 36 in all, focuses on a specific mathematical concept and becomes a springboard for interactive and meaningful learning. Children enjoy reenacting the stories and investigating a myriad of concepts through games, activities and enticing manipulatives. Whole group discussions, small group visits to the SMART Board, and working in pairs at the math center add to the thought provoking math learning experience.

Scooter the Traveling Bear, Segment 2: My World

Scooter loves to travel. Will it be Washington, D.C. in North America, Brazil in South America, Asia, France, or perhaps Australia? Wherever he travels, Scooter shares his experiences with his friends at Kensington School. Scooter sends postcards and “treasures” to spark discussion about different countries and cultures. Using maps, SMART Board and journals to track his travels, the children discover there is a big wide world for exploration.

Project Based Learning

Collaborating with their teachers, the children determine a topic that is worthy of investigating. Through Circle Time conversations and literature, children exercise their individual creativity and bring their ideas to a classroom topic web. The study of everyday topics becomes relevant and interesting to each child as they take ownership of the investigation.
Science, technology, engineering, art, and math are made accessible through authentic, meaningful experiences. Examining a “field site,” asking questions of “expert visitors,” as well as benefiting from extensive resources such as the SMART Board and literature, children have extensive opportunities to make detailed observations. As their own curiosity leads them to construct greater personal knowledge of the world, children discover the value of the skills they put into practice.
Documentation and representations fill each child’s individually created PBL Documentation Box or Folder – a treasured keepsake of their unique learning experiences- for each completed PBL topic.

Kensington School’s Kindness Curriculum

Carefully selected and beautifully illustrated literature introduces children to seven universal attributes: courage, loyalty, justice, respect, hope, honesty and love. Engaging animal characters help emphasize each attribute and set a framework for good citizenship and caring behavior.

“Masterpiece of the Month” Art Appreciation

Each month, the children are introduced to fine works of art. They examine styles and mediums and then “paint like the masters.”

First Arts

Spanish Classes
Circle Time with Senora keeps linguistic agility alive and well. Young learners absorb sounds and intonation patterns naturally. Introduced to Spanish through songs, games, and stories, children enhance memory, creativity, and problem solving skills.
Music Classes and Seasonal Musical Performance
Children gather around the piano to share songs, musical games and engage in basic music theory activities. Music and movement go hand-in-hand. The introduction of a diverse collection of world instruments acquaints children with new rhythms and tones. Highly anticipated seasonal programs are opportunities for children to proudly share their musical talents and skills with family and friends.
Yoga/Motor Movement
Every day at Kensington School children are provided with the time, space, and opportunity to move. In a calming atmosphere, our yoga instructor patiently and carefully guides the children in poses and stretches that promote a sense of well-being. Building balance, strengthening muscles, developing focus and concentration – the benefits of yoga stretches abound.
Physical skill development, running, hopping, skipping and jumping, are promoted through active games and plenty of opportunity for outdoor play.

LOOKING AHEAD … See what’s next

Kindergarten

Kindergarten is offered at our schools in Elmhurst, Geneva, LaGrange and Naperville.

Kensington School’s Full Day Kindergartens provide the essential bridge from Preschool to First Grade. From the introduction of elementary math concepts to a language arts program rich in phonics, reading strategies, and writing skills, Kensington School is dedicated to developing confident, poised, life-long learners. A Kensington Kindergarten experience is one that keeps growing.

The Benefits of a Full Day Kindergarten at Kensington School:

  • Small Class Size, Individualized Instruction
  • Proven Curriculum
  • Highly Qualified, Certified Teachers
  • Optional Before/After School Hours
  • Smooth Transition to First Grade Full Day Instruction

Kindergarten Core Curriculum Components

Language Arts
Jolly Phonics Decodable Reading Series and Workbooks, Segment #2
Jolly Phonics Grammar Michael Haggerty Phonemic Awareness
Bob Books Early Readers
Kensington School’s Kindergarten Printing Book
Mathematics
Go Math – Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Go Math Workbook
Math Journals/Problem Solving and Math Manipulatives
Go Math- Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Go Math Workbook, Volume #2
Science
Monthly Project Based Learning and Documentation Boxes
Steve Spangler Science Experiments and Activities
Science Spin Weekly Readers
Social Studies
Nystrom Atlas Block Buddies and Maps and Geography Big Books
Manners of the Heart Character Education
Music, Spanish, Creative Movement, Art
Weekly experiences with our music, Spanish and gym teachers
Masterpiece of the Month
Art Appreciation and Creative Art Processes

Enrichment

Year after year, we are happy to hear of the many children who have discovered a new interest, or have benefited from the additional skill building opportunities gained by attending enrichment classes at Kensington School.

Kensington Enrichment School provides small group experiences in literacy, math, science, art, music, physical fitness, dance and more. Open to three, four and five-year-olds these optional classes offer additional educational experiences, provide new skills development and foster new interests and talents.

Kensington Enrichment School also offers enrichment classes for two-year-olds who attend a part day morning preschool class. It is a wonderful way to extend a two-year-old’s day with lunch and special thematic activities.

These small group enrichment classes are offered in sessions of five or six weeks and continue throughout the year.

To see our current enrichment class offerings, click here.

Summer Camp

Junior Camp

Part Day and Full Day
(for 2, 3, 4 and 5 year-olds)

Kensington Junior Camp is packed with summer long adventures, thrills and excitement and some old fashioned summertime fun. At Kensington School, learning is always nearby. Our engaging summer themes combine outdoor exploration with substantive preschool curriculum. Learning and readiness skill development continue with our year round, degreed teachers.

Optional enrichment classes are held throughout the summer. Children may enroll in enrichment classes without being enrolled in the Kensington preschool program.

Wings Camp

Full Day
(for children entering or completing kindergarten)

Kensington Wings Camp is just right for those 5 and 6 year-olds who are ready to spread their wings outside the classroom with a weekly field trip.

Senior Camp

Full Day
(for children who have completed kindergarten – third grade)

From weekly swimming and field trips to special visitors and workshops, children in our Senior Camp are provided with an outstanding summer of exploration and recreation in a safe environment with our talented counselors.

Swimming:  Campers visit the pool 2 days each week.
Special Field Trips:   Every week, campers travel by school bus on well-planned excursions in the area.
Talented and Enthusiastic Counselors:   Our excellent teaching staff continues through the summer, assuring a high quality camp staff who provide excellent school age adventures.

See our Summer Camp Brochures and contact us at 630-990-8000 for enrollment information.

Project-Based Learning

Project Based Learning, A Child-Centered Curriculum of Curiosity

Young children are naturally inquisitive. They observe, they ask questions, and they love to investigate the world around them. At Kensington School, we encourage this natural intellectual curiosity and provide an environment that best supports it. Project Based Learning builds on a child’s need to know: Who? What? When? Where? and Why?

Sensory Project Based Learning: Toddlers

Even at the toddler level, children are encouraged to embark upon a focused exploration. Using all of their senses, toddlers grasp new knowledge and construct new ideas. Their excitement in each discovery is wonderfully evident.

Beginning Project Based Learning: Twos

Encourage an already inquisitive age with focused hands-on explorations and what do you get? A whole new level of learning. In each month long exploration, their curiosity encouraged and inspired, children eagerly problem solve, think creatively and discover. Math and science interest centers as well as creative art and sensory experiences provide the tools for discovery possibilities. Working in small groups or individually engaged, the children have the ideal opportunities for skill development.

Project Based Learning

Collaborating with their teachers, the children determine a topic that is worthy of investigation. Through circle time conversations and literature, children exercise their individual creativity and bring their ideas to a classroom topic web. The study of everyday topics becomes relevant and interesting to each child as they take ownership of the investigation. Science, technology, engineering, art, and math are made accessible through authentic, meaningful experiences. Examining a “field site,” asking questions of “expert visitors,” as well as benefiting from extensive resources such as the SMART Board and literature, children have extensive opportunities to make detailed observations. As their own curiosity leads them to construct greater personal knowledge of the world, children discover the value of the skills they put into practice. Documentation and Representations fill each child’s individually created PBL Documentation Box – a treasured keepsake of their unique learning experiences.

First Arts

Kensington School celebrates and values the arts in early childhood. Weekly classes in music, Spanish and yoga with our talented specialists are enjoyed by children and teachers alike.

Music

Music increases vocabulary, enhances concentration and inspires creativity. Through music, children learn about patterns, rhymes, culture, behavior and much more. Kensington School’s music specialists are accomplished musicians and teachers and meet weekly with all classes, infants through kindergarten.

Spanish

Circle time with Senora keeps linguistic agility alive and well! Young learners absorb sounds and intonation patterns naturally. Introduced to Spanish through songs, games, and stories, children enhance memory, creativity, and problem solving skills.

Yoga

Building balance, strengthening muscles, and developing focus – the benefits of yoga abound. Our yoga instructor patiently and carefully guides children in active poses and games.