Pre-K through Grade 9 in Southborough, MA
Primary School



Pre-Kindergarten at Fay is an “inquiry-based” program, which means that teachers use students’ inquiries as the starting point for creating curricula that integrates all the disciplines. In other words, teachers begin the school year with a list of skills to teach and milestones to reach, but they are flexible about the context within which these essential skills will be taught. Throughout the year, teachers let the students’ interests and questions determine some of the specific topics to be studied.

Inquiry-based learning is a dynamic process. As children observe and investigate the world around them, teachers guide them through open-ended questions that foster discussion and raise new questions. By creating daily lessons that capitalize on children’s innate curiosity about their world, students build deeper understanding and develop a framework upon which to build more meaningful connections.
In their investigations, teachers and children live and breathe the subject of their inquiry; they become researchers, and their work fosters a variety of perspectives and supports and nurtures a multitude of learning styles. For example, one class was very interested in getting a classroom pet. Their classroom activities became research to find out what kind of pet would be a good match, and the children explored the topic in a range of ways: through pretend pets and veterinarian play in the dramatic play area, researching pets on iPads, interviewing a veterinarian, using math to tally the pros and cons of each candidate for a classroom pet, building habitats and pet stores with blocks, playing an animal sorting game, and reading books about pets.
As Confucius famously wrote about the nature of instruction and human learning, “Tell me and I will forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I will understand.” Inquiry-based instruction is a teaching approach that involves the learner with appropriate scaffolding. Fay’s Pre-Kindergarten students learn how to figure out answers to their own questions and to solve problems.

Download: Pre-Kindergarten Course Overview

Program Details

List of 9 items.

  • Language Arts

    In Pre-Kindergarten, the goal of the language arts program is to provide each child with the foundation for becoming a lifelong learner. Children develop reading readiness skills throughout the day within the context of daily routines, book discussions, games, inquiry-based learning, and play activities. Teachers tailor instruction in letter identification, phonemic awareness, and phonics instruction to meet the developmental needs of each learner. Writing is encouraged and taught within meaningful experiences and activities. Some examples include creating a shopping list in our pretend grocery store, writing a request for a classroom job, making a menu for the snack table, and recording the results of an experiment. Teachers support the children in their use of invented spelling as they communicate their ideas.
    Students who complete the Pre-Kindergarten language art program will have developed skills in:
    • Letter identification (all upper case and some lower case)
    • Letter-sound correspondence
    •  Expressing ideas through invented spelling
    • Recognizing and generating rhymes
    • Recognizing labels and signs in classroom
    • Conveying their ideas through drawings
    • Dictating words, sentences, and stories to a teacher who records their ideas
    • Distinguishing between nonfiction and fiction
    • Recording observations
    • Listening to stories and participating in group discussion about books
  • Mathematics

    Mathematics in the Primary School addresses both mathematical content and processes. Children learn in a collaborative setting, using hands-on tools that help them explore key concepts. The focus is on problem solving, reasoning, making connections, and representing and communicating mathematical understanding. Children also develop their mathematical thinking in the following areas: number and operations, algebraic thinking, geometry, measurement, and data analysis.
    Students who successfully complete the Pre-Kindergarten mathematics program will be able to:
    • Know number names and the counting sequence
    • Use manipulatives to express and perform basic operations (addition and subtraction)
    • Identify and describe basic shapes (squares, circles, triangles, rectangles)
    • Build stable block structures
    • Measure with non-standard units of measure
    • Sort and classify objects using observable attributes
    • Identify, create, and extend simple patterns
  • Social Studies

    Social Studies in Pre-Kindergarten focuses on developing students’ understanding of how the individual fits into a larger community. Students explore family relationships and begin to widen their perspective as they learn how they are also members of other groups, such as the class or school. Students also explore the various roles people play and aspects of diversity within a community as they learn about celebrations and traditions in other cultures. 
    Over the course of the year, students develop their understanding of:
    • Family structures
    • Being a member of a community
    • Diversity, tolerance, and respect within a community
  • Art/Science

    In Pre-Kindergarten, art and science are taught together as one subject through thematic units of study. Children discover scientific principles through age-appropriate investigations and practice expressing their observations through the language of science. Children demonstrate their understanding through written documentation, detailed images, and three-dimensional models. They also develop fine motor skills and gain confidence in their ability to express themselves visually as they create organic and geometric shapes, explore color mixing, and build objects in clay. Within the homeroom setting, self-directed art activities and small-group science investigations inside and outdoors in nature are also a large part of the Pre-Kindergarten play-based curriculum.
    Students who successfully complete the Pre-Kindergarten art/science program demonstrate the following skills:
    • Asking questions and displaying curiosity
    • Sharing ideas and observations with the group
    • Formulating thoughts and predictions using observations and prior knowledge
    • Using simple tools and equipment for investigation
    • Observing and creating observational drawings
    • Using art materials as demonstrated
    • Showing creativity
  • World Languages: Spanish and French

    Fay’s Primary School World Language program is based on the F.L.E.X. (Foreign Language Experience) approach. Students study both French and Spanish, each for half of the school year. Teachers introduce these languages through stories, nursery rhymes, games, interactive instruction, role playing, cultural activities, and music. Vocabulary includes colors, shapes, numbers 1-10, body parts, clothing, days of the week, sizes, greetings, feelings, seasons, and weather. A variety of cultural celebrations are highlighted in the Pre-Kindergarten program, and the children learn about and observe various important holidays. Themes are often tied to topics the class is exploring in other curricular areas.
  • Music

    Music in Pre-Kindergarten is designed to foster the beginnings of a lifelong love for music. Children learn new songs through stories; as the Primary School resembles a barn, many of these stories are about animals who “go to school” on the farm. A stuffed animal represents each character, and each has a song or rhyme and a game. The children sing, play the games, and perform actions on the beat. They learn the difference between their “speaking” voice, their “singing” voice and their “thinking” voice. The “thinking” voice is developed through activities that make the students aware that they can hear songs “inside their heads” without singing them out loud. The goal by the end of the year is to have students who can recognize and perform a steady beat, sing in tune, sing independently, perform actions in a sequence, participate in group singing games and rhymes, and recognize songs by their melody only.
  • Library

    In Pre-Kindergarten, students learn to love the library as they explore books, poetry, hand-rhymes, and songs. As pre-readers, Pre-Kindergarten students are exposed to a host of skills that set the stage for success as readers. Through lively read-alouds, students build excitement about books and become familiar with story structure and new vocabulary. The sharing of poetry during each library class highlights the sound of language, helping students understand that words are a collection of smaller sounds. The children also explore language and storytelling through song, becoming familiar with the rhythm, playfulness and the beauty of language.
  • Physical Education

    The Physical Education program in Pre-Kindergarten introduces students to a variety of activities with the goal of developing and strengthening motor skills. Classes meet three times during a six-day rotation. During class, students build strength, coordination, and agility through activities and dance. Class activities include developing locomotor movements—such as walking, running, skipping, hopping, galloping, jumping and leaping—as well as understanding how the physical body moves in personal and general space. Students are also introduced to balance and basic tumbling skills.
  • Wellness

    In Pre-Kindergarten, the goal of the wellness program is to foster children’s personal and social growth and development. Throughout the day in the context of regular routines, children practice social skills, such as turn taking, sharing, compromising, listening, using manners, caring for others, and participating in discussions. Personal growth is encouraged as children work on caring for personal needs and belongings, focusing on an activity, obeying rules, taking care of the classroom environment, persevering, and showing eagerness to learn. The children learn to become responsible for their own needs as well as thrive within the context of the larger classroom community.
    Students who successfully complete the Pre-K wellness program will have a solid foundation in the following areas:
    • Caring for personal needs and belongings
    • Showing empathy and caring for others
    • Showing eagerness and curiosity as a learner
    • Persevering with challenging tasks
    • Following classroom rules, routines, and transitions
    • Using classroom materials carefully
    • Engaging in imaginative and cooperative play
    • Listening when others are speaking
    • Focusing on a chosen activity for an extended period of time
    • Using words appropriately to resolve conflicts
    • Participating in large group activities and discussions