Why Private Kindergarten at Treehouse Learning?

Image of children's hands holding worms over a bucket of soil and food scraps

Kindergarten at Treehouse Learning

Treehouse Learning first opened our full-day Kindergarten program in 2010 after the expansion of our building two years prior, when Colorado only offered half-day kindergarten options. The classroom and Kindergarten program was named “River,” which is a nod to our nature-themed programs to represent the continuous flow of children’s ongoing learning during this sensitive period of life.

Consistent with the vision of our founder Dr. Nancy Benson and guided by the philosophy, research, and best practices in Early Childhood Education, we are committed to supporting children, families, educators, and communities to thrive, with a particular emphasis on the “early childhood” years encompassing the unique physical, social-emotional, and cognitive development of children between birth – 8 years of age.

Our Kindergarten curriculum supports academic excellence and intellectual, physical, and social development through a Montessori and Reggio-Emilia-inspired approach that is play-based, hands-on, and holistically oriented towards the development of the whole child, with an emphasis on social-emotional growth. Children become strong community members and confident learners with robust academic skills and learning foundations through experiential learning opportunities in enriching indoor and outdoor classroom environments.

Our approach invites relationship-based learning experiences through the exploration of art, music, creative movement, nature-based learning, and playful engagement of the whole child. Our unique offering provides children with self-directed and purposeful activities in a prepared environment with quality materials, with learning intentionally facilitated by a skilled and responsive licensed Kindergarten teacher. This seamlessly integrates both academic preparation and social-emotional foundations of the whole child.

Our River classroom invites movement, curiosity, exploration, comfort, mastery, cooperation, problem-solving, creativity, collaboration, and more! Our program values are relationships, play, community, kindness, responsibility, respect, trust, curiosity, inclusion, belonging, sustainability, integrity, empathy, honesty, and creativity, and these values are demonstrated daily and reflected in the character of each of our emerging Kindergarten students.

As champions for childhood and early education, we strongly believe in the benefits of a kindergarten educational experience within the context of an early childhood setting, although it has become common practice for kindergarten (as well as preschool) to now be enveloped into the institutional setting of our larger K-12 Educational system.

What makes River Kindergarten Unique?

  1. We’re designed with the Whole Child in mind: Our Kindergarten classroom (and the entire building) was built with early childhood in mind! Classrooms and common spaces were designed for the bodies, hearts, and minds of children in their earliest years, offering engaging stimulation, a focus on relationships, and a small class size (a maximum of 15 students). Rather than being the youngest cohort in a large school with children up to 5th grade or beyond, our Kindergarten students are the oldest and most mature students in our program, and they love rising to the opportunity to be leaders in our program!
  2. Learning happens through hands and senses, not screens! Though we live in a digital world where education is increasingly filtered through technology or screens, our kindergarten children learn directly and experientially through relationships and play-based learning (with abundant recess, play, and outdoor exploration) to intentionally support their physical, intellectual, and social development. 
  3. Independent Kindergarten is responsive and innovative! Independent, private kindergarten programs housed in an early childhood education center (versus a larger/older elementary school setting) like ours are increasingly rare! While there are obvious financial implications for families considering kindergarten options, programs like ours must be increasingly responsive and innovative to continue creating a thriving Kindergarten environment at Treehouse Learning, both now and solidly into the future!
  4. Our Kindergarten offers care and education for the Whole Child, supporting the whole family! Our full-day Kindergarten also offers continuity of care, offering before and after childcare during parents’ working hours, chef-prepared meals and snacks, and dedicated enrichment specials.

River Kindergarten Students Become Leaders

As the oldest cohort of children in the building, our Kindergarten students have a special “mentoring” relationship with the younger children across our program! Every morning we gather in the Big Room for Big Circle, a community ritual of welcoming, singing, and movement, with the purpose that all children recognize themselves as part of a unique classroom community as well as a larger school community.

Through the daily ritual of Big Circle, our River Kindergarten students naturally formed a bond with our Garden/Mountain infants, who sit adjacent to one another in the Big Room. The babies are captivated by the song and movements of the older students, watching them closely! The River classroom also overlooks the infant playground, so children can see babies playing outside, and children of all genders even incorporate the names of known babies into their imaginative play. River children are invited into developing care, empathy, and connection through an affectionate bond for other younger children as well as the many ways they care for their classroom and school community. This includes everything from the materials in a classroom to the larger environment around us, including a class pet, plants, and abundant gardens. Children experience meaning and purpose when given the chance to care for one another, other living things, and our planet!

Our Kindergarten environment also inspires children to engage in language-rich conversations that support confidence in thinking and speaking, as well as creativity, imagination, and innovation. When invited to serve their community, children develop a positive self-concept of themselves as capable leaders and members of a classroom and school community.

Younger students wave Kindergarters off in a farewell sendoff when they depart for the bus stop on a field trip to the Lafayette Public Library, and cheer them on as the River students rehearse their annual Spring Performance in front of their younger peers. The younger children look up to their more skilled peers, as they too are invited to participate in making colorful displays of themed artwork in advance of River’s culminating performance. River students take pride in being positive role models for all younger students and classrooms. Kindergarten children even sometimes lead Big Circle, and they model community-wide expectations to be kind, helpful, respectful, and safe! These are the qualities, skills, character, and innovation that truly benefit society.

These enriching life opportunities naturally emerge out of our unique private kindergarten within an early childcare setting, and children graduate from River Kindergarten with positive life and self-leadership skills.

Who thrives at Treehouse Learning Kindergarten?

Our Kindergarten program offers a small class size for a group of discerning learners.

  • We welcome external families (those not currently enrolled) to join Treehouse Learning for their kindergarten year! This is a great option for families new to Boulder County looking for a quality private Kindergarten experience, or students who might not yet be ready for Kindergarten in a larger setting.
  • We welcome internal continuing families too!  Many of our Kindergarten families have attended Treehouse Learning since infancy, toddlerhood or preschool age. We are a great option for children with younger siblings still in our program, or younger siblings who will benefit from the opportunity to be the older/more mature child in a school environment.
  • We are “cutoff friendly:” We have flexibility around the school district cutoff date. Some UPK-eligible children with fall birthdays (old-for-grade children) may consider attending River Kindergarten (while receiving UPK funding) and then repeat Kindergarten in an elementary setting the following year as an “eligible kindergarten-age” student.
  • We are “redshirt friendly”: Many families, especially those with children on the younger side of the cutoff date (young-for-grade children) often benefit from their child attending additional Kindergarten year at Treehouse Learning and then repeating Kindergarten again in a public school setting. This builds additional emotional, physical, and cognitive maturity through deep mastery of solid learning, relationship, and experiential foundations

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